Southern Hebridean Wild Isles: Islay, Jura, Luing and Shuna

Thu 27th June 2024

7 nights / Full

Vessel: St Hilda

Southern Hebridean Wild Isles: Islay, Jura, Luing and Shuna

7 nights

Travel along these world famous Sounds that separate some of the most famous of Scotland's Wild Isles. Cruise the Inner Hebrides and listen to the myriad sounds of the sea. Whichever island Sound we discover, they have one glorious thing in common - they are all the Sounds of Silence.

Sail by the spectacular Wild Isles of the Southern Hebrides: Isle of Mull, Kerrera, Luing, Shuna, Jura and Islay. Anchor in tranquil, remote bays. See the incredible wildlife such as sea and golden eagles, porpoises, dolphins, minke whales, seabirds, seals and otters.

Sit back and enjoy the trip as you travel through the Sounds and sea lochs, view the spectacular mountains and fast running tides that make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea and marvel at the headland lighthouses and castles and all the wildlife. For extra fun, kayak, paddleboard, swim from the boat or go ashore on remote islands to explore. Don't forget your walking boots for spectacular island walks with wonderful views of the Sounds.

This cruise can be a six or seven night itinerary depending on the dates you choose to travel. 

Please note that your voyage is weather dependent. Weather doesn't just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch. Depending upon the weather and nature’s conditions, wildlife viewing varies.  

If you wish to visit a specific place or have a specific experience, such as sea eagle tours or whisky tasting, then please do let your skipper know and he will endeavour to meet your request. Excursions and visits ashore are at your own cost.

Some of the places we may visit are:

Oban: Your departure point will be Oban (Dunstaffnage Marina), the gateway to the Hebridean isles. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship we set sail to our first destination.  

Loch Spelve: Loch Spelve is on the south side of Mull. To enter we have to negotiate the narrow entrance. The anchorage in this sheltered loch, which is surrounded by an ancient oak forest, gives us unparalleled views of the mountains of Mull. There are resident otters along its shoreline. We can also pick up some locally grown mussels before we leave to our next destination.

Isle of Shuna: Sail along the Isle of Lismore and into the Firth of Lorn and then, with the tide in our favour, (a must as the currents can run at five knots in these parts) we enter the Sound of Luing. We shoot past the famous Fladda lighthouse, the over falls and eddies of these fast running waters make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea. The waters calm as we pass the southern tip of Luing Island and enter Shuna Sound. Our quiet anchorage off the North coast of the Isle of Shuna is a spot where otters frequently play along the shoreline. On the way to the remote island of Shuna, and at anytime during the trip, we may see soaring sea or golden eagles, porpoises and dolphins, as well as many types of seabirds. 

Craighouse, Jura: We travel down the Shuna Sound with tidal planning again important as we will pass the notorious Gulf of Corryvreckan with its six knot tides which can be heard roaring 30 miles inland when there is a storm of wind against tide. We pass the northern headland of Jura, where George Orwell’s cottage can still be seen where he wrote 1984, to sail down the Sound of Jura. The magnificent Munro mountains, the three “Paps of Jura”, can be seen rising over the craggy cliffs of Jura's shoreline to dominate the southern end of the Sound of Islay. Our destination anchorage is off Craighouse the home of the Jura Distillery and home to two distinct malts: sweet Origin and smoky Superstition.

Islay: Islay is the Malt Whisky capital of the world. Our anchorage is in Kilnaughton Bay, off Port Ellen, which is Islay's main town (the Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 but the maltings are still in operation). We are spoilt for choice for distillery visits: Lagavulin distillery is just north of Port Ellen and, close by, are the other world famous distilleries of Ardbeg and Laphroaig. They all use Islay's peaty water and peated malt to give their famous powerful, salty, peaty, iodiney flavours. In contrast, the northern distilleries of Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich draw their water directly from springs to give lighter, nuttier flavours. Caol lla, close to Bunnahabhain, produces a delicate flavoured malt, while Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the island (1779), in the middle of the town of Bowmore and on the banks of a loch, has its own very distinctive peaty, salty taste.

Loch Sween:  An anchorage in the upper reaches of beautiful Loch Sween - its seal population lining its banks to watch us as we pass by. We will pass the natural anchorage of Tayvallich, once a famous Viking harbor.

Crinan Canal: We can anchor just outside the Crinan Canal which has truly magnificent scenery and is rich in history, with many world-class heritage sites. It is a designated wildlife reserve with miles of forest walks and cycle ways. Guests can choose to do a three hour walk from Tayvallich (Loch Sween) to the Crinan Canal.

Isle of Luing:  Guests can be dropped off at the little village of Toberonochy and do a beautiful walk to the Atlantic Islands Centre.

Enquire now

Dates don't suit?

Get in touch and we will do our best to meet your requirements


Reasons to book

  • Extraordinary wildlife cruises
  • Skipper & chef included
  • Hoist the sails
  • Great value for money
  • Cruises through Scottish Canals
  • Maximum of 11 guests per cruise
  • Breakfast, snacks, lunch & dinner
  • Organised whisky tours for free
  • A perfect adventure for all ages
  • Art & photography cruises with free specialist tutors
  • Cruises with wildlife guide for free
Holiday Tips

An unforgettable experience! Great skipper and great chef.

Chris & Gardner, May 2023