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Sailing the Summer Isles to the Small Isles

  • Vessel: Bessie Ellen
  • Where: Ullapool, Scotland
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Embark: Ullapool - 30 July 2022, 14:00
  • Disembark: Oban - 5 August 2022, 10:00
TicketPriceDepositPassengers
Single berth (open saloon)£1,105.00 £276.25

Sail South from Ullapool to Oban discovering & exploring the magic of the Hebridean Islands.

Join tall ship Bessie Ellen in the Scottish port town of Ullapool for a sailing holiday to remember! Your journey will be packed full with some of the most remote and beautiful sailing locations in the UK with plenty of wildlife watching too.

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 Summer Isles

A short hop from Ullapool lies the Summer Isles, picturesque and secluded, providing a first night anchorage away from it all.

Lying halfway across the Minch, Shiant provides a welcome break in the passage across, haunted by the mournful song of the seals. This is a birds paradise where seabirds breed in their thousands; puffins, guillemots and razorbills fill the bay while ashore the Gret Skua protectively guard their nests. A walk along the southern shore to the old village and lie down amongst the wildflowers, look out across a pewter sea towards Skye and your mind dream.

Sailing in the Outer Hebrides beckons with the purple peaks of Harris hiding the perfection of the white strands and turquoise waters running down the western coasts of these islands.  Taransay is a favourite along with Ensay for a night stop on the edge of the Atlantic before exploring the magic and seclusion of Loch Skyport, where a long climb up Hecla tempts the most sturdy of walkers. At the head of the loch, the remains of the old cattle drovers pier remind us of the past when drovers would come across from the mainland to collect the island’s cattle from the Uist’s and Benbecula before loading them onto boats to cross the Minch.

The Small Isles

Crossing the Minch from the Outer Hebrides, the wee island of Canna provides good shelter and wonderful hospitality all connected with the real magic that makes up the Small Isles. Canna is your perfect island with lush green fields and steep cliffs all sewn together with a good deal of history.

The Small Isles, made up of Rum, Eigg, Muck & Canna lie off the coast between Ardnamurchan & Mallaig.  All are very different both geologically and culturally.  All the islands now have thriving communities with Canna & Muck retaining old agricultural ties and Rum and Eigg turning to craft skills and small crofting.

Each island has a character of its own. Rum, dark and foreboding offers a safe haven in stormy weather while Eigg dominates with the Sgurr, a great walk for superb views. Muck is very charming indeed, gentle and verdant with awesome views back towards Rum. Ponies and cows roam the white sandy beaches and its not unknown for the laird to bid you good-day from his old tractor. Whatever your island odyssey, there is a place for all here.

As the Small Isles fade astern, Ardnamurchan Point with her dominant lighthouse beckons us into the shelter of the Sound of Mull.  At 25NM long, the sound offers plenty of sailing in flat water with magnificent views of Mull and Sunart and plenty of sheltered bays. Tobermory is a favourite for the charismatic street of painted cottages, fab fish ‘n’ chips and not forgetting the famous Mishnish inn. We also love a small bay sheltered by Isle Ornsay on the Drimnin peninsular, a haven for otters and often a White-tailed eagle flies overhead.

 

The sound opens up to the beginning of the great glen, at the western end of  Lismore you can see, stretching far into the distance, the magnificent mountain range culminating in Ben Nevis, Britains highest peak. This ‘great glen’ cuts across Scotland, divided by Loch’s Ness, Oich and Lochy all joined by the Caledonian canal and terminating at Inverness on the North Sea coast.  Our journey, however, ends here at the gateway to the Isles and the bustling port of Oban. Our final night is spent close by  but a promise of a final anchorage in a secluded loch offers a farewell to the magic of Scotland and all that draws us back time after time.

Wildlife in the Hebrides

A sailing holiday in Scotland comes with guaranteed wildlife watching 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 in the 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!

Similar voyages

VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Sailing the Summer Isles to the Small Isles30 July 20227£1,105.00Enquire now

All voyages for Bessie Ellen

VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Sailing to St. Kilda, Scotland11 June 202210£1,512.00Enquire now
Tall Ship Taster Sailing in the Hebrides21 June 20224£735.00Enquire now
Sailing the Summer Isles to the Small Isles30 July 20227£1,105.00Enquire now
Sailing & Whale Watching in the Hebrides13 August 20227£1,105.00Enquire now
Sailing the Outer Hebrides20 August 20227£1,105.00Enquire now
Easter Sailing on Bessie Ellen6 April 20235£695.00Enquire now
Weekend Sailing in Cornwall14 April 20233£535.00Enquire now
Weekend Sailing in Cornwall21 April 20233£535.00Enquire now
A Sailors’ Voyage to Scotland29 April 202310£1,550.00Enquire now
Hebridean Wildlife Seeking, Mull & the Surrounding Isles13 May 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
Hebridean Wildlife Seeking, Mull & the Surrounding Isles20 May 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
Sailing the Outer Hebrides & St Kilda27 May 202310£1,875.00Enquire now
Sailing the Outer Hebrides & St Kilda7 June 202310£1,875.00Enquire now
Hebridean Exploring around Mull & the Isles17 June 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
Hebridean Exploring around Mull & the Isles24 June 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
Sailing the Hebrides; Jura, Islay & Tory Island1 July 202310£1,875.00Enquire now
Hebridean Exploring around Mull & the Isles15 July 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
Sailing the Hebrides; Jura, Islay & Tory Island22 July 202310£1,875.00Enquire now
Tall Ship Taster in the Hebrides1 August 20234£795.00Enquire now
Hebridean Exploring around Mull & the Isles5 August 20237£1,250.00Enquire now
A Sailors’ Voyage to Cornwall12 August 202310£1,550.00Enquire now
Sailing the Isles of Scilly with Bessie Ellen22 August 20237£1,250.00Enquire now

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.

Read more about Life on board here

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.




 

More about Bessie Ellen

FAQ

  • 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 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?

    Yes.

  • 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.

Locations

From: Ullapool

To: Oban

Ullapool

BY RAIL:

Garve is Ullapool’s closest station. Trains run 1 – 4 times a day from Inverness to Garve. Inverness has good rail and air links from the rest of the UK.

BY AIR:

Inverness Airport is about 1 hour 30 minutes to Ullapool by taxi. There are direct flights to Inverness from the major London airports.

STAY IN ULLAPOOL:

There are plenty of places to stay in Ullapool. Try Creagan Guesthouse, Rosslyn Cottage or Harbour House.

 

Oban

BY RAIL

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.

BY AIR:

Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport both require taking a train from Oban which takes approximately 2-3hours. Flights go direct to Stansted Airport.

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