Explore the Hebridean islands of Jura and Islay before heading across the Atlantic to the Northern Ireland island of Tory.
Jump aboard tall ship Bessie Ellen on the West coast of Scotland as she offers a new voyage for 2023. Head South from Oban to explore the islands of Jura and Islay before setting sails for Tory island on the North coast of Ireland.
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.
Jura & Islay
The islands of Jura and Islay are some of the largest of the Hebrides, well known for stunning landscapes and world renowned malt whisky, it’s well worth taking time to explore both land and sea, from the peaks of the Paps of Jura right down to hidden distilleries that hug the coast of Islay, there is something for everyone. Gigha lies in easy sailing distance before taking on the Irish coasts towards Donegal. Under explored by sail, the coast here promises quiet charm and awesome adventures amongst some strong tidal currents. Jura, once the hideout for George Orwell to complete his famous 1984, has only 200 inhabitants, massively outnumbered by its wild deer population which has been counted at approximately 5000! Islay boasts some glorious white sandy beaches with plenty of opportunities to discover the plethora of whisky distilleries and hiking trails.
With still so much of our British coastlines to discover, this year Bessie Ellen is off to explore the Southern Hebrides and the coasts of Northern Ireland before heading out to sea to investigate one of the most important lighthouses, Skerryvore. Tory island sits on the North coast of Ireland and, weather permitting after an adventurous sail across the Atlantic, makes ways for a remote and rugged landscape. Perfect for exploring by boat, Tory island is home to towering cliffs and is well-known for it’s Celtic music. The Giants Causeway and Rathlin island lead to Tory Island, one of the most remote inhabited islands scattered within the British Isles and Eire and still beholds a chosen King! With a fair wind, Skerryvore’s situation provides us with a good sailing leg where one can re-live the conditions that the great designer Alan Stevenson underwent to build the largest lighthouse in Scotland.
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!
|Voyage||Set Sail||Days||Cost p/p|
|Sailing the Hebrides; Jura, Islay & Tory Island||1 July 2023||10||£1,875.00||Enquire now|
|Sailing the Hebrides; Jura, Islay & Tory Island||22 July 2023||10||£1,875.00||Enquire now|
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.
Choose from weekend breaks, weeklong trips, or 10-day explorations for a truly unforgettable holiday.
More about Bessie Ellen
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.
There is ample parking in Oban if you arrive by car. Secure parking can be found at MacQueen Bros http://www.macqueenbros.com/vehicle-storage-long-term-parking-for-island-ferry/ , or you could try the Tesco carpark and pay for 24 hour parking on arrival using the Your Parking Space app.
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 Stanstead Airport.
STAY IN OBAN:
There are plenty of places to stay in Oban. Try;
Witchwood House – https://witchwoodhouseoban.com/
The Scot – https://thescotoban.com/
Perle Hotels – https://perlehotels.com/oban/