Day 1: Glasgow.
We arrive to Glasgow and spend a night at a comfortable hotel.
Day 2: Oban.
Transfer to Oban where we board in the afternoon. We sail along the southern coast of Mull and get our first chance to view these scenic islands in the soft light of a setting sun.
Day 3: Iona, Staffa & Treshnish.
Today we reach Iona, an island that for more than 1000 years has been a place of deep spiritual significance. No less than 62 Kings of Scotland are buried here, including Duncan, Macbeth's victim. St Columba came here from Ireland in 563 AD and early Christianity spread through northern Britain from this remote island community. Weather permitting we will take to the Zodiac to explore the tiny Treshnish Islands, located in the waters between Mull and Tiree. Now uninhabitated, this group of low lying islands is home to thousands of sea birds and a large population of common and Atlantic grey seals. Hopefully, land on the largest of the islands, Lunga to walk amongst the amazingly tame puffins and see the remnants of past habitation that dates back to Viking times. We sail west and make a stop at the Island of Staffa, a spectacular sight with the amazing Fingal's cave as a highlight. This cave inspired Mendehlson to compose his masterpiece "The Hebrides Overture"
Day 4: St Kilda.
We head through the Sound of Barra to the Unesco World Heritage Site of St Kilda, a remarkable uninhabitated archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. For some this is almost a pilgrimage and a moving experience as we drop anchor off Village Bay on the island of Hirta and wander through the village. St Kilda once supported a population of 200, but the last islanders left in the 1930s. Recent restoration work on the village by the National Trust for Scotland offers a marvellous link with the past. Later, we cruise past two of the largest gantries in the world as we make our way past the island of Boreray and the amazing stacs: Stac an Amin and Stac Lee.
Day 5: Taransay and Callanish.
We arrive at the island of Taransay. The last villagers left the island in the 1970s, but Taransay had a brief moment of fame in 2000 when the BBC filmed their fly on the wall production of Castaway here. Enjoy a peaceful morning exploring the island, famous for its lovely beaches. After lunch on board we make our way to the Island of Lewis where we visit the Callanish Stones, a cross-shaped setting of standing stones erected around 3000 BC, one of the most spectacular megalithic monuments in Scotland.
Day 6: Handa & Summer Isles.
Just south of Cape Wrath is the island of Handa. Owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, it is one of the largest sea bird colonies in North West Europe. Nearly 200,000 seabirds gather here to breed including guillemots, razorbills, great skuas, kittiwakes, Arctic skuas and puffins.We see the Great Stack and weather permitting land on Handa which was inhabited until 1847 when the potato blight caused the last remaining inhabitants to be re-homed in Nova Scotia. During lunch we sail down the coast to Loch Broom and the Summer Isles. We visit the only inhabited island of Tanera Mór. On a walk we enjoy the stunning views and look out for otters, seals and the profilic bird life. Stop at the unique post office, whose own rare stamps are much sought after by collectors.
Day 7: Canna & Rum.
Today, we will visit the Small Islands. Spend the morning on Canna which has a tiny agricultural and cattle-rearing population. From a walk along the cliff top we may see golden eagles, white-tailed eagles and peregrine falcons. At the cliff edge the rare loose-flowered orchids grow. Sail during lunch to the adjoining island of Rum, which is a nature reserve and an oasis for bird watchers. More than 150 species have been observed on this small island. We see the somewhat eccentric Kinloch Castle and walk the nature trail, a beautiful area of wild flowers and typical Scottish island scenery.
Day 8: Islay.
Today we visit the "Queen of the Hebrides", the island of Islay. This place is renowned for many distilleries producing various single malts with smooth, full, rich and peaty character. We will visit a couple of those distilleries during the day and learn more about how these precious drops are produced. Also Islay is a bird watcher's paradise with more than 175 species recorded.
Day 9: Oban.
We return to Oban and disembark in the morning.