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Islands on the Edge with Island Sky

Islands on the Edge with Island Sky

From GBP £5,995

Description

This expedition voyage will appeal to those who wish to visit some of the most remote and inaccessible islands in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We have many years of experience in designing trips to the hidden corners of our remotest places and yet, every year we discover something new. Although we set sail with a fixed itinerary it is the unscheduled events that often become the highlight of the journey.

This is a truly unique voyage visiting as it does the remarkable islands on the edge of the British Isles. With the MS Island Sky as our base we have the advantage of being able to reach these remote ports and, with the use of Zodiacs, we will be able to explore in small groups. We will sail from Portsmouth and during our cruise visit both inhabited and uninhabited islands and places of great natural beauty, rich in wildlife and mystical history. We have also included a number of gardens from the Isles of Scilly to the Hebrides and for the keen birders, there are numerous highlights including cruising past one of the largest gannetries in the world at Stac Lee.

This is not a cruise in the traditional sense, more an exploration with 100 or so fellow travellers who wish to enjoy the peace, beauty and tranquility of the islands. The sheer diversity of the landscapes and lifestyles will amaze you as will the spirit and warmth of the small communities we will encounter. Learn something of their history, see the abundant bird and marine life, but above all revel in the timeless enchantment that these islands exude to all those who appreciate the natural world.

