Saturday, April 14, 2018

2019 Guided Cruise

Since 2016 it has been my privilege to guide an annual 10 day cruise on the ship Hjalmar Bjorge, operated by Northern Light Cruising Company. The itinerary for the 2019 cruise has now been set. Departing Oban on July 10, the primary destination will be Rona, which lies 40 nautical miles north of the Butt of Lewis.

Approaching Rona
Guests will need to arrive at Oban around 1230 on July 10, and then Hjalmar Bjorge will depart at 1330 for a crossing to Canna on day one.

The route north from there will depend on prevailing weather conditions. Hopefully, after a night at Canna, we'll cruise up the west of Skye to the Shiant Islands. From there we will head up the east coast of Lewis before making our passage to Rona where, if at all possible, we will spend one or two nights on anchor. The village ruins on Rona are fascinating, and at its heart stand the chapel and cell of Saint Ronan, some of the oldest extant Christian ruins in Britain.

St Ronan's cell and chapel

Rona - looking north from the top
From Rona we will sail west to Sula Sgeir and again, if possible, land there. From here we’ll head south, down the west coast of Lewis and towards the Flannan Islands with an overnight stop in West or East Loch Roag.

Approaching Sula Sgeir

Sula Sgeir

Approaching the Flannans

Landing at the Flannans
There may also be time to visit Little Bernera in Loch Roag, or the island of Scarp, before commencing our return home via the Sound of Harris and back to Oban on the last morning.

Little Bernera

If the weather is kind, possible highlights include the seabird colonies on the Shiant Islands and the gannetry on Sula Sgeir, puffins and more seabirds on the Flannans, plus golden and sea eagles on Scarp. There should be dolphin and other cetacean sightings throughout; in recent years some of better sightings have been in the north of the Hebrides, such as those involving orca and humpback whales (fingers crossed). There are sites of archaeological and historic interest on Canna, the Shiants, North Rona, the Flannan Isles, West Loch Roag and Scarp.

For more information, and to book, refer to the Northern Lights website.

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