23 independent reviews for Wildlife sailing vacation in Scotland

Reviews for Wildlife sailing vacation in Scotland

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review 19 Jul 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Our encounter with a big group of white-beaked dolphins jumping playfully and the beautiful beaches and peaks of the islands. Barra and Canna were amazing and the red sunset in Muck was unforgettable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be well prepared for all types of weather. Try to participate as much as possible to the life on board. Be fit and adventurous. For couples, try to book the aft cabin if possible.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We tried to buy locally.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We thoroughly enjoyed it

review 20 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole experience was wonderful, particularly enjoyed the dinghy trip round the Burnt Islands reserve where we were treated with great views of the Common Seal colony. Also enjoyed discovering another world through the microscope investigating plankton samples.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take ear plugs, your shipmates may snore ! Be prepared to get involved with sailing procedures if the opportunity is there, it will increase your understanding and enjoyment of the trip. Make the most of the wildlife viewing,(including plankton !). Don't expect to lose weight, Colette produces wonderful meals and and is disappointed if it doesn't get eaten ;-).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Provisions are bought locally and consideration is given to buying as much ethical produce as possible. Michael is very involved with marine research and the effect of climate change on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A wonderful week, stunning scenery, lots of wildlife to observe. Michael and Colette are so friendly and have a vast amount of knowledge and experience in so many subjects, immense patience teaching beginners how to tie knots, hoist sails and raise the anchor and just making sure everyone is comfortable and happy. At times my sides were aching with laughter with endless funny stories from the crew and other guests.

review 3 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with the beautiful scenery of lochs and surrounding mountains together with wildlife sightings (especially common seals and a variety of birds). Michael taught us some basic yachting skills (such as knot tying, putting sails up, dropping and lifting the anchor) and Colette supplied us with plenty of lovely food and drink - she never stops! No light polution and clear skies allowed for spectacular stargazing. As an added bonus we got to collect and view plankton under the microscope, a truly unique experience. Thank you very much Michael and Colette for your hospitality and making this a memorable and enjoyable vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This vacation is great for getting away from it all. Travelers should also be aware that the 6-berth sleepng area is shared with only a curtain separating the 2 rear bunks from the other 4 bunks. Privacy, therefore, is limited.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

This vacation supports conservation, particularly sustainable fishing and minimising human impact on wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent: great hospitality and plenty of fascintating things to see and do.

review 8 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing an Osprey catch a fish.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take Mike and Colette's advice on clothing!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Increased our awareness of the interplay and delicate balance between various species of flora and fauna - in particular, plankton.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A great vacation despite some truly awful unseasonal weather. Wonderful wildlife and scenery - especially Loch Striven (when the winds abated). Mike is hugely knowledgeable about sailing and wildlife - and a lot of other things besides. Colette is an excellent cook, who managed to cater for my daughters manifold food intolerances. Both hosts made us feel very welcome. We are contemplating another trip next year.

review 27 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Joining as a passenger and becoming part of a crew was a memorable experience on the St Hilda. Being hosted by such committed, patient and experienced owners made the transition a pleasure. I knew the coast we visited from a landward perspective, and was thrilled to achieve a long held desire to explore it from the sea. Learning to handle the gear, and to participate in the marine explorations, from mammals to microbes, was fascinating. We became a real 'crew' - shipmates.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for a simple life on board, well organised though confined. Put yourself into learning mode, with a team (crew) spirit. The weather, good or bad, will enhance the experience. Only pack essentials - it's amazing what you can do without! You wont need five changes of clothes. It's a good opportunity to try things new, even the porridge (with a touch of salt!), it is Scotland after all.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We enjoyed the cruise so much we were never ashore to meet the locals apart from boarding and disembarking. We were certainly made dramatically aware of many environmental issues through being drawn to observe and be concerned for all that was happening in the marine habitat we visited, and by taking part in the research work undertaken on plankton, and noting the effects of climate change

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

As a reasonably fit, far-travelled 87 year-old, I couldn't have had a more enjoyable and memorable vacation. I felt appreciated in my attempts to be useful, and similarly appreciated the endeavours and friendship of all those who formed our crew under the expert care of the skipper and his mate.

review 9 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The plancton collection. The scottish dinner and whisky tasting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

To bring waterproof clothes, camera and a good book to read.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We have visited a local art gallery and a local pub as well, exepriencing local art and food.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A very interesting experience for people who loves nature, sea and peace.

