From the Hebrides in the west to windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, this 11-day cruise takes a journey through the intriguing diversity of Scotland’s wild islands.
Take in Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5,000 years and ponder the mystery of huge monoliths that marked a seasonal change. Visit picturesque villages, haunted castles - once strongholds of Scottish clans and deserted unsullied isles. See basking shark and minke whale and look out for porpoise and dolphin who will accompany the boat on its journey. Birders will delight in Europe’s largest seabird colonies with puffins and sea eagles to see, while the Orkney Islands will please whiskey lovers with the opportunity for a wee dram or two.
Why should I join this trip?
Carrying just 54 passengers, this small, nimble vessel allows a far more personal and intimate experience at each destination, sailing close to landing sites and venturing where other, larger ships are unable.
What is the boat like?
Originally built as an ice-strengthened, research vessel in Finland in 1982, Polar Pioneer was refurbished in 2000 and converted into a passenger ship for expeditions to the polar regions. On board there are a range of accommodation types; 26 cabins include triples and twins as well as larger suites. All feature outside facing portholes or windows and ample storage space. Cabins have either shared or private bathroom facilities, while suites offer en-suite bathrooms and lounge areas. Communal spaces include spacious viewing platforms and decks, a lounge bar, two dining rooms and a dedicated presentation room. There is an English speaking doctor on board and a crew of 23. A fleet of inflatable zodiacs is available for onshore excursions and a sauna for complete relaxation at the end of the day.
Where does the cruise depart from?
The cruise departs from Oban – the gateway to the highlands and islands. Historically a pretty, fishing and trading village, Oban grew into a town once the Victorian steamers started arriving and soon became the main stopping off point for the Western Isles. Oban can be reached by road from Glasgow or Edinburgh, taking approximately three hours by car.
What will the weather be like?
June and July are two of the hottest months here, though the average temperature is still only around 16°C. The average rainfall is 1-2 cm.
What wildlife will I see?
Argyll and the Hebrides have thousands of miles of coastline, home to a fantastic range of marine species, including seals, porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks and whales (from July onwards) and large collections of seabirds; puffin, guillemots, eagles, and fumars. Onshore, otters, red deer, red squirrels and wild goats are often spotted as well as many species of shore and woodland birds.
What, if any, specialist gear do I need on this cruise?
Free gumboot hire and a complimentary polar jacket will be gifted to you when onboard the Polar Pioneer. No other equipment or outer layers are required.
Are there any specialist activities?
Sea kayaking in Scotland offers a truly unique perspective of this amazing country. Kayakers paddle among the lochs, sea stacks and beaches of the remote Scottish Isles. You'll have the option to kayak as often as possible during the voyage (weather permitting), with opportunities to enjoy shore landings too. A kayaking surcharge applies.
Cruise Dates and Costs
Wild Scotland cruises from Oban once a year. The cruise disembarks in Aberdeen.
21 June - 1 July 2018
22 June - 2 July 2019 - Book before 31st October 2017 for a 15% (£800) saving on this departure*
Prices start from £5,420 based on a twin share cabin.
*discount applicable able only on twin share basis
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.