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Peat and Puffins Sailing Expedition I- Aiming for St Kilda or Outer Hebrides from Ullapool

Tecla on her way to the Faroes
Voyage Number Vessel Starting Port Ending Port
T2018-3 Tecla Ullapool, Scotland Ullapool, Scotland
Booking fee Voyage duration Start date and time End date and time
EUR €30.00 8 days
30/04/2018 - 18:00 to 07/05/2018 - 10:00
30/04/2018 - 18:00 to 07/05/2018 - 10:00
Berth Type Availability Price Special Price
16-25 year olds per person Last Place - Book Now EUR €984.00 n/a
26 years old & over pp Last Place - Book Now EUR €1080.00 n/a
Voyage Description:

Mini Sailing Expedition to St Kilda

  • Aiming for St Kilda

  • The Outer Hebrides

  • Skye

  • All food included

  • Full accommodation onboard

  • No Sailing Experience Required

Ullapool - Tecla's Favourite Base 

The crew of Tecla were made very welcome by the local community in Ullapool in 2015, so the ship is back in the harbour in 2016 and starting all her Outer Hebrides and St Kilda voyages from here. Even further North than Eda Frandsen's summer base in Mallaig. Ullapool is North of Skye, North of Torridon and level in latitude with the Shiant Islands, Harris and Lewis.Accross the infamous Minch and through the Sound of Harris lies the remote St Kilda archipelago, 43 miles offshore from the Westernmost point of the Outer Hebridean island chain.

 

Expedition Style Voyage

This sailing voyage leads to sparsely inhabited islands, tiny fishing villages, deep lochs and rugged cliffs that will be appealing to nature lovers looking for puffin, sea and white tailed eagles, whales and other cetaceans. The hundreds of islands of the Hebrides have their own character, are very isolated and therefore entirely self-reliant. This area is rich in seabirds, which usually breed on the steep cliff faces. With the Tecla, a relatively small tall ship, we will visit unique places that cannot be reached by anything but boat or ship.

Whilst cruising these amazing sailing grounds you can help setting the big gaff sails on main and foremast. There re no square sails but she has proper ratlines so you can climb the mast and enjoy the view.

Ideal time of Year for Wildlife & Seabirds

The waters surrounding the Hebrides and St Kilda are rich in sealife and nutrients. During the crossings between the different islands the chances are high that we will spot whales and seals and this is a great time of year for ocean seabirds as they come into the high cliffs to breed.

St Kilda - a holy grail for adventurous sailors

St Kilda really is a long lost outpost of the British Empire.  The Outer Hebrides are very self sufficient and distant from the Scottish mainland, but St Kilda sits right out in the Atlantic.

You need a good weather window to reach here and anchor safely. Tecla was lucky in 2015 with the earliest landings of the season, but there are plenty of awesome destinations in less exposed locations if the weather is too wild. Not many sailors get to stand on St Kilda's main island of Hirta and even less visit the other islands in the group like the Flannan Group and North Rona.

The anchorages are often affected by ocean swell so there is no guarentee it will suitable to stop or even reach the small group of islands.

On this archipelago we will find hundreds of thousands of seabirds.  See below for more details.The island group is very remote and affected by ocean swell so if the weather is too tough for an ocean going sailing ship like Tecla, then she will continue her exploration of the Outer Hebrides

The History of St Kilda and its People

St. Kilda lies approximately 45 sea miles west of the Outer Hebrides. It is a small group of islands, Hirta being the biggest. As long as people can remember Hirta has been inhabited by the Celts. In the ancient feudal era the island group was in possession of the clan Macleod of Macloud.

For millennia the Celtic community on St. Kilda had been dependant on whatever the island group had to offer.

At the beginning of the previous century the St. Kildans lived exceptionally primitive compared to the rest of Europe. They lived of a few sheep, the agriculture and especially of bird catching. Annually a ship with necessities such as knifes, needles and yarn came to the island. These goods were exchanged for dried birds and tweed.

