Sail the West coast of Scotland with tall ship Bessie Ellen, exploring the beauty of Skye and the Small Isles. Perfect for wildlife watching.
Join tall ship Bessie Ellen in the Scottish harbour town of Oban for a sailing holiday to remember! The sea around the West coast of Scotland offers some of the most stunning cruising grounds found anywhere in the world. Our departure from the highland town of Oban opens up a world of spectacular cruising and adventures, never lacking in great sailing whatever the weather.
Life at Sea
This voyage is perfect for those wanting to experience the magic of Scotland under sail and venture to anchorages off the beaten track, away from the tourist hustle and bustle.
The time at sea is yours to make your own and guests are invited to become as involved as much as they like by taking the wheel, navigating or hauling the ropes. Bessie Ellen is a traditional tall ship with not a winch in sight so it’s certainly a case of all hands on deck. No experience is needed and new comers are always welcome but a lust for adventure is a must! This hands-on adventure will take you where the wind blows, visiting unique islands, hidden lochs and the amazing array of wildlife there is up here inner seas and skies. There is just so much to take in and to make the best use of the wind and enjoy the full experience of sailing, we do not run to specific itineraries.
The Small Isles
Tacking westward through the Sound Of Mull we head out beyond Ardnamurchan Point and alter course to the North where the landscape opens up offering far-reaching views up to the Small Isles and Skye with Torridon away on the horizon.
The Small Isles are made up of a group of volcanic islands close to the mainland with the seas sheltered by the Outer Hebrides. Rum is by far the largest island possessing a cluster of formidable volcanic peaks. Askival (Ash Mountain) is the highest peak dominating the landscape and the name itself tells of the Viking settlers here.
Eigg, which measures just 5 by 3 miles, is by far the most vibrant, populous and welcoming of the Small Isles and it is worth the trek through the island to the top of An Sgurr just for the views over the Hebridean seas.
Muck, tiny but perfect is always a favourite stop. This privately owned island is home to only 12 people who live here year-round. Enjoy the peace and quiet in a walk across the island before heading home for a lobster lunch acquired from Sandy the gentle crofter.
Canna, in many ways, is the prettiest of the isles with its high basalt cliffs which are home to a colony of Puffins. Spend time lying on the cliff edge as they hover a few inches away before darting off to catch more eels. After anchoring for the night we succumb to the tranquillity of the island knowing there is little to do but walk, watch birds and take in the scenery and the hospitality of this island community.
Sailing & Wildlife in the Hebrides
If we are fortunate with settled weather, we would like to take you to one of the most awesome anchorages in the world. Nestling at the foot of the Skye Cuillins lies Loch Scavaig the sea loch with the waters of Loch Corusk pouring in. Follow the trail and you feel like you have walked right into middle earth. Just unbelievable! Deep into Skye on the other side of the mountains lies Loch Harport, famous for Talisker whisky and also the hospitality of the pub at Carbost where few nights are without a singsong and a ceilidh.
Wildlife is guaranteed at this time of year and not a week passes without seeing at least three of the Big five – Red Deer, Otter, Seal, Golden Eagle and of course the Red Squirrel. It is possible to stand amongst puffin burrows whilst watching the to-ing and fro-ing of the parent birds as they feed their young with mouths full of eels. Whales and dolphins are often seen out to the North of Colonsay and Canna, mostly Minke but Orca have also been known to visit these waters., so keep those eyes peeled!
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, 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.
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.