review 13 Jul 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The day we went sailing. Michael took his time with teaching his very novice passengers how to sail.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring games or hobbies to enjoy when not busy on the boat, especially young passengers, since wifi is not available.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we went to the sculpture garden and ate at the local pub. We hiked up a mountain and enjoyed nature. The scenery was beautiful.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great family experience, wish the weather was better,overall seven out of ten. Michael and Colette are wonderful hosts and very patient with teaching us. We enjoyed their company.

review 24 Sep 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Close encounters with the wildlife. Hauling in the lobster pot and finding an enormous lobster and ten crabs!. Fishing for mackerel over the side and catching biggest fish of the day then eating them later. Launching the dinghy and seeing the seals and birds close-up .

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared to muck in and experience everything on offer. Being a working boat there are potential hazards and getting in and out of the dinghy involves good co-ordination so think carefully if you have limited mobility. Take everything that the website suggests- you will need it all!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, both Michael and Colette were passionate about conservation matters and the threat to the marine environment which couldn't help but rub off on everyone on board.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Brilliant vacation

review 7 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Great hosts and fellow travelers, stunning scenery and wonderful food, on and off the boat

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Relax and drink it all in, you couldn't get better hosts

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Eating at local restaurants and other shopping helps the locals, and of course, wind in the sails is helpful too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

10/10, relaxing and rewarding

review 11 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The wonderful scenery and the good food on and off the boat, a scarcity of the infamous midge, favourable weather and our hosts recommendations on where to go and what to do etc prevented a few family feuds. I would also like to mention (and thank) our knowledgeable taxi drivers (George and Keiran)who taxied us here and there for a few days

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

WE spent rather a lot of time off the boat owing to an unfortunate mishap with the skipper. We therefore got to see and do some things that may not have been possible had we spent more time sailing. Both Michael and Colette are very accommodating so I would suggest negotiating a fair bit of time ashore.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The food and beer was predominantly local. Visits to local art exhibitions, nature reserves, historic buildings etc was a contribution to the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

My family and I enjoyed it very much

review 19 Sep 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

So many that I can’t pick an individual moment but those I recommend to others include:- Good company, fresh air, viewing the Milky Way above with spectacular phosphorescence below, laughter – who knew tying knots could be such good fun, complete trust in the seamanship of the skipper, delicious and wholesome food, meticulous cleanliness, being involved in deciding each day’s activities. Common seals, lobsters, mackerel, harbour porpoise, lots of birds (recommend this trip to those who know about birds-unfortunately I don’t). Relaxation and regeneration.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Join in, enjoy the moment, wear layers – my personal favourite is a woolly hat. I traveled solo and felt comfortable from the outset; sharing a cabin was all part of the experience.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Involvement with local business was evident – Gary is the best dressed Taxi driver in the world, Collette shops with local suppliers, ask the skipper about the benefits of line caught vs trawling for fish and have a look at msc.org

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful vacation and great value for money. I'm considering running away to sea!

review 17 Sep 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The most memorable part of my time on St. Hilda was the amazing spectacular scenery of Scotland, the sea lochs, seals, birds, jelly fish and the warm welcome. The knowledge and expertise of Colette and Michael on the whole trip. The lovely food, Colette is a great cook, but very modest! The being at sea. Sleeping in a Bunk, hearing the sound of the wind and waves, feeling warm and cosey!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Enjoy every minuet, this is an experience you may never have again. Make the most of the view,looking at whats around you. Take warm and waterproof clothing, layers are the best. Walking shoes and deck shoes, as advised. Do not be afraid of wind and rain or to ask, you are in very safe hands. Join in its fun! Have a good laugh enjoy the excellent cooking, food and company on this lovely boat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, I felt as though I had had my eyes opened by Michael and Colette about whats really important in the world!The environment, the animals, fish and birds of this area are all really important to them, and they do their best for the local economy, the passion shines through, and then enthuses you.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This was a great vacation for me, made me fall in love with sailing again, oh dear!

review 17 Sep 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

What can one say about this vacation it has to be one of the best vacations I have ever been on with two of the best hosts you could ever wish to meet in Michael and Colette who make your trip so wonderful and informative and the fellow passengers John, Julie, Peter and Mike who it was a pleasure to sail with. The meals on board from breakfast through to dinner are all superbly prepared by Colette. You can either relax or take it easy or you can learn various things on board and help sail the boat which is quite an experience in itself .All in all a thoroughly wonderfully vacation and adventure. And one I would willingly take again.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

