A Sailors’ Voyage to Scotland
- Vessel: Bessie Ellen
- Where: Fowey, Cornwall
- Duration: 10 days
- Embark: Fowey - 29 April 2023, 12:00
- Disembark: Oban, Scotland - 8 May 2023, 10:00
Tuck some ocean miles under your belt as you sail with Bessie Ellen from Cornwall to Scotland – the perfect opportunity for a taste of life on the open water.
Join tall ship Bessie Ellen in the Cornish harbour town of Fowey before she sets off for her annual adventure sailing holiday to Scotland to begin her summer sailing season.
Bessie Ellen makes this ocean going voyage every Spring as she marks the start of her Scottish sailing season. Spend 10 days working your way north up the coast of the UK with longer hours under sail. Exactly where you stop over and anchor will entirely depend on the weather forecast but Nikki should have a better of what to expect as you board.
- Skippered sailing
- Longer passages at sea
- Traditional rig
- Great for solo travellers
- All-inclusive board
Your Sailing Area
As you set sail from Cornwall, you’ll head north and sail up through St George’s channel. This sailing passage offers some great opportunity to take the night watch (with a crew member of course!) and sail under stars, gently swaying with the rhythms sailing a traditional wooden boat at night. There’s a great sense of peace as the ship settles down for the evening and your eyes become adjusted to the night sky with little light pollution from land – its a spectacular sight on a clear night.
This voyage will see mainly open water sailing both by day and night as we sail to reach our destination of Oban. Harbour calls and anchorages will be dictated by the weather and tides but we could stop anywhere from the Isle of Man to the coast of Northern Ireland before continuing to the Scottish coast.
A Sailors Voyage
Sailing through the St. George’s Channel offers the chance to take the night watch and sail under the stars, enjoying the sense of peace as the ship settles down for the evening. From the St. George’s Channel the voyage continues north-west into Peel Harbour on the Isle of Man. This will be your first stop on the voyage and is where our chef heads out to stock up on traditionally cured kippers, which have been produced in Peel since the 19th Century.
As ‘Man’ slips astern Bessie Ellen will head on up the North Channel past the mountains of Mourne Islay (pronounced ‘eye-la’), one of skipper Nikki’s favourite locations. Historically, the island served as the meeting place for Scottish clan leaders but it is now a paradise for whisky lovers, boasting an amazing eight distilleries. Each is nestled on the shores around the island and offers the chance to sample some of the finest malt whiskies in the world.
As we reach the West Coast of Scotland under sail, our final stops will likely be Colonsay or Jura as we pass the narrow strait of Coryvrekkan between Jura and Scarba. Once through, the gateway to the Hebrides is open free and Bessie Ellen will make her way to Oban, where guests will depart.
All voyages for Bessie Ellen
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, Norway, and Denmark, you’ll not only enjoy sailing aboard a tall ship, but experience unique coastlines, abundant wildlife, and excellent food, all sourced locally and prepared on board. Nikki and her crew are also joined by salty sea dog Bracken, who will love to go on you adventures with you!
Choose from weekend breaks, weeklong trips, or 10-day explorations for a truly unforgettable holiday.
More about Bessie Ellen
Life on board Bessie Ellen
Sailing with traditional tall ship Bessie Ellen is certainly an experience you will never forget. From the moment you board, you can feel the 100 years of sailing history this magnificent classic has under her sails. Faithfully restored over many years by her owner and skipper Nikki, it’s clear to see how dedicated she is to the rich maritime history and authenticity of sailing such a tall ship.
Bessie Ellen is perfect for those looking for an immersive traditional sailing experience while enjoying Nikki’s famous hospitality, great food and team spirit. From solo travellers, to adventurous couples, sailing with Bessie Ellen will leave you with life-long memories and you’ll quickly see why her guests return year on year.
The crew actively encourage guests to get involved with all aspects of sailing such a traditional vessel – it really is an all-hands-on-deck attitude. They are well-versed in having beginners on board and are always on hand to show guests the ropes. From hoisting the sails together, taking the helm in open waters, basic rope work and even some navigation pointers, you soon feel at ease and part of the team! Believe it or not, you don’t need any sailing experience to join Bessie Ellen, just a lust for adventure.
The other important crew member is ships dog Bracken! A small border terrier who is well-versed in life on board, loves watching for dolphins, exploring ashore and sleeping while under sail.
Sleeping and relaxation
Below decks, guests are indulged in a spacious saloon with original wooden beams, comfy open bunks and two toilet/wet-rooms where you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you were even on a boat! Each bunk has it’s own light, full bedding and a privacy curtain. A tiny galley sits tucked mid-ships and you will be in awe and wonder of the meals that come out of this space.
Nikki is not only a competent skipper but also incredible cook using locally sourced produce everywhere possible and has spent many years in both Cornwall and Scotland networking a myriad of local suppliers.
- All-inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet)
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
- Offshore sailing jacket and trousers for emergencies (these are not permitted to be taken ashore)
What’s not included
- Wash and/or swim towel
- All flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
What COVID policies are in place for sailing with Bessie Ellen?
There are currently no Test & Sail policies in place for the 2022 season.
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 tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
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 an 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.
To: Oban, Scotland
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Fowey is just 5 miles / 15 mins by car from Par Station which is on the Southwest mainline. There are trains with Great Western Railway from the start/end of each line at Penzance, Cardiff Central and London Paddington. From here, it is a short ride taxi into Fowey.
Newquay Airport is 20 miles from Fowey, but is generally the quickest way into the county during the spring/summer months. You’d need to get a taxi (around 40-50 minutes) from the airport.
STAY IN FOWEY:
There are plenty of places to stay in Fowey. Try The Old Quay House, The King of Prussia or Havener’s.
Oban station is a 5-10 minute walk from North Pier. Trains run 6 times a day to Glasgow Queen Street Station where there are good travel links to the rest of the UK.
Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport both require taking a train from Oban which takes approximately 2-3hours. Flights go direct to Stansted Airport.
STAY IN OBAN:
There are plenty of places to stay in Oban. Try Witchwood House, The Scot or Perle Hotels Oban.