Outer Hebrides, Scotland
May 2015




LAUNCHED: 19 April 2014.       LAST UPDATED: 21 February 2015


Click here to read some commentary on the trip and to see some photos. (Will be up after the trip.)



ITINERARY:

Day Date Description/Activity At Night Notes
Tuesday 5 May 2015 Hebrides cruise. Leaves from North Pier, Oban. Board at 3pm. Boat 1
Wednesday 6 May 2015 Hebrides cruise Boat 2
Thursday 7 May 2015 Hebrides cruise Boat 3
Friday 8 May 2015 Hebrides cruise Boat 4
Saturday 9 May 2015 Hebrides cruise Boat 5
Sunday 10 May 2015 Hebrides cruise Boat 6
Monday 11 May 2015 Hebrides cruise ends at Oban 11am-Noon. ?



The Hebrides Cruises website: http://www.hebridescruises.co.uk

Boat Tel: 0783125427

Shore Manager (Emma MacGregor): 01631 711986 or 07585151611

E-mail: emma@hebridescruises.co.uk or info@hebridescruises.co.uk


TRAVELLERS:
Falcon and Lucy Scott
David Wilson and Duncan Lawie
Cathy Cooper and Wendy Driver
Judy Skelton and Conrad Paulus
Rob Stephenson and Joe O'Farrell
Laura Giuffrida and Jonathan Glinos


Falcon


Lucy


Judy and Cathy


David


Duncan and Wendy


Rob, Wendy and Cathy


Conrad


Joe


Laura


Jonathan

THE BOAT:


The Elizabeth G.



UPDATES:

E-mail from Emma MacGregor to Wendy 16 February 2015:
You can see these places on a Google map.

Myself and my dad (Rob the Skipper) have put together an itinerary that you and your group will likely be doing on your cruise. Like you say our itinerary will of course depend on weather but we always discuss the next days cruise plans over dinner the night before to let our guests know what is going on and what our options are.  

Tobermory
This is the capital of the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. With a current population of approximately 700, the town was founded as a fishing port in 1788 Legend has it that the wreck of a Spanish galleon, laden with gold, lies somewhere in the mud at the bottom of Tobermory Bay. Many of the buildings on Main Street, predominantly shops and restaurants, are painted in assorted bright colourswhile the Clock Tower on the harbour wall is a noted landmark. It is one of the best naturally sheltered harbours in Europe.

Isle of Canna
Boasting stunning scenery, a temperate climate and a sheltered harbour, Canna is the most westerly of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides, and also one of the most hospitable. Along with its smaller neighbour Sanday, Canna has been a site of continuous settlement for 9,000 years, with a small population of inhabitants remaining to this day. The two islands are now linked by a footbridge.  Known as 'the garden of the Hebrides', Canna has fertile soils, green meadows and abundant wildlife. It has been recognised as a bird sanctuary since 1938, and supports over 20,000 breeding seabirds, including puffins, razorbills and guillemots. Canna House also contains an extensive and unrivalled Gaelic library, curated by previous owners, Dr John Lorne Campbell and his wife Margaret Fay Shaw.

Isle of Mingulay
This is the second largest of the Bishops Isles in the Outer Hebrides.  It is located 12 miles (19 km) south of Barra, it is known for its important seabird populations, including puffins, black-Legged Kittiewakes, and razorbills, which nest in the sea-cliffs. There are also Iron age remains. Between the 15th and 19th centuries Mingulay was part of the lands of Clan MacNeil of Barra, but subsequently suffered at the hands of absentee landlords. After two thousand years or more of continuous habitation, the island was abandoned by its Gaelic-speaking residents in 1912 and has remained uninhabited since. It is no longer used for grazing sheep. The National Trust for Scotland has owned Mingulay since 2000.

St.Kilda
Sometimes described as 'the islands at the edge of the world', the archipelago of St Kilda is located 41 miles west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Formed from the rim of an ancient volcano, it is the remotest part of the British Isles. Comprising four islands—Hirta, Soay, Boreray and Dun—as well as several sea stacks, St Kilda is truly spectacular. It is one of only 29 global locations to be awarded 'mixed' World Heritage Status in recognition of both its natural and cultural significance. Now uninhabited, St Kilda was home to a community who survived the inhospitable conditions here for thousands of years before the final 36 people were evacuated in 1930. Today, it is the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. St Kilda is not an easy place to visit but Hebrides Cruises has visited St.Kilda over 160 times.

Sound of Harris
Returning on our cruise might be through the Sound of Harris which is rich in birds and cetaceans with many Islets and Skerries. Look out for Orcas here as we have seen them a number of times. Anchoring in Loch Rodel we would visit Rodel Church—this beautiful church, dating from the 16th century is dedicated to St Clement who was a bishop of Dunblane Parish. While the outside of this church is lovely, the inside is very impressive and very atmospheric.  The church contains some of the finest examples of the late medieval sculpture in the Outer Hebrides/Western Isles.  
 