I travelled up by train from the midlands and stayed overnight in the Anchorage bed and breakfast both before and after the trip which is just a 15 minute walk along the loch. Make sure you take waterproofs and Wellingtons, you will need them. Sleeping in bunk beds is an experience in itself but slept like a log every night.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes very much so everything used was put aside for recycling upon return to the marina at the trips end. When going ashore in the rubber dinghy which was quite an experience we pulled into the shore.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Without a doubt 5 stars and one I would definitely take again Michael and Colette look after you from start to finish and nothing is too much for them.

review 20 Aug 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The magic of this vacation can be summed up by our first morning afloat. Having learnt how to lay an anchor the night before, we woke to the gently lapping waters of a secluded loch. After a delicious breakfast we had a hilarious hour learning basic knot knowledge, followed by fishing for fresh mackerel for dinner - and all this before elevenses on the aft deck, surveying the scenery over tea and biscuits. Many more adventures awaited over the next four days..

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring waterproofs! We had five solid days of sunshine, but even in these conditions, a waterproof coat and trousers come in very handy for dingy launching and riding, lobster pot launching and retrieval etc where splashing at the very least is inevitable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our vacation brought income to the locality, where the St Hilda is based. The mindfulness that water use and waste disposal required certainly kept our environmental impact to a minimum and we hope that this type of vacation will encourage the preservation of wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A wonderful vacation, quite unlike any other we've ever experienced, made possible by Michael and Colette's hospitality, expertise and hard work.

review 18 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

How do I choose? It was all wonderful. But I suppose it would have to be watching what must have been over 100 gannets dive bombing again and again like WW2 fighter pilots circling round for yet another attack. Spectacular. Also gathering wild mussels as big as the palm of your hand, spending an hour or two scraping barnacles off them, then seeing them reappear as moules marinieres a couple of hours later. Landing mackerel by the dozen and enjoying them as fresh as it's possible to be. Waitrose will never be able to compete.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't take much with you, especially books! Our massive supply stayed firmly put in the bags. There's too much to see and do and there are books on board if you want to read. Definitely take swimming gear and possibly a wetsuit. The swimming is terrific.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Michael and Colette are extremely careful to have as low an impact on the environment as is possible. Food is locally sourced, waste kept to an absolute minimum, fishing only for those that are large enough to eat and only the amount needed for that night's meal are kept. They care passionately about conservation and keep an eye out for local species and how they are doing. Guests can contribute to a log of what they have seen.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful. All our conversations now begin "When we were on the boat ...". Michael and Colette are superb hosts - interesting, kind, great company. Colette's cooking is delicious and they are both so patient with the idiots who couldn't get their heads round a round turn and two half hitches. Great mucking in and helping, meeting like-minded people and having the most brilliant time.

review 2 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It was memorable for so many reasons! Colette and Michael are wonderful hosts and they certainly know their "stuff". We fished, threw lobster pots, put up the sails, collected plankton and looked at all these amazing colourful creatures under the microscope. We relaxed and sunbathed on deck... The weather was perfect. The meals that Colette produced were magnifique! The mussels collected in Loch Striven were soon moules marinier ... Absolutely delicious!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with an open heart and mind and enjoy everything. Don't forget your camera!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The food for the trip was sourced locally. Local businesses eg B&B, pubs, attractions were recommended. Wildlife was respected and safe distances kept. Rubbish carefully collected, recycled or disposed of in correct way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was fantastic, I met some wonderful people and haven't laughed so much for ages. A real tonic!

review 2 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Being part of an amazing team (crew and guests). I experienced so much, learned so much and did things I never thought I would - or even could; I received so much encouragement.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a small bottle of handwash gel or handwipes - it's a long way up and down the gangway to keep washing your hands!!!!!! They don't get dirty, but you are handling equipment which has been in the sea. Oh yes, layers of light clothing better than thick sweaters and fleeces etc. Lighter to pack and easier to stow.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly did - Colette and Michael kept it local, shopped locally and took us to local places of great interest. They taught us how to care for the environment and wildlife. Wonderful.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderfully different and definitely for those who wish to be part of what is going on. I will go again; even now thinking of next year.

review 19 Sep 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Highlights included catching fish, watching seals from the dinghy, and working with Michael and Colette on the many aspects of sailing the boat.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack plenty of warm layers, including warm hats. It can get very cold and wet on deck, and it's good to have spares.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Michael and Colette are very passionate about marine conservation, and practice this actively. We were encouraged to think about where our fish comes from, and to act responsibly on the voyage.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This was an excellent and challenging vacation. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship homely, and the food excellent. As complete novices to sailing we learnt so much. We have come home exhausted but inspired.

