Largs to St Kilda Adventure sailing in Scotland

Earlier this year we set sail for St. Kilda from Largs Yacht Haven, we were lucky to get plenty of breeze, mostly in the right direction. Day 1 took us South leaving Arran to Starboard and brought us to the island of Sanda on the South tip of the Mull of Kintrye where we spent the night at anchor before an early start to catch the tide which helped us get to Islay.

We made it to Islay where we hid from the wind for a day anchored off Bowmore, this allowed us to make some final checks in preparation for the 160 mile sail to St. Kilda.

The wild Atlantic didn’t disappoint, we had large rolling waves to surf upon left behind from the storm the previous day.

Close reaching to St. Kilda.

The moon shone and stars twinkled guiding us through the night and as dawn broke the call was made on deck “land ahoy!” We made it! It was a challenging sail in breezy conditions with a big sea, but it’s the Atlantic, that’s what is expected.

Saint Kilda on the horizon

St. Kilda is an archipelago and Hirta the largest island boasting the highest sea cliffs in the UK, we anchored in Village bay and took the dinghy ashore. After a few days on the boat it was a welcome relief to stretch our legs as we ascended Conachair (“the beacon”), our effort was rewarded with breath taking views of the island and surrounding ocean basking in sunshine. St. Kilda is famous for it’s history, rugged beauty and wildlife, our expectations were surpassed, it is a place like no other. Alas we would have loved to stay longer, but the weather changes quickly…

We departed Village bay early (4am!!!) to keep away from some weather coming in, our course was South East with a Northly breeze allowing a fast reach towards the Sound of Pabbay (between the islands of Sandray and Pabbay). We made great progress with a top speed of 15.1kn! This allowed us to reach Tobermory on the Isle of Mull by sunset, the skipper and crew slept well that night.

Windy downwind sailing from St. Kilda back to Tobermory.

After a night in a marina we were well rested and ready to continue our journey home, albeit at a much more leisurely pace as our main goal had been achieved in good time. We waited for the tide to take us South to visit “the bridge over the atlantic” then South again the next day where we anchored off the Isle of Gigha. Having the luxury of time our next stop was just off Daaver Island (near Campbeltown) where we went exploring in the caves that contain a life size painting of the crucifixion. On our re-entry to the Clyde we were greeted by three Minke whalesnor “very big dolphins” as they were referred till we were able to google whale breeds

All good things must come to an end, after a couple of days cruising round the Clyde we made our way back to Largs Yacht Haven.

Sailing under spinnaker.

On our final day we realised that we had done many things on this trip but only sailed in the rain once and tacked once, some might say good fortune, the skipper said good planning. St. Kilda you were incredible and we can’t wait to go on this adventure again in 2021