To the Outer Hebrides and beyond!

05 Feb


You can join us on an inspiring and exciting sailing adventure. Peter Braidwood, Senior Instructor at the centre tells us about one of these incredible trips.


As a skipper I have been fortunate to have had several opportunities to explore the magnificent east coast of the Outer Hebrides by yacht, but all too often we had to return back to the mainland after two or three days to run from impending bad weather. However, during the first week of August last year, the Cumbrae yacht, Somerled, and a crew of five; myself, Dave, Jo, Clare and Stephen were blessed with a weather window that allowed for a swift passage out west. This was the start of a voyage that would be an exploration of several fantastic anchorages in the Outer Hebrides between Vatersay in the south to the Sound of Scalpay in the north.


The following morning began with calm seas and a low tide and therefore an opportunity to attempt the famous Fisherman’s passage between the islets of Uinessan and Snuasimul. It is always a heart-stopping moment for any skipper attempting such passages for the first time, so the accurate leading lines on Barra and south Vatersay, obtained from the pilotage book, proved to be a good learning experience for the crew particularly from a position at the bow manned by Dave. Onward to South Uist and an overnight berth in the fantastic bolt hole marina of Loch Boisdale (pictured) where we received a warm welcome from harbourmaster, Coll McDonald. Coll and his team are working hard to encourage more yachts to visit South Uist, and the marina is a perfect base from which to explore the area.

Loch Boisdale from Somerled
Loch Boisdale from Somerled

The next day brought breezier conditions and more exploration challenges ahead. Following advice from a local fisherman who I had met at Eriskay harbour, we headed towards a small temporary anchorage between Loch Boisdale and Loch Maddy. Caolas Luirsay is on the north side of the entrance to Loch Skipport and it was superb shelter away from the F4-5 south easterly swell, although the anchorage in seven metres was still exposed to the wind.

We eventually arrived at our destination for the evening which is one of the most isolated of anchorages that I know if. I had visited this anchorage on a few previous occasions - within Flodday Sound. The anchorage is typical of the hundreds of special places that can be discovered in the area.


The last day of travelling out west allowed us to explore the anchorage in Loch Scadabhagh with a narrow entrance again testing pilotage skills. Around into East Loch Tarbert on North Harris and a pier stop for water and souvenirs, we still had time for a peaceful lunch stop at anchor in Urghabeag Bay. With sails raised it was goodbye to the Outer Hebrides as we passed under Scalpay Bridge and the use of a fair wind over the sea to Skye and the Acarseid Mor on Rona for the evening. The final day was an early start to catch the tide at the Kylerhea with lunch at the Sandaig Islands and Mallaig to complete the adventure.

We are sailing for over 1000 days throughout the year on various cruise experiences - check out our dates and destinations!

By Viki

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