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Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

Posted on May 21, 2013 by Brian Morrison

As I write this there’s still enough snow on the hills for Scottish skiing, but recent warm days have got me thinking about one of my favourite summer activities; Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast. The west coast of Scotland is perfect for this with great sailing, stunning sheltered anchorages, and great hills right by the coast.

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

No previous sailing experience is necessary, but there is plenty to do on board and everyone is encouraged to get involved. The experience can be very varied from a slow tranquil drift to an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. There is plenty of time also to see the wildlife and it’s definitely worth keeping your eyes open. A small selection of what you might see below.

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

Minky Whale

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

Grey Seal

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

Basking Shark

Every trip is different and the itinerary is flexible to make the most of the weather conditions experienced. Windy days are great for sailing, particularly if the wind’s abaft the beam (behind you!). Clear days are perfect for getting up a hill and enjoying the views. More anchorages than most people could visit in a lifetime mean there’s always somewhere sheltered to head for the night. Even the wet days can be interesting with one particularly wet day being memorable when a short walk on Skye became a bit more adventurous! What is normally a small burn became uncrossable in spate and involved a detour of several kilometres and several hundred metres of ascent, almost to it’s source, to find a suitable crossing place. The cups of tea and coffee awaiting when we got back aboard the yacht were much appreciated.

One of my favourite walks is An Sgurr on Eigg. The summit which from the anchorage appears to have vertical cliffs on all sides can actually be ascended without the need for climbing skills.

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

An Sgurr, Eigg

If the tops are in the cloud there are plenty of coastal and low level walks. Another option is a one way walk where the boat drops you off in one place and picks you back up in another. A fine example of this is to get dropped at Barrisdale in Loch Hourn and walk across Knoydart finishing in Inverie on the shores of Loch Nevis. There’s the added bonus of mainland Britain’s remotest pub when you get there.

Add to all this great food cooked on board in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. A dram in the evening as the sun sets… I could go on but suggest getting out there and experiencing it for yourself.

Sailing and Walking in the Scottish West Coast

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Brian Morrison

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