Caves, Clans & Castles

Step back in time with this captivating six-night cruise allowing you to not only enjoy breath-taking scenery, but also take in some of the architectural, geological and historical gems the River Clyde has to offer. The area’s long and often turbulent past, brings together a rich tapestry of medieval castles and grand mansions, some of which are still family homes today. From our berth in Greenock, Spirit of Fortitude sails along the Firth of Clyde past the ancient Viking battle scene of Largs before visiting secret religious and historical caves. We visit ancient ruins of castles, world famous film locations and modern day stately homes, all whilst enjoying the very best of hospitality, comfort and luxury. Find Shakespearean treasures, Bronze Age artefacts and tales of bloody history at every turn, all whilst surrounded by the very best scenery that Scotland has to offer. Passing places, anchorages and ports Greenock From its humble beginnings as a fishing village in the 15th Century, Greenock and its access to the River Clyde made it an important location for servicing the busy city of Glasgow until the 1800s and then became the shipbuilding capital of the world. Set on steep slopes, it has magnificent views across the firth of Clyde to the mountains beyond. Arran Full of beautiful coastlines, rolling hills, woodlands and mountainous terrain, this most southerly Scottish Isle is just 19 miles long by 10 miles wide but offers some stunning seascape vistas at every turn. Easily described as a miniature Scotland due to the variety of terrain, as you traverse the island you will feel that you are miles away from the hustle of everyday life. It is home to a modern but popular distillery and the Isle produces its own soaps and lotions with a visitor centre where you can see how it is done. Full of local artisans, we source much of our menu from here. The island is also home to the Kings Caves – a series of waterfront caves carved out of the sandstone and thought to be where Robert the Bruce had his famous encounter with the spider. Skelmorlie Castle With parts of the building dating back to the 15th century, it is a phenomenal building with more than 20 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, nine kitchens and 14 acres of gardens. Originally it belonged to the Earls of Eglinton, who were responsible for leading the Montgomery clan in support of Mary Queen of Scots in battle. Not far from the castle is a 100-foot-high artificial mound, which is said to have been the site of ancient Sun and serpent worship. Great Cumbrae Around the 7th century, legend tells that St Mirin returned to Cumbrae from Ireland and following the example of St Patrick, rid the island of snakes. To this day the island remains snake free! The Cathedral of the Isles in Millport, is Britain’s smallest Cathedral and dates from 1851 and is thought to be built on the spot where St Mirin used to preach to
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Greenock

Majestic Skye & the Inner Hebrides

A feast for the eyes and a journey for the soul - you can’t help but enjoy our breath taking journey cruising the Isle of Skye and the Inner Hebrides. Full of majestic and mystical sights bathed in historical folklore with its ancient structures gifted by man and nature. Unimaginable views are in abundance on this cruise. The Isle of Skye is home to a multitude of ancient castles, fairy wishing pools as well as the Old Man of Storr, featured in the iconic scene from the movie Prometheus. All of which is simply enhanced by the multitude of rare birds and wildlife. The Inner Hebrides and the islands most commonly known as the Small Isles provide an amazing array of wildlife and secret little bays awash with the spirit of Scotland. Passing places, anchorages and ports Oban Our gateway to the highlands and islands ……. Historically a fishing and trading village until the Victorian steamers started arriving in larger numbers to this pretty village, Oban grew into a town as it became a main stopping off point for the Western Isles. Set in a natural bay, it is largely protected from wilder weather and has some beautiful seaside shops to visit. At the top of the hill behind the bay sits McCaig's Tower or the Folly as it is better known. Built in 1902, McCaig built the colosseum style structure as a lasting testament to his family and also to provide work for the local tradesmen. Despite it being a steep walk to the top, the views are spectacular. Oban also boasts a cathedral, castle and golf course and has a rich culture in traditional Scottish music and this is evident with its many festivals. The fresh seafood found here is a must, it is literally from sea to plate! Tobermory A picture perfect setting of coloured buildings down to the pier surrounded by wooded hills around the bay up to the lighthouse with its playful otters among the rocks. At the bottom of the bay is thought to remain the wreck of a Spanish galleon which fled the English fleet when she anchored in Tobermory to take on provisions. Following a dispute over payment the ship caught fire which caused the gunpowder to explode. She was supposed to have been carrying millions of gold coins when she went to the bottom but no-one has ever managed to find any significant treasure. Tobermory also has its very own chocolate factory. Sanna Bay Just north of the tip of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula lies Sanna, famed for its beaches, rocks and dunes that make this one of the prettiest coasts in Scotland. Remote and beautiful, Sanna contains some of the most unusual landscapes in Scotland, a circular heather strewn plain surrounded by a ring of steep and well defined rock hills, the crater of a long extinct volcano. The surrounding views of the water offer both a bright light turquoise or deep dark hues of blue depending on whether the bed
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Oban