Hello Fellow Voyagers,

I've added a bit of info at the bottom of our website at:
http://home.comcast.net/~rs41/Hebrides2015.htm

Another bit of news: I picked up a prescription at my local pharmacy today: Seasick patch aka Transderm-Scop 1.5mg/72hr.
This is the patch that you stick to your neck.
I've used it in the Antarctic and it's always worked for me.
I had my annual physical last week and asked the Doc to write a script for this.
Although it's covered by my insurance the co-pay was $95 (actual price $635.99!)
(You can probably get it at Boots for a pound or so.)
But the quantity covers 30 days. To get a week's supply—all I need just for me—was the same price!
So I have a lot of this in case anyone wants some. 
Those who are at the SouthPole-sium beforehand could start applying it during the gathering.
I'm not saying the seas in the Outer Hebrides are going to be rough, but on the other hand….

Regards,
Rob
20 November 2014

See: http://www.transdermscop.com/prescribing-information.htm

E-mail from Emma MacGregor to Rob, 17 November 2014:
"Yes, we ask guests to arrive to board from 3pm.  After some nipples and fizz and a safety briefing from the Skipper we hope to depart by 4pm.
Arrival back in Oban on the Monday will be around lunchtime (anytime between 11 and 1).

With regards to parking, yes there is free unsecured parking at Atlantis Leisure (most of our guests tend to go here).  All guests are more than welcome to drop their luggage (from midday onwards) and then go and park their cars.  It is just a short walk back down to the pier from the car park.  Alternatively, there is Stoddarts that offer secured undercover parking at £6 per night (Tel: 07799692072).

  All of this information and other relevant information will be sent to you 8 weeks prior to trip so you will be all up to date.

  As for waterproofs, we ask guests to bring their own, along with a good pair of walking boots and stick, if required."  

I've just finished reading Peter May's trilogy set on the island of Lewis and want to recommend it to any and all who may not have come across it. They are nominally detective stories, but more important, they're wonderful tales about life on the Outer Hebrides—really interesting culturally and bearing strong resemblance to life as it was lived on St. Kilda. The books are The Black House, The Lewis Man, and The Chess Men, and do read them in order.
From Conrad, 15 October 2014


The boat departs Oban on Tuesday May 5 and returns on Monday, May 11. There are six cabins (12 passengers at £995 each) with bunk beds.


"There are no extra hidden costs. All hospitality and meals are included in the price. We serve complimentary wine with dinner, and there is a bar if guests wish to buy spirits/soft drinks. There are also free bottles of water available throughout the cruise. Tips are given at guests own discretion."


"Delighted Conrad can come!. I am sure I met her at East Grinstead ages ago! The price includes all meals, soft drinks and excursions so the only extras are alcoholic drinks and tips (not sure how much the tips come to at this stage). Hope Joe can make it.
Best wishes Wendy"


E-mail from Emma MacGregor to Wendy, 14 May 2014:
"Cost is £995 per person (20% deposit due now £199 per person and remainder due 8 weeks prior to trip) I will email everyone 8 weeks before to remind them.

Deposits are only returnable if we cannot deliver what we set out to offer, i.e., if the boat breaks down prior to trip. We do not normally return a deposit if a guest decides they cannot come; however, if a guest had a understandable reason not to come (i.e. illness) then we would look into refunding their deposit.     

In terms of 'fulfill promise'—we always sail, no matter what the weather. We have a VERY high success rate reaching St kilda (more so than other boats that offer cruises there) due to the type of boat and experience dad has at sea.  Dad, the skipper, always puts safety first and would never go anywhere that he felt was not reachable due to high winds, for example. If the 'Elizabeth G' happened to sink the week before all monies would be refunded to guests.  

Here is the link to our terms and conditions: http://www.hebridescruises.co.uk/terms-conditions
This should hopefully answer any other questions your friend may have on the cruise, i.e., on Insurance.  

I am going to email everyone tomorrow with booking letter and booking form.  This will explain the ways in which they can pay their deposit." 

Booking form

Joining instructions


WEBSITES OF INTEREST:
Oban Tourist Information Centre's entry on Oban

Wikipedia's entry on Oban

Wikipedia's entry on the History of the Outer Hebrides

Visit Scotland's Historic Attractions in the Outer Hebrides

Scotland Info's entry on The Western Isles - Outer Hebrides

Visit Scotland's guide Explore: The Outer Hebrides

Wikipedia's entry on The Outer Hebrides

Wikipedia's entry on the Flora and Fauna of the Outer Hebrides

Wikipedia's Category A listed buildings in the Western Isles

Wikipedia's List of Outer Hebrides
Wikipedia's entry on Lewis and Harris
Wikipedia's entry on Stornoway

Wikipedia's entry on the Callanish Stones
Wikipedia's entry on North Uist

Wikipedia's entry on South Uist

Wikipedia's entry on Benbecula

Wikipedia's entry on Barra

Wikipedia's entry on St Kilda