Everything you need to know about St Kilda Champagne cruises

THE St Kilda Champagne Cruises is celebrating 10 years of charter sailing the West Coast of Scotland.

The St Kilda cruise ship. Picture: Contributed

What is it?

Throughout the last 10 years the skipper has safely guided the St Hilda through all the beautiful Scottish sea lochs and islands and the chef has served countless great meals of locally sourced food.

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Where does it leave from and where can you sail to on the St Hilda?

Skipper Michael Marshall revealed: “In 2017 we will, for the first time, set sail from Tobermory, the capital of Mull.

“Tobermory is a picturesque village whose brightly painted buildings line the water front and nestle against a backdrop of high, woodland hills that surround the bay - a bay that holds the wreck of a supposedly treasure filled Spanish galleon.

“From here St Hilda will cruise the Hebridean seas, anchoring in wild and remote sea lochs, travelling to and around high-cliffed islands with such romantic and famous names as Iona, Staffa, Canna, Skye, Barra, Mull and St Kilda.

What time of year does it sale?

From April to October.

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Do I need any sailing experience?

No. Throughout the last 10 years of chartering the St Hilda has been a very special holiday for many families, groups of friends, couples and single travellers.

On a number of occasions she has been privately chartered – notably by a famous Premier League football manager.

What is it like on board?

Guests stay in two cabins - a roomy, double, en-suite aft cabin and a fore cabin where there are four, comfortable berths with toilet and shower rooms.

The ex tall-ship St Hilda is one of the smallest of the world’s “Tall Ships” and has competed in several Tall Ship races.

She was built in Scotland in St Monans, Fife, in the family-owned Miller’s boatyard specifically for sail training with a crew of 20.

This is why nowadays she is such a spacious yacht for her six guests, skipper and chef.

How much does it cost?

From £750 to £1,650 for five nights, depending on the expedition.

Why should I book it?

During the decade they have had many guests from the UK, America, Australia, Canada, France and New Zealand who have enjoyed cruising aboard the beautiful, wooden ex-tall ship St Hilda.

Skipper Michael Marshall said: “These Scottish seas and mountains abound with rare and spectacular wild life. There are golden and sea eagles, minke and occasional humpback and orca whales, myriads of sea birds as well as dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.

“Ashore and along the coasts there are ospreys, corncrakes and otters.

“Youngsters and adults love to haul up the main and mizzen sails, set the jib, and raise the anchor. There is plenty of room on deck to carry your canoes, windsurfers or cycles.

“The yacht tender is at your disposal and you can go for fabulous mountain and coastal walks, visit the seaside rock pools and view the regions unique shore-side wildlife.

“The St Hilda is a great cruising and sailing experience for small groups of friends and families. Teenagers in particular love life aboard our ex-tall ship as they learn about sailing and seamanship. It’s great fun for everyone to shoot lobster pots, fish for the evening meal, snorkel around the boat and jump and dive overboard. We can even examine, with the St Hilda’s microscope, the beautiful underwater world of microscopic plankton – a true microcosm of life.

“Each group of two or more guests will receive a bottle of champagne to toast St Hilda and celebrate the 10-year anniversary.

“You cannot but admire the breathtaking views form St Hilda’s open decks and you will truly enjoy great meals in St Hilda’s airy, well-lit saloon.”

“What a pleasure and unforgettable experience it will be to wake up to the gentle sound of the Scottish seas lapping against the hull. Do come and help us celebrate.”

He added: “After another highly successful 2016 season, an important milestone for the ex-tall ship St Hilda is the year 2017, when we celebrate 10 successful years of charter sailing around the beautiful islands and coastline of the West Coast of Scotland.

“As part of our 10 year celebration in 2017 we are offering a complimentary bottle of champagne for those who travel on our exciting new cruises to the Hebrides and St Kilda.”