Tailor-Made Holiday

United Kingdom - Wild Scotland Cruise with Aurora

Explore nothern Scotland's remote coastline and islands

11 days

from £5,420pp (excluding flights)

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.  

  • Visit the World Heritage Site of Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles 
  • View the dramatic landscapes and majestic scenery of some of the world's least visited areas
  • Sit quietly in Zodiacs, as seals play in waters patrolled by whales and dolphins
  • Watch delightful puffin, guillemots, eagles, and fulmars

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.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 5420 -

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Day 1 - Scottish Highlands Cruise
Receive a warm welcome from the staff as you board the Polar Pioneer today in Oban. Set sail this evening along Scotland's northwest coast.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 2

Day 2 -Western Isles and Highlands
Overnight, travel to the tiny island of Iona, birthplace of Christianity in Britain and burial ground of early Scottish kings. Later on Staffa, visit Fingal's Cave, set amidst spectacular basalt columns, and learn why it inspired Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. Sample a single malt whiskey at a local distillery.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 3

Aurora Wild Scotland Day 3 - Western Isles and Highlands
Land at Loch Scavaig in the heart of the Cuillin Hills, the spiritual heart of Skye. Follow a lonely track to Rubh'an Dunain, an ancient passage grave with a nearby Iron Age fort and stone lined canal, possibly built by Vikings. If conditions allow, you can take longer walks into the hills. Canna offers golden and sea eagles, basking sharks, dolphins, grey seals and puffins. Portree, Skye's capital, is an attractive fishing port with brightly painted houses around a natural harbour. If chance has it, there may be a Ceilidh to attend - an evening of Scottish music and dance.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 4

Day 4 - Outer Hebrides
Conditions permitting, land on Hirta, in remote St Kilda, home to Europe's most important seabird colony and Britain's highest sea stacks. Learn of the incredible islanders, who survived here for nearly 5,000 years, and their heroic courtship rituals.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 5

Aurora Wild Scotland Day 5 - Outer Hebrides
Island hopping northeast, visit tiny specks of land that bear the brunt of violent Atlantic storms and rarely see visitors. Home to breeding seals and some of Europe's largest seabird colonies, Sula Sgeir, North Rona and Flannan boast spectacular cliffs, fantastic rock stacks, and hidden beaches.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 6

Day 6 - Outer Hebrides
On Lewis, visit the Callanish Stones, sombre slabs placed upright nearly 3,000 years ago to mark burial sites. A Zodiac cruise takes you to pure white beaches where the brave might swim and Bostadh's reconstructed Iron Age house.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 7

Day 7 - Shetland Isles
Closer to Norway than Scotland, the Shetland Isles played a strategic role in Viking conquests. Visit the capital, Lerwick, and explore the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof. On Mousa, walk to the world's best-preserved Iron Age structure known as a 'broch' and our historian recounts its importance.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 8

Day 8 - Shetland Islands
Hermaness National Nature Reserve is close to Britain's most northerly point. Foula's five dramatic peaks dwarf its crofting hamlets and its cliffs are alive with over 100,000 breeding seabirds: kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars and skuas. Papa Stour's coastline offers Zodiac exploration of dramatic caves.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 9

Day 9 - Orkney Archipelago
Blessed with red, fertile soil, the Orkney archipelago has welcomed people since ancient times. Among Orkney's archipelago of 70 windswept islands, lying six miles north of the Scottish mainland, is a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. From Kirkwall, visit 5,000-year old archaeological wonders like Skara Brae, excavated less than 100 years ago. View relics of Viking occupation and World War II curiosities, including the exquisite Italian Chapel, built from scrap by Italian POWs. Sail past the giant sea stack 'Old Man of Hoy'.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 10

Day 10 - Orkney Achipelago
On Papa Westray see the Knap of Howar, the oldest standing dwelling in Europe before continuing onto Fair Isle, a birdwatchers' paradise, where the few inhabitants still live in traditional crofts and welcome you to admire and buy their exquisite knitwear.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Day 11

Day 11 - Aberdeen
In Aberdeen, disembark and bid farewell to Polar Pioneer staff and crew and fellow passengers.

You will be staying at Polar Pioneer, Full board

Enquire about this holiday:

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey


  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides


  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates


  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom