United Kingdom·July 17 - 22 2023

St Kilda and the Shiants Cruise

A 5-night cruise visiting two of the Outer Hebrides most special places, St Kilda and the Shiant Isles, with cetaceans and seabirds galore.

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Overview

St Kilda - one of the UK's true 'Bucket List' destinations. This scattering of islands 40 miles out in the Atlantic beyond the Outer Hebrides was home to an historic settlement that lived life quite differently than their mainland cousins. Living on the seabirds, eggs and fish to be found locally, plus whatever rations could be shipped out from the mainland now and then, it was a harsh existence and one truly worth reading about. Now St Kilda is managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and as well as the historic village and stone storage cleats, it remains home to thousands of seabirds, including significant breeding populations of puffins and gannets in particular. It even has its own endemic species of wren and mouse, found nowhere else. Once you have visited St Kilda, you will then also stop off at the Shiant Isles in the Minch, another lovely but smaller set of islands but no less interesting with their own history and more breeding seabirds. The waters we will sail in are some of the very best in Europe for watching cetaceans too, with whales, dolphins and porpoise to spot and enjoy.

Highlights

Visit St Kilda

Visit St Kilda

The UK's only dual UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its amazing history as well as its wildlife - a must-see destination!

Shiants Isles

Shiants Isles

Located in the Minch with views to Lewis and Harris, and across the sea to Skye and the Highlands, these are another lovely set of small islands with their own history and more birdlife too with puffins galore.

Seabirds galore!

Seabirds galore!

We will get the chance to spot many seabirds during our cruise with some of the largest breeding colonies of puffins and gannets along the way.

Whales and dolphins

Whales and dolphins

We will be sailing through some of Europe's best-known whale and dolphin-watching waters. Our guide will help you spot them.

Schedule

Previous

Next

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DAY 1

Stornoway to Tarbert

Depart approximately 1430 from Stornoway, cruising down the east coast of the Isle of Lewis towards Tarbert on Harris. This area covers the NE Lewis Marine Protected Area, a good area for potentially spotting Risso's dolphins along with minke whales, common dolphins, porpoise and white-tailed eagles.

Dinner and overnight in Tarbert marina for a chance to walk ashore for a while.

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DAY 2

Tarbert to St Kilda

After breakfast it is a short sail south before turning the corner into the Sound of Harris with views of the Uists to the south. Then it is straight ahead 40 miles to St Kilda sitting alone in the Atlantic. The more open water brings chances of other cetacean and seabird species like white-beaked dolphins and maybe a Leach's petrel among the storm petrels for those looking carefully. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Arriving into Village Bay in the late afternoon/evening we will have time for dinner as the sun starts to set after marvelling at the thousands of puffins and other auk species that are just starting to finish their breeding season and may have chicks with them out on the water.

Store

DAY 3

Full day on St Kilda

After breakfast we will take you ashore in our dinghy where you will get a welcome from the National Trust for Scotland ranger with a little bit of history and then its up to you how you wish to spend your day. You will have a packed lunch with you so have a look around the village and then maybe wander up the hills to explore further and take in the expansive views.

In the evening we will enjoy dinner back on the boat and our last sunset at St Kilda.

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DAY 4

St Kilda to Harris

Time to up anchor after breakfast for a look around the amazing sea stacks next to the isle of Boreray, covered in thousands of gannets, the sky will be full of them travelling to and fro from their fishing grounds.

We will then chart a course home towards the Sound of Harris once more and find a quiet spot to anchor for the night in one of the bays in the Sound or perhaps a little further around into the Minch depending on time and what we find along the way.

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DAY 5

Harris to the Shiants

It's time to visit your second set of islands today after a short cruise up the Minch to the Shiant Isles. These are great cetacean waters so we will be keeping our eyes peeled for whales and dolphins.

There will be time for a shore excursion to visit the small bothy and wander up the hill to take in the beautiful views over the Minch, Lewis, Harris and the Isle of Skye to the east. There are also large seabird colonies here to see and the grassy meadows hide some interesting little plants like carnivorous sundews and butterworts in the boggy areas, and orchids on the drier slopes.

Back to the boat for dinner in the evening and we hope to be able anchor here for the evening. If not then we have a great quiet anchorage at the back of Loch Sealg just a short cruise away on Lewis.

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DAY 6

Shiants to Stornoway

After our last breakfast it will be time to follow the coast northwards along Lewis back to Stornoway arriving around midday. Again this is a great area to try and see some final cetaceans and eagles before we say our farewells back in the harbour.


What's Included

What's Included

Cabin accommodation

All meals and drinks

Guide services

Travel to, and onwards from, your point of departure/arrival.

Tickets

Gannet's Galore - Twin Cabin @ Forepeak

Gannet's Galore - Twin Cabin @ Forepeak

Two raised bunks, both with a step up at the front of the boat (forepeak) with a skylight and sink.

FROM$1,862.92/pp

Kittiwake King - Twin/Triple Cabin

Kittiwake King - Twin/Triple Cabin

A triple cabin with two floor-level bunks and one raised bunk with a step up and over a floor bunk. With sink.

FROM$1,862.93/pp

Fulmar's Flight - Twin Cabin

Fulmar's Flight - Twin Cabin

A double cabin with bunk beds, one over the other. With a sink. Available for single supplement.

FROM$1,862.92/pp

Dolphin Dreams - Single Cabin

Dolphin Dreams - Single Cabin

A single cabin with a floor level bunk plus a sink.

FROM$1,862.92/pp

Puffin Pad - Single Cabin

Puffin Pad - Single Cabin

Our smallest single cabin in terms of the room size but still a full-size bunk. No sink.

FROM$1,677.26/pp

Add Ons

HWDT Donation

PRICE$12.63/pp

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HWDT Donation

We work closely with HWDT who do great work in safeguarding and understanding our local populations of whales and dolphins. We hope you might like to support them with a small voluntary donation....
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PRICE$18.94/pp

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HWDT Donation

Alternatively, you can join HWDT for just £2 a month via https://hwdt.org/membership

PRICE$25.26/pp

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HWDT Donation

Thank you for any help you are able to give to support their work.

PRICE$31.58/pp

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St Kilda and the Shiants Cruise

United Kingdom· July 17 - 22 2023· 5 nights

FROM$1677/pp