Spend four days discovering the Caledonian Canal working locks and sailing lochs onboard tall ship Bessie Ellen.
Passing through the Great Glen, Bessie Ellen journeys the Caledonian Canal, working the locks and sailing the Lochs while enjoying fantastic scenery and sumptuous food. This short cruise from Oban to Inverness carries you from coast to coast, walking, sailing and discovering the very heart of the highlands of Scotland.
Built during the Victorian age, the canal route cuts straight through the glens from Corpach in the west to Inverness (and Loch Ness) in the east. Built to carry trade (especially the herring fleet) while avoiding the treacherous waters in the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath, the canal offers a safe option to travel from coast to coast. Today your journey with us offers a quiet and comfortable sail, from working the locks at Neptunes Staircase, taking the help and setting sail down the long Lochs.
Although not a seagoing voyage, a short journey like this is engaging for both sailor and land-crab, crossing through 100km of Scottish highland beauty, walking the canal path and enjoying the fantastic food from our ships galley.
Wildlife is guaranteed at this time of year and not a week passes without seeing at least 3 of the big 5. Red Deer, Otter, Seal, Golden Eagle and of course the Red Squirrel.
As with all Bessie Ellen’s sailing holidays, your ticket price includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Drinks. Curtained bunk berths are int he spacious shared open saloon below decks with bedding provided – you just need to bring your own towel.
Simply click “Enquire Now” to reserve your berth for five days whilst you sort your travel plans. No booking form or deposit is required until you are ready to book!
Guest berths: 12 Rig: Gaff Rigged Ketch
Bessie Ellen offers quality sailing holidays on board a classic tall ship with over 100 years of history, and is now one of the last West Country trading ketches.
This ship worked through both world wars during the last era of wind-powered trade, when ships like Bessie were seen all over England. She is featured on the National Historic Ships Register, which identifies her as a historic vessel that needs to be conserved.
Now, her working life is very different, and she spends her days cruising around British and Spanish waters, offering sailing holidays. With an experienced and hospitable crew, Bessie Ellen provides her guests with a comfortable and authentic tall ship experience. Skipper Nikki occasionally nods back to Bessie’s past by loading her up with cargo for ocean passages, transporting beer from Harbour Brewery and making the most out of the emission-free transport that Bessie offers.
Sail with Bessie Ellen and Nikki, around Cornwall, the Hebrides, St. Kilda and the Canary Islands, and not only enjoy sailing aboard a tall ship, but experience unique coastlines, abundant wildlife, and excellent food. While enjoying all of this you will also be able to feel smug about having such an environmentally friendly holiday, as Nikki tries to be as green as possible in every aspect of her journeys – everything down to providing guests with toiletries that are microbead free, and so don’t harm the marine life.
Choose from weekend breaks, weeklong trips, or 10-day explorations for a truly unforgettable holiday.
- Are meals included?
Yes - and we pride ourselves on the quality of food served!
- Can you cater for dietary needs?
Yes, please let us know at the time of enquiry
- Do I need to bring bedding or towels?
All your bedding (duvet and pillow) is provided but please bring your own towels (washing and/or swimming)
- What language is spoken on board?
English is the main language spoken, however on occasion we have crew onboard who are multilingual.
- What are the sleeping arrangements?
There are 12 comfortable berths in the former cargo hold. This is an open plan area that is also used for meals and relaxing
- How many toilets/showers does she have?
Bessie Ellen has two toilets/showers for guests.
- Is there WIFI?
No, but you will be able to reach 3/4G when you are close to land.
- Is there age limit?
No, but we advise over 16's for scheduled voyages as there is an open saloon sleeping arrangement. There is no limit for private charter.
- Can I charge my phone or camera?
Yes. We run generators every day in the morning and evening, which run the 240 volt system of normal 3 pin sockets.
- Are there life jackets provided?
- Are waterproofs available?
No. Please bring your own. There are a few spare for emergencies only.
- Do I need to be a seasoned sailor?
Not at all. We give everyone who joins us on board the choice to do as much or as little as they like, whether the know how to or not.
- Do I have to do watches?
During a passage crossings you may be asked to be part of our watch rota, this is not compulsory but is definitely part of boat life that guests enjoy when at sea for long periods.
- Will there be time to get off the boat?
Yes on most of our trips we try and explore the areas we are sailing around each day, except for passage crossings where of course we are at sea for most of the voyage.
- Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are worried to take some medication 24 hours before travelling.
Head for Queen Street Station, Glasgow with train links from all over UK. Glasgow – Oban then runs 4 scheduled trains a day in the summer.
There is parking space in Oban if you arrive by car. Secure parking can be found at Stoddarts of Oban. Ring Sally on 01631 564176 to reserve your space or take your chances and find parking in a residential part of town.
Inverness has good train and airport links to the rest of the UK.