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Sailing the Minch From Barra to Skye

  • Vessel: Bessie Ellen
  • Where: Scotland
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Embark: Oban - 22 June 2019, 15:00
  • Disembark: Oban - 28 June 2019, 10:00

This hands on adventure will take guests where the wind blows, amongst the stunning islands on the west coast of Scotland

The waters around the west coast of Scotland proffer some of the most stunning cruising grounds in the world and a departure from Oban opens up a world of spectacular cruising and adventures, never lacking in great sailing whatever the weather. With so much to take in, and to make best use of the wind and enjoy the full experience, we do not run to specific itineraries but below is a taster of what to expect.

Tacking westward through the Sound Of Mull Bessie Ellen could head out beyond Ardnamurchan Point and alter course to the north, south or westwards to Barra and beyond. Taking the Southerly heading, follow the majestic coastline of Mull down past Treshnish and on to Staffa. Heading further south to Colonsay, Bessie will stop for the night alongside the pier allowing guests to step ashore, meander through one of our favourite islands and of course, taste some great ales from the world’s smallest island brewery.

Should the winds favour the northern route then Bessie will sail out to the more remote Hebridean Isles. Rhum, which is by far the largest island, possesses a cluster of formidable volcanic peaks including Askival (Ash Mountain), the highest peak, which dominates the landscape, and whose ancient name nods back to the Vikings who settled here.

Voyages blessed with settled weather will take guests to one of the most awesome anchorages in the world – Loch Scavaig. Nestling at the foot of the Skye Cuillins, Loch Scavaig is a sea loch set in dramatic surrounds. Guests will be able to head onto dry land and follow the trail along some of the most wild and extraordinary scenery in Europe, emanating ‘middle earth’ and leaving visitors spell bound.

Wildlife is guaranteed at this time of year and not a week passes without seeing at least three of the ‘Big 5’ – Red Deer, Otter, Seal, Golden Eagle and of course the Red Squirrel. Grey seals inhabit the waters, while birdlife includes storm petrels, kittiwakes, puffins, eagles and razorbills. It is possible to stand amongst the puffin burrows whilst observing the comical to-ing and fro-ing of the parent birds as they feed their young with mouths full of eels. For those eager to sight marine mammals, whales and dolphins are often seen out to the north of Colonsay and Canna, mostly Minke but Orca have been known to visit these waters.


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Sailing the Minch From Barra to Skye22 June 20197FULLFull
Discover Scotland, Skye and the Small Isles13 July 20197FULLFull

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 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.

More about Bessie Ellen


  • 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

  • Are meals included?

    Yes - and we pride ourselves on the quality of food served!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


From: Oban

To: Oban