Mythical Loch Ness & The Caledonian Canal

Spirit of Fortitude is one of the largest vessels to be able to transit the Caledonian Canal, watch in awe as she squeezes through the engineering marvel that is this Thomas Telford canal in this interesting and unique six night cruise, with two options - Oban to Inverness or Inverness to Oban. This voyage encompasses scenes of murders, monsters, castles, lochs and some of the most stunning landscapes you could ever wish to see. Starting from Oban, this journey encompasses the beautiful sea lochs of Loch Linnhe, Loch Ness and the Great Glen as well as sixty miles of the Caledonian Canal with its perfectly engineered locks. There is something for everyone on this cruise from exploration activities, (cycling & canoeing or a cable car up the side of Aonach Mor and para gliding) visits to ancient monuments and numerous sites of historical interest, gardens and castles, or sitting back soaking up the wildlife and stunning scenery created by the Great Glen Fault, that runs through Loch Linnhe and the Firth of Lorne and the great glen to Inverness. Keep an eye out for that rare glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster on Loch Ness! Passing places, anchorages and ports Oban Our gateway to the highlands and islands ……. Historically a fishing and trading village until the Victorian steamers started arriving in larger numbers to this pretty village, Oban grew into a town as it became a main stopping off point for the Western Isles. Set in a natural bay, it is largely protected from wilder weather and has some beautiful seaside shops to visit. At the top of the hill behind the bay sits McCaig's Tower or the Folly as it is better known. Built in 1902, McCaig built the colosseum style structure as a lasting testament to his family and also to provide work for the local tradesmen. Despite it being a steep walk to the top, the views are spectacular. Oban also boasts a cathedral, castle and a golf course and has a rich culture in traditional Scottish music and this is evident with its many festivals. Here, fresh seafood is a must, it is literally from sea to plate and is served up beautifully by our on-board chef. Ladys Rock At the entrance to the Sound of Mull sits Eilean Musdale and the lighthouse that bears her name. Built in 1833 by Robert Stevenson – the grandfather of the acclaimed writer Robert Louis Stevenson , the lighthouse replaced a tall standing stone that had sat there for centuries. Just southwest is Lady’s Rock, where Lachlan Maclean left his wife to die in 1527. Having decided to murder her, he rowed the unfortunate Lady Catherine out to the island to leave her to die. The very morning after, he looked out from his home at Duart Castle and seeing no sign of life and assuming that she was dead – he sent a message to his deceased wife’s brother the Earl of Argyll at Inveraray Castle –
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Oban

The Arisaig Route

When I get the urge to set sail, it is Arisaig and the famous and magical hues of greens and blue waters that I yearn for. The combination of islands, sheltered bays, overhanging cliffs and surrounding wildlife automatically make me feel closer to the beautiful nature of Scotland and brings an immediate feeling of relief, relaxation and tranquillity. Sailing out past the majestic beauty of Mull towards the "safe place" of Arisaig where the Hollywood blockbuster "Local Hero" was filmed, we pass what feel like long forgotten coves, beguiling bays and castles, hidden islands and sandy beaches. Sea birds soar above your head and dolphins and seals vie for your attention. We visit tranquil villages where your welcome is eternal and make our way to Loch Nevis with its glass clear reflections on mirrored lochs give you time to relax and marvel at the magnificence of the West Coast. Returning to Oban, we pass Eigg and Muck before sailing past the wild retreat of Coll with maybe a sight of the Basking Sharks that inhabit these waters. Sailing around Mull leads us past the gorgeous Isle of Iona - our very own Holy Isle before passing the uninhabited Garvellachs or Rough Islands which look to be cut from jewelled glass and decorated with precious gems of wild flowers. Relaxation in five-star luxury has never been this magical. Passing places, anchorages and ports Oban Our gateway to the highlands and islands ……. Historically a fishing and trading village until the Victorian steamers started arriving in larger numbers to this pretty village, Oban grew into a town as it became a main stopping off point for the Western Isles. Set in a natural bay, it is largely protected from wilder weather and has some beautiful seaside shops to visit. At the top of the hill behind the bay sits McCaig's Tower or the Folly as it is better known. Built in 1902, McCaig built the colosseum style structure as a lasting testament to his family and also to provide work for the local tradesmen. Despite it being a steep walk to the top, the views are spectacular. Oban also boasts a cathedral, castle and a golf course and has a rich culture in traditional Scottish music and this is evident with its many festivals. The fresh seafood is a must; it is literally from sea to plate! Tobermory The brightly coloured houses in the distance are immediately recognised by eager pre-schoolers as the quaint village of the BBC programme Balamory. If looking for PC Plum and Suzie Sweet is not your thing, then Tobermory still has a plethora of delights to offer. A picture perfect setting of coloured buildings down to the pier surrounded by wooded hills around the bay up to the lighthouse with its playful otters among the rocks. At the bottom of the bay is thought to remain the wreck of a Spanish galleon which fled the English fleet when she anchored in Tobermory to take on provisions. Following
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Oban