Trip Name
Islands on the Edge with Island Sky
Days
12
Overview
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 Portsmouth, England.
Embark the MS Island Sky in the afternoon. Transfers will be provided from Portsmouth Harbour Railway Station at a fixed time. Sail this evening for the Channel Islands.
Day 2 - Day 2 Guernsey & Herm, Channel Islands.
Anchor this morning off Guernsey, the ‘Island of Flowers’. There will be the option of a walking tour of St Peter Port including a visit to Castle Cornet, a 12th century battlement which guards the entrance to St Peter Port Harbour. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic island drive during which we will see the beautiful coastline and beaches and also visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Herm, the smallest inhabited Channel Island and, at just one and a half miles long and half a mile wide, perfect for discovering on foot. You will have free time to explore, perhaps take a stroll over to Shell or Belvoir Beach. Alternatively, join our naturalists on the lookout for wildflowers and birds.
Day 3 - Day 3 Tresco & St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly.
Spend the morning on traffic-free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is home to more than 20,000 species of plants from over 80 countries. Enjoy time to wander at your own pace along the paths, maybe visit the Valhalla collection of ship figureheads from ships wrecked on the islands or relax in the café. This afternoon we see the northernmost island of the group, St Martin’s, a small island community of just 120 residents. Enjoy time to explore independently, climb to one of the viewpoints for vistas over the islands and the offshore seal colonies, join one of our expedition team on a guided walk or make a visit to the local vineyard for a tasting.
Day 4 - Day 4 Lundy Island & Skomer Island, Wales.
We have scheduled a morning on Lundy, a remote island in the Bristol Channel. Although small, just three miles long by half a mile wide, its isolation has made it a home for a range of wildlife whilst there is also a clutch of listed buildings and monuments. The towering cliffs and rocky shoreline are a haven for migrating seabirds and Sika deer, red deer and Soay sheep can also be seen as we walk along its traffic-free lanes and paths. Spend the morning being as active as you wish, maybe explore the wide bays and coves by way of hanging valleys, see ancient burial chambers, climb the lighthouse or buy the island’s ‘puffin stamps’ at the shop. Be on deck this afternoon as we pass Skomer Island, one of the most important wildlife sites in Northern Europe. It is a marvellously peaceful and scenic island with fantastic birdlife including 6000 pairs of puffins and the elusive Manx shearwater and storm petrel. We may also see the seal colony hauled out over the rocks and weather permitting will explore by Zodiac.
Day 5 - Day 5 Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland.
After a morning at sea we arrive at Rathlin Island. Located just a few miles from the North Antrim coast, Rathlin Island has been settled for more than 6000 years. Today, there are only 80 or so souls, whereas before the famine there were 1200 inhabitants. History is everywhere with historic buildings and ruins. Enjoy a guided walk which will also take in the prolific sea bird life with astonishing numbers of auks, kittiwakes and grey seal. Also see the unique “upside down” Rathlin West Light, a great feat of engineering and one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. In the evening sail past the magnificent cliffs to the north of the island which are home to the largest sea bird colony in Ireland.
Day 6 - Day 6 Staffa & Iona, Scotland.
Awake this morning as we approach and anchor off Staffa, where the perpendicular rock face features an imposing series of black basalt columns, known as the Colonnade, which have been cut by the sea into cathedralesque caverns, most notably Fingal’s Cave. Weather permitting, we will use our Zodiacs to explore closer. We then plan to cruise the short distance to the Isle of Iona which has been occupied for thousands of years and has been a place of pilgrimage and Christian worship for several centuries. It was to this flat, Hebridean island that St Columba fled from Ireland in 563 and established a monastery. Here his followers were responsible for the conversion of much of pagan Scotland and Northern England. No less than 62 Scottish Kings are buried in the Abbey. Visit the Abbey or perhaps walk along the white sandy beaches or go in search of the corncrake amongst the irises.
Day 7 - Day 7 Canna & Loch Scavaig.
Strategically placed between the mountains of Rum and the Outer Hebrides, the island of Canna and its adjoining neighbour Sanday are bound together like some rare text that reveals over 60 million years of Hebridean geology and history. They have an amazingly rich archaeological landscape with remains dating to all periods of settled occupation in Scotland. Canna is run as a single farm and bird sanctuary by the National Trust for Scotland and enjoys the best harbour in the Small Isles, a hornshaped haven. The fertile soil and its diversity of habitats mean that the island has an incredibly rich plant life with 248 native flowering plants recorded. We will see Canna House and wander across grassy basalt plateaus to the 600 foot cliffs on the north shore. Over lunch we cross to the lovely Loch Scavaig on the island of Skye. Just beyond is the freshwater Loch Corruisk with its breathtakingly beautiful view over the Cuillins. This is great walking country and our expedition team will run a series of hikes for all interests. For those who prefer a less energetic afternoon our Zodiacs will explore the coast looking out for seals.
Day 8 - Day 8 St Kilda & Stac Lee.
We spend the morning at St Kilda, a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. Dominated by the highest cliffs and sea stacks in Britain, Hirta, St Kilda’s main island was occupied on and off for at least two thousand years, with the last 36 Gaelic speaking inhabitants evacuated at their own request in 1930. Immediately after the evacuation, the island was bought by the Marquess of Bute to protect the island’s thousands of seabirds including puffin and fulmars and in 1957 it was bequeathed to The National Trust for Scotland. St Kilda is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites with dual status reflecting its natural and cultural significance. The local ranger will join us on board before our expedition staff lead guided walks on the island. Later, we will cruise past one of the largest gannetries in the world at Stac Lee. The impressive stacs rise 170 metres from the sea and are home to up to 60,000 breeding pairs of northern gannet.
Day 9 - Day 9 Foula, Shetland Islands.
Spend the morning at sea as we sail to the Shetland Islands arriving on Foula, one of Britain’s most remote inhabited islands. Apart from a narrow coastal strip of more fertile croftland, Foula is an expanse of peat and moorland rising steeply to five dramatic peaks. In summer, Foula’s wildflowers provide a glorious burst of colour. Translated as “Bird Island” from Old Norse the island is a designated as a Special Protection Area for birds and is home to the world’s largest colony of Great skuas, known locally as bonxies, which compete fiercely with Arctic skuas for breeding territories. Join our expedition team on a series of walks on the island this afternoon.
Day 10 - Day 10 Lerwick.
From the Shetland capital, we will visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouses, a Medieval farmstead and the 16th century laird’s house. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to explore this historic port. Perhaps wander through its narrow stone lanes or maybe visit the excellent Shetland Museum, containing artefacts from shipwrecks and the whaling era. Tonight we will enjoy the company of local musicians on board.
Day 11 - Day 11 Fair Isle.
This morning we arrive at the remote island of Fair Isle. Located midway between the Shetland and Orkney islands, the tiny population of sixty or so islanders always extend us a warm welcome. Enjoy a walk across the island searching out the puffin slopes, visit the community hall for a cup of tea or maybe purchase some of the famous knitwear.
Day 12 - Day 12 Aberdeen.
Disembark the MS Island Sky after breakfast. Transfers will be provided to the Railway Station and Aberdeen Airport at a fixed time.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £5,995Magellan Deck Standard Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £6,195Columbus Deck Superior Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £6,495Marco Polo Deck Premium Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £6,995Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £7,295Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £7,495Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £7,995Magellan Deck Standard Single
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £8,195Columbus Deck Superior Single
12-07-202323-07-2023GBP £8,495Explorer Deck Island Suite

Inclusions

    • Guernsey & Herm, Channel Islands
    • Tresco & St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
    • Lundy Island & Skomer Island, Wales
    • Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
    • Staffa & Iona, Scotland
    • Canna & Loch Scavaig
    • Foula, Shetland Islands

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