Living off Seabirds

Tens of thousands of birds were caught every year, especially Auks, Northern Fulmars and Northern Gannets. For food they would make dangerous expeditions to catch the birds and there eggs on the incredibly steep cliffs; especially on the islands in the north (Boreray, Stack and Stack Armin) which are really no more than steep tall rocks.
One hundred and eighty people lived on the islands towards the end of the 17th century but they only had 16ft boats to get about in. There was not enough timber to build there own craft so these tiny boats crossed the eighty mile passage from the mainland. 

The St. Kildans lived in houses with walls made of boulders and roofs made of turf and hay. The earliest houses had no chimneys or windows and they must have been very damp, dark and dingy to live in. In the 1830’s wood and glass were introduced into new dwellings and the old houses became stables and stores.

 

The old feudal Celtic community of St. Kilda was gradually destroyed by the influence the Anglo Saxons from the mainland but the morning “Parliament” persisted. Every morning the men folk would meet on the Village Street and deicide what had to be done that day and who would do it.

Strict Christianity had always been part of life on St Kilda and they also were responsible for the education of the children. At the start of the 20th century stone houses with sanitary facilities were introduced and an attempt was made with charity and tourism to keep the islands going; the main aim of which was to get them enough food to live on. But still the inhabitants were poverty stricken and near to starvation most of the time so that on August 29th 1930 the British government removed the last 39 inhabitants.

In 1957 a military post, which is still there, was built and is now run by Quintec Associates Ltd a defence organisation. The military started out by using bulldozers to destroy most of the old houses.

Also in 1957 the National Trust for Scotland became the owner and made St. Kilda a nature reserve. In 1986 St. Kilda became a Unesco World Heritage Site.

In recent years the National Trust for Scotland has restored some of the houses, the church and the school for accommodation and education on the life of St Kilda. Tourism has been encouraged in so far as it does not conflict with preserving the flora, fauna and wild life of the St Kilda Islands.

St. Kilda Birds and Animals

Twenty species of birds are breeding at St. Kilda, with over a million birds sitting on about 300.000 nests. A quarter of all the Northern Gannets on the Northern Atlantic, about 60.000 pair, are breeding on Boreray and the Stacks. Atlantic Puffin are the most common seabird in the archipelago; there were once millions of pairs but a declining fish population has dramatically reduced there number.
St Kilda has its own unique St. Kilda Wren, with a slightly bigger beak and a different song; it is estimated that there are 250 breeding pairs and a major sighting for any ornithologist or amateur bird watchers.

Outer Hebrides 

The Hebrides derive their name from the Norse (Viking) word Havbrodoy meaning on the edge of the sea, but they were inhabited long before the Norse Era. Pliny called them Hebudes, and Ptolemy in the 2nd century wrote of the Eboudai islands above Ivernia (Ireland).

Enjoy the novelty of a being on a historic sailing ship  exploring distinctive celtic communities, who only have a handful of yachts visit them each year, and have relied on small cargo shipspast and present for thier essential supplies.

Some uninhabited islands which are a haven for seabirds. Like the Great Barrier Reef, the chain of Outer Hebridean islands runs parallel to the Scottish mainland and protects it from ocean storms. The Atlantic facing coast is an almost continuous strand of sand dunes and machair (grass) whilst the east coast is deeply indented with a maze of islets and anchorages.

Over the Sea to Skye

Dominating the skyline for miles is the island of Skye with the mighty Cullin Ridge and the Red Cullins forming the mountainous backbone of the island. Skye also has over 400 miles of coastline and deep sea lochs.

Shiant Islands for Puffins and Sea Eagles

Not as well known as St Kilda but a firm favourite with many of the vessels Classic Sailing work with...and mainly because of the large puffin colony.Debbie sailed here in 2015 on Bessie Ellen and saw four sea eagles too, and was surrounded by puffins ashore.

"If St Kilda is on your bucket list then sailing from Ullapool is a strategically good place to start from, and scenically stunning too. " Michael, 2015

 

 

 

 

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