The Old Masters

On this Old Masters cruise, the golfers on board have an opportunity to play golf at up to six of the world’s most famous golf links, including three of the nine courses in The Open Championship rotation, Turnberry, Royal Troon and Royal Portrush, where The Open Championship was played for the only time outside of Scotland or England. You will also be able to enjoy rounds at up to three other classics, Machrihanish, Machrihanish Dunes and the Machrie on Islay with its claim to fame of hosting its own ‘Open Championship’ of 1901 with the highest prize of any Open competition at that time of £100. These courses have stood the test of time, and are consistently ranked in the top 100 in the world year after year. It is sure to be a golfers dream to take on the challenge of The Old Masters. The Royal Scottish Shipping Line's easy access to these otherwise hard-to-reach links means you can play this impressive range of courses without the hassles of packing, unpacking and changing hotels, and retire in the evening after a daunting yet exhilarating round of golf with a wee dram or two in our stunning Whisky Viewing Room as our luxury super yacht acts as your chariot to the next stunning course. Golf and touring passengers alike are bound for a memorable journey, for this is sure to appeal to not just golfers, with visits to stunning destinations like the Giants Causeway in Antrim. Regardless of how much golf your perfect vacation includes, we have daily tours available that delight and enrich your senses. Whether you play world-renowned courses, or go exploring ancient villages with our experienced guides, shopping on your own or watching the best in the world compete, you will savour each day. Along this cruise we are happy to arrange a distillery visit for those who wish! Passing places, anchorages and ports Royal Troon With two spectacular courses, Royal Troon is a must for any golf enthusiast. Lying at the end of a gorgeous stretch of Ayrshire coastline, golf has been played here long before the club was founded in 1878. Awarded Royal status in its centennial year of 1978, it has hosted the Open Championship 8 times and will host it again this year. The Old Course is thought to be one of the greatest in Scotland and with a mixture of the wind and terrain - it is a challenging one. Take time to reminisce in the history of players past who have found glory here and take your chances on the famous "Postage Stamp" hole surely your best chance for a hole in one on a Championship course! The alternate course - The Portland Course was originally designed by William Fernie who won the Open in 1883 before being redesigned in the 1920's by Dr Alister MacKensie. Slightly more forgiving than The Old Course, the Portland Course takes you through sheltered holes on a slightly shorter course. Turnberry Possibly the most scenic
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Greenock

The Spirit of the Sea

It is impossible to separate the thought of Scotland from its Whisky - it is one of our greatest exports and our passion. On this voyage, we truly introduce you to the Scottish "Water of Life" and this luxury cruise is a true taster of the very best that the highlands and Islands of this dramatic part of Scotland has to offer. Starting in Oban, we first visit the Oban Distillery for a taste of the delights to come. Departing from here we pass the natural marvel that is the Coryvrekkan whirlpool before arriving at Islay - the whisky isle - home to eight Scottish distilleries. After some thorough tasting from your choice of distilleries, we pass the Ardmore Islands where you can continue to sample your favourites in the luxury of our Whisky Viewing Room whilst watching the seals hide amongst this archipelago of small islands. We sail onwards to Jura, home of the Isle of Jura single malt whisky and then on past the jewel-like Garvellachs before heading to Corpach and the Ben Nevis Distillery. On our return to Oban, we pass the beautiful Shian Bay, before returning on slightly wobbly sea legs after truly sampling the Spirit of the Sea. The Whisky cruise is taken at a slow and leisurely pace - just like a fine whisky these things cannot be rushed. Passing places, anchorages and ports Oban Our gateway to the highlands and islands ……. Historically a fishing and trading village until the Victorian steamers started arriving in larger numbers to this pretty village, Oban grew into a town as it became a main stopping off point for the Western Isles. Oban Distillery One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, it is also one of the smallest with just two pot stills - yet still produces some spectacular flavours. Established in 1794 by the brother John and Hugh Stevenson, the distillery actually predates the town. Refurbished in the 1890's, there has been little change to the buildings and it still retains its unique charm. The tours are informative and you get to witness first-hand the traditional craftsmanship at work as they produce the whisky before enjoying a complimentary dram or two of the Oban 14-year-old West Highland Malt. Coryvrekkan whirlpool Between the islands of Jura and Scarba hides one of the most dangerous stretches of water around the British Isles. Fear not, as we journey to the Corryvreckan Whirlpool - the third largest in the world. Watch in amazement as the gravitational effect of the sun and moon create a natural phenomenon. During high tides, listen to the roar and watch waves that can reach 9 metres high cause more water to flow in this area than passes out of the Amazon River in a day. Spectacular, breath-taking and a sight that will stay with you forever. Islay Islay the “Whisky Isle” most southerly of the western isles, Islay is known around the world as home to eight Scottish whisky distilleries including three of the island's
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Oban