Bluebird Cruises for 2018

Cruise around Scotland’s wonderful seascapes and discover long secluded sea lochs, dramatic mountains, endless sandy beaches, ever changing light and amazing wildlife. Enjoy short breaks, or a longer spell on board, experience the thrill of sailing, delicious cuisine with a focus on fresh shellfish and find time to relax and unwind away from the stresses of modern day life.

Our Skippered cruises run from March to October from ports and marinas in the Clyde, Mid Argyll, Oban, Mallaig and Gairloch.  Cruise dates are below but itineraries can be altered to suit guests’ requirements and could include magical places such as-

*Fingal’s cave, made famous by Mendelsons “Hebridean Overture”

*Sandaig, where Gavin Maxwell lived and was the author of “Ring of Bright Water”

*Balfours Bay, the temporary home of Robert Louis Stevenson which inspired him to write the classic novel “Kidnapped”

*Shark factory at the South end of Skye, subject of the book “Harpoon at a Venture” by Gavin