Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Ship Cruise
Malt Whisky and Wildlife tour

Malt Whisky and Wildlife

St Hilda Sea Adventures Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5.0 . Excellent
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 1,540 $ 171 / day
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  • Visit the Malt Whisky capital of the world – Islay
  • Enjoy the magnificent Munro mountains
  • Visit Lagavulin distillery and other world famous distilleries

Short Description

Single Malt whisky, made in an individual distillery from malted barley, distilled in copper pot stills and matured in oak casks, is one of the wonders of Scotland. Mixed with magnificent wildlife and spectacular Scottish islands it creates an unforgettable Hebridean cruise on one of our three small ships.

In this whisky and Scottish wildlife cruise you can sample the delights of some of the most famous single malts from some of the most famous of "malt whisky islands" – Mull, Jura and especially Islay with its many distilleries. On the way you can see the incredible wildlife - soaring sea and golden eagles, basking sharks, minke and orca whales, porpoises, dolphins, seabirds and seals.

If you are not totally malt whiskied-out at the end of the cruise, there is always the Oban distillery or the Oban Whisky Shop.

This cruise can be an eight or ten night itinerary depending on the dates you choose to travel.

Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Trip Type Small Ship Cruise
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Tobermory
End City Tobermory

Trip Includes

Reservations at the distilleries and transport costs (to and back from the boat) are already included in the price.

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Day 1:

Arrive Tobermory, one of the most picturesque towns in the Western Isles and home to one of the oldest (1798) commercial distilleries in Scotland. Here they produce two malts: the un-peated Tobermory and the smoky Ledaig. You can visit the distillery and sample these very different flavours before embarkation or, if you prefer, after disembarkation. A dinghy ride from a pontoon in this most sheltered of natural harbours brings you to St Hilda, quietly riding at anchor. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship, we set sail for delightful Loch Aline in the Sound of Mull.

Day 2:

After breakfast we lift anchor and re-enter the beautiful Sound of Mull. Our destination is the remote island of Shuna. On the way, and at anytime during the trip, we may see soaring white-tailed or golden eagles (Mull is the best place in the UK to see eagles), basking sharks, whales, porpoises and dolphins, as well as many types of seabirds. From Sound of Mull we enter the Firth of Lorn and then, with the tide in our favour, (a must as the currents can run at five knots in these parts) we enter the Sound of Luing. Shooting past the famous Fladda lighthouse - the over falls and eddies of these fast-running waters make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea. The waters calm as we pass the southern tip of Luing Island and enter Shuna Sound. Our quiet anchorage off the north coast of Shuna Island is a spot where otters frequently play along the shoreline.

Day 3:

Up anchor and down the Shuna Sound with tidal planning again important as we will pass the notorious Gulf of Corryvrecken with its six knot tides which can be heard roaring 30 miles inland when there is a storm of wind against tide. We pass the northern headland of Jura, where George Orwell’s cottage can still be seen where he wrote 1984, to sail down the Sound of Jura. The magnificent Munro mountains, the three “Paps of Jura”, can be seen rising over the craggy cliffs of Jura's shoreline to dominate the southern end of the Sound of Islay. Our destination anchorage is off Craighouse the home of the Jura Distillery and home to two distinct malts: sweet Origin and smoky Superstition.

Day 4:

We can visit the distillery before lifting anchor and setting sail for the Malt Whisky capital of the world – Islay. Our anchorage is in Kilnaughton Bay, off Port Ellen, which is Islay's main town (the Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 but the maltings are still in operation).

Day 5:

We are spoilt for choice for distillery visits: Lagavulin distillery is just north of Port Ellen and, close by, are the other world famous distilleries of Ardbeg and Laphroaig. They all use Islay's peaty water and peated malt to give their famous powerful, salty, peaty, iodiney flavours. In contrast, the northern distilleries of Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich draw their water directly from springs to give lighter, nuttier flavours. Caol lla, close to Bunnahabhain, produces a delicate flavoured malt, while Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the island (1779), in the middle of the town of Bowmore and on the banks of a loch, has its own very distinctive peaty, salty taste.

Day 6:

Our destination is an anchorage in the upper reaches of beautiful Loch Sween - its seal population lining its banks to watch our progress.

