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
6
Greenock

Mull & Iona

Join us on this fascinating and engaging voyage in some of the most spectacular landscapes and wildlife Scotland has to offer. When time is not overflowing, it need not hinder your prospect to have the trip of a lifetime. This luxurious three-night mini cruise visits long forgotten bays in the tranquil waters steeped in a history of castles, clans and legends, this trip offers something for everyone and everything to most. Passing places, anchorages and ports Calgary Bay Cala Ghearraidh in Gaelic meaning Beach of the Meadow, to the north west of Mull is home to a rich variety of birdlife. It is an interesting little bay with an abundance of treasures to see, haunting ruins of stone forts and abandoned villages all surrounded by a shimmering white sandy beach and craggy headlands. Ulva and Gometra Gometra - rugged and unforgiving is east of the Treshnish Isles and just north of Staffa and its famous Fingal's Cave forms part of the Staffa Achipelageo. From here you can see the Carnaburgs, Gunna, Little Colonsay, South Uist, Ulva & Mull, Bec Bec, Dutchman's Cap, Colonsay, Islay, Staffa, Dubh ArtachIona, Maesgeir, Tiree, Erisgeir, Jura, Dioghlum, Skerryvore, Lunga, Fladda and Coll - a plethora of isles stretching away into the distance. In the evening listen to the common and grey seals singing and watch out for bottle nose dolphins frolicking in the waves as red deer and feral goats dive through the woodland trails. As we sail past the island look out for the killer whales which are often spotted further out to sea. Immediately to the East of Gometra is the island of Ulva, separated from it by a narrow inlet that can be crossed at high tide by a bridge and at low tide by the tidal beach. At its highest point Ulva rises 313m to the tip of Beinn Chreagach. As you approach the island, the first thing you notice are the huge basalt columns that look like they have been carved out of the stones itself. Ulva's name comes from the Old Norse "Ulffur" revealing a history of settlement by the Vikings, who first arrived in about 800AD and are thought to have named it Wolf Island. The island was inhabited long before the Vikings and a cave on the south side of the island has revealed traces of human occupation dating back 7,000 years with beautiful standing stones dating from 1500BC. From the coast you can see Sheila's Cottage which is a stunning traditional thatched cottage and serves as Ulva's museum and heritage centre. Eorsa Lying to the east of Ulva and nestled in Loch na Keal and once owned by the Abbey of Iona, it was used during World War I as a naval anchorage. The island is also the fictional setting for the 1952 novel Bridal Path which was written by Nigel Tranter. Inch Kenneth Named after St Kenneth who built a monastery on the island, Inch Kenneth lies just off the coast of Mull. Dominated by
3
Oban

Northern Hebrides Cruise

The Northern Hebrides is a long time family area for us, many a holiday has been spent frolicking with the wildlife in amongst the machair and the sandy dunes. It possesses old and traditional friendly pubs where everyone just wants to chat to you and make you feel welcome. Come and explore the edge of the world with us and experience what is known as Island time! Where time has stood still in so many ways as the world passes by. Island time is slow and easy and the Outer Hebrides encapsulates this. Immerse yourself within this culture of a proud and resourceful people. Where the lull of the Gael can still be heard both spoken as well as in song. A kind and friendly folk who are famous for their warm welcome and hospitality. Walk barefoot along the majestic white golden beaches which are home to rare seaweeds, flora and fauna. Walk among the ancient runes of bygone churches - world famous for their graveyards by the sea. You will fall in love with the distinctive quaint and traditional cottages which possess their own unique character. This cruise takes us around over a dozen islands - each with their own unique appeal and character and each one will leave you riveted by their outstanding beauty and appeal until that memory is surpassed by the next island we visit 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
10
Oban