19th June - The Hebridean Isles
A popular itinerary from our 10th season, this is a cruise that, for the most part remains within sight of land. The ever-changing panorama will appeal th those who like to escape to dramatic, off the beaten track locations.
Tuesday, 19th June.
With a sense of anticipation, guests were piped on board in Oban and welcomed by Captain Richard Heaton and Chief Purser Dave Indge.
Wednesday, 20th June.
Our first port of call was Tayvallich on the shores of Loch Sween, where guests enjoyed walks and refreshments.
We cruised south during lunch and landed on the fertile isle of Gigha in the afternoon to explore the 50 acre gardens of Achamore House, planted by Sir James Horlick, before heading to our overnight anchorage off the south coast of the Isle of Islay.
Thursday, 21st June.
Venturing ashore on the tiny island of Ulva, guests were able to explore on foot. Ulva is a traffic free haven covering barely 2 square miles and home to just 16 permanent residents.
Friday, 22nd June.
Boarding local boats, the sacred isle of Iona beckoned this morning. Here we were able to discover the history of Christianity at the restored Bendedictine Abbey.
Onwards to 'Pillar Island', better known as Staffa, lying 6 miles west of Mull. Formed volcanically at the same time as the Giant's Causeway, and cooling into mainly hexagonal black basalt columns, the cliffs rise to 131 feet and are riddled with caves, the most famous of which is Fingal's Cave where we explored this afternoon.
Saturday, 23rd June.
From the overnight anchorage in Castlebay, Barra a tour of the island followed, where guests witnessed the arrival of the scheduled flight from Glasgow which uses the beach for its landings and take offs - when the tide is out of course!
Our afternoon was spent enjoying beach walks on the Isle of Eriskay from Lochboisdale, South Uist ahead of retiring for the night in Loch Bay off Skye.
Sunday, 24th June.
Where the Black Cuillins sweep down to the sea, to create one of the wonders of the West Coast, we siezed the opportunity to explore Duvegan Castle and gardens and enjoyed a local boat ride to view the resident seal colony.
An relaxing afternoon cruise of the west coast of Skye concluded our day as we travelled to the overnight anchorage.
Monday, 25th June.
The flat and fertile Isle of Muck is scattered with wild flowers and rimmed by silver shell-sand beaches and is a peaceful haven for puffin, kittiwake, fulmar, shearwater, sea-eagle and porpoise - the ideal place for this morning's walks ashore.
Onwards to the rocky, wild and virtually treeless island of Coll for our final foray ashore and then anchoring in Oban Bay for our farewell evening.
Tuesday, 26th June.
Well, the sun keeps on shining and guests have disembarked in a beautiful sunny Oban this morning - enjoy the rest of the summer and we hope to see you back on board soon.