Day 7:

Up anchor and we pass the natural anchorage of Tayvallich, once a famous Viking harbour, and head back down Loch Sween and then up the Sounds of Jura and Luing to our next destination - remote Loch Spelve, on the south side of Mull. Here the anchorage in this sheltered loch with its ancient oak forest gives us unparallel views of the mountains of Mull. There are otters along its shoreline.

Day 8:

Negotiating the narrow entrance to Loch Spelve we head out in to the Firth of Lorn to return by the Sound of Mull to Tobermory where we will finally anchor for the night. Aperitif on deck and then dinner followed by some malts - the end of a perfect voyage.

Day 9:

Disembark by dinghy after breakfast at around 11am. And, if you are not totally malt whiskied-out, there is always the Tobermory distillery!


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Price From $ 1,540
Price Per Day: $ 171 per day
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Start DateEnd DateDouble StandardAvailability 
May-23-2020May-31-2020$ 1,994Limited Reserve
Jul-04-2020Jul-12-2020$ 1,595Limited Reserve
Aug-08-2020Aug-16-2020$ 3,493Limited Reserve
Aug-09-2020Aug-17-2020$ 1,595Limited Reserve

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Malt Whisky and Wildlife

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Company Reviews

What I had let myself in for was an experience which changed my life!!!!!

Getting on in years and wanting 'something different' I discovered St Hilda quite by chance. I arrived at the Marina, on my own, not really knowing what I had let myself in for. What I had let myself in for was an experience which changed my life!!!!! I was immediately absorbed into the whole structure of the voyage. Five other 'singletons' were, quite literally, in the same boat and we all gelled. Michael and Colette just took us under their wing and made us part and parcel of the crew. I learned so much, from hoisting sail, to dropping anchor, to collecting plankton. There was so much to see and as much to do as one wanted to. The evening meals were always a social and culinary delight and never ceased to amaze us. I made a lifelong friend in Doreen, who I met on the quayside and we both returned the next year to 'do' the Crinan Canal. I feel part of Colette's family and am so glad I decided that it was 'now or never' for an adventure of a lifetime. Thank you St Hilda.
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The most amazing Scottish Cruises in the Argyll and The Hebrides

The most amazing Scottish Cruises in the Argyll and The Hebrides.
We have been delighted to managed to arrange our own sailing trip (to continue building our mileages) while benefitting from the the St Hilda as a safe haven during our last holidays!
Even though it is not St Hilda Sea Adventures first activity, they have proven great flexibility and we could have never found similar service for our budget.
Great food, great company, and not to say breath taking panoramas.
This trip will stay for long in our memories...
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Our St. Hilda adventure was memorable

Our St. Hilda adventure was memorable for the gorgeous scenery; the amazing food; catching bait for the crabs we caught for dinner; the entertaining hosts & comfortable berths. We were a family of 4 (2 teenagers & a very experienced professional sailer). We never felt crowded, rushed, cold, wet or hungry!
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Excellent cooking

Lovely boat, fabulous setting, good company and excellent cooking


Ship Name

St Hilda

Ship Description

St Hilda is one of the smallest of the “Tall Ships” and has competed in several Tall Ship races. There are two cabins, a roomy, double, en-suite in the aft cabin and in the fore cabin there are four, comfortable berths, with an adjacent toilet and shower . You admire the views from her open decks and eat in an airy, well-lit saloon and, what a pleasure it is, to wake up to the sound of the water lapping against the hull. A truly unforgettable Scotland holiday!

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 6

Cancellation Policy:

Must be notified to us in writing by the person who made the booking. If you cancel your holiday:

More than 56 days prior to the start of your holiday/cruise, you will only be charged your deposit.

Between 56 and 30 days, you will be charged 50% of the holiday/cruise cost.

Between 30 and 14 days, you will be charged 75% of the holiday/cruise cost.

Note: If less than 14 days before the start of your holiday/cruise or on or after the commencement of the cruise, you must pay the full holiday/cruise cost.

Note: We appreciate that wholly unforeseen events may result in cancellation. In view of the above and for your peace of mind we therefore strongly advise you to take out appropriate comprehensive Accident & Cancellation Insurance at the time of your booking.

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