From the minute we stepped aboard the Eda Fransden for our walking and sailing holiday around the small isles, we knew immediately we were going to be extremely well looked after. The treat of having the most incredible chocolate brownies waiting for us more than made up for having to take the lateral flow test on arrival. Our group of 8 clients, 2 crew and our Wilderness Scotland guide were already enjoying getting to know each other and throughout the entire trip we had the best time as a group, with much laughter and many interesting conversations. Mungo, Stella and Mark (the Wilderness guide) discussed where we planned to sail and walk, but that things may well change due to weather and sea conditions. As it turned out, we had what was quite simply the best weather we have ever experienced on holiday in Scotland (and we live here!), with wall to wall sunshine, the most perfect of blue skies and enough wind to enable sailing, and appreciate the hugely impressive sight of this beautiful 65 foot traditional wooden yacht in full sail. We were able to enjoy beautiful anchorages off Skye, Eigg, Rum and Knoydart, such a treat to view the stunning Scottish landscape from this offshore perspective, in such ideal conditions. I don't think any of us were quite able to believe our luck. The incredible weather certainly contributed to making this holiday so memorable, although gazing on the Cuillins from Loch Scavaig must surely be an unforgettable experience in almost any weather, and certainly one of my highlights. Well that .... and seeing golden eagles..... beautiful highpoints .... stunning views .....wild swimming on land and off the boat ..... wonderful food .... and a pod of dolphins who swam by to visit most days, culminating in a pod of over 100 of them showing off on the last day!
Accommodation & Food
Anyone considering going on a sailing holiday should certainly make sure they know what to expect in terms of accommodation. Space is by necessity very limited and there is very little room to store personal belongings so careful thought is required when deciding what to take, especially if you are planning to hike as well. 2 heads and 1 shower between 11 people sounds challenging but in fact everyone seemed to have no problem accepting this and working around each other. The berths are physically close to each other, though separated by curtains, but it was a relief to discover that no-one snored!
Mark was brilliant. Having a guide on a sailing holiday such as this worked so well on many levels. It was such a treat to relax knowing that Mark would make decisions on where to walk to enable the entire group to get the best experience possible, including ensuring we made time to lookout for wildlife, admire wild flowers, learn some history and geology and go wild swimming. He kept a careful eye on everyone making sure we were all happy and able, for example, to cope with a bit of scrambling and uneven ground. There were some unexpected incidences to cope with, which Mark, and the crew, dealt with brilliantly. Having a guide take the group away for a few hours also allowed Mungo and Stella to have some time to themselves. This was their first experience of partnering with Wilderness Scotland, and they also very much appreciated having the guide share with communicating and organising the group.
The Bottom Line
We were so fortunate to experience incredibly perfect weather for sailing and walking, which of course contributed hugely to our enjoyment and appreciation of some of Scotland's wild and remote places. I am also convinced that we would not have had such an amazing time had it not been for the organisation, knowledge and skill of all the Wilderness Scotland staff, who work so hard in the background to ensure their clients have the best ever holiday. Thank you!