review 4 Sep 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Learning to sail with Michael was the best bit in my opinion. He taught us loads of knots, and we turned off the engine and sailed for a bit. My second favourite bit was fishing. We caught lots of fish, and chose the ones we wanted to eat, before having them for dinner!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was fantastic! I really enjoyed it! It was one of the best adventury actiony vacations I've ever been on! Thank you very much Michael and Colette! By Ashleigh aged 12 (:

review 31 Aug 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

On the first night we anchored in one of the sea lochs. It was calm and the moon was out. We could hear the fish jumping out of the water and see the phosphorescence as they were chased by either a seal or porpoise. That was a great experience. This was a really enjoyable vacation where you had to sit back and relax because there was no TV/ phone signal and you had time to take in your surroundings. We saw lots of different seabirds. We saw porpoises and a dolphin, but best of all was seeing the seals up close with their pups from a dinghy!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

You need to be able to get on with new people well as there is very little privacy or room in the sleeping quarters. This was not a problem as everyone gave each other the necessary space and time.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All food was bought locally and cooked freshly on board every day. All rubbish was taken ashore at the end of the cruise and either recycled or disposed of properly. Michael had a great knowledge of the area and it's wildlife and I think conservation is supported by him imparting his knowledge to the people who take the cruises.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I really enjoyed this vacation because you can slow right down and watch the world go by. The scenery was beautiful and seeing the mountains of Arran looming up in front of you as you sail towards them was brilliant. I learned a lot on this cruise that I never thought I would - how to tie knots, how to land a mackerel, how to launch a dinghy, to name but a few. You can do as much or as little work as you like. There is no pressure. Collette's cooking was superb, Michael was keen to share his knowledge and the company of the other passengers that week made it ideal.

review 16 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The most memorable part of the vacation was sailing to Arran with all the sails out watching the wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I believe all the stores were bought locally.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The food and hospitality was very good. The accommodation was basic and you had to be prepared for very little privacy.

review 13 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The food and the company of Michael and Colette (who is also a wonderful cook) were outstanding. I usually go on sailing vacations to get fit but this time the food and wine were terrific and I put on weight. Other highlights were the freshly collected muscles (moule marinere), the wonderful scenery, wildlife, walks in the hills and of course the sailing.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared to immerse youself in the history of the St. Hilda and to join in with all aspects of operating and sailing an old craft. As an experienced sailor I really did get the best out of the vacation. Michael is very keen to give his clients every opportunity to learn and help but travelers will only get the complete experience if they are prepared to join in the operation of the boat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Colette was keen to source the food for the trip locally. The boat is based in the Holy Loch Marina and it is obvious that Michael has a good working relationship with the local community. The care that Michael took not to disturb the wildlife and choose anchorages shows that both he and Colette are very aware of the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I only give the vacation 3 stars simply because I do go on a lot more exotic vacations at least once a year. At 6 days long this was more of a break. However I was very very impressed with the value for money as this was an 'all-in' package. As in all solo vacations the quality of the fellow travelers is all important, you have to be prepared for anything and the company was very amusing. This vacation was great and I would recommend it to anyone with the right attitude.

review 26 Jul 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Memorable for me for wonderful wildlife we really saw ( so often we have been disappointed, even in Amazon rain forest). We saw dolphins and seals and lots of beautiful sea birds, we fished and laid lobster pots. We caught a lobster, along with crab and star fish, and netted plankton which we examined under microscope. My sons enjoyed the sailing, one son found he loved making sea knots. We swam in the sea. We all enjoyed beautifully cooked and plentiful food and the good company of our host and hostess.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Good vacation for teenagers as skipper Michael will let them sail the boat and teach them all about navigation and sailing. No hidden extras, absolutely all food provided and no opportunity to go shopping and spend extra on unwanted souvenirs. Good value for money.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The tourist industry in West Scotland has lost out to places with reliable sunshine. Vacations like this attract tourists back benefiting the local people. All food was bought locally by our hostess. The lobster and crab we netted we returned to sea. Michael and Colette were meticulous with rubbish and recycling. We travelled to Scotland by train, better for the environment than flying. Our children were set an example on how to behave responsibly with regard to the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. Thanks, responsible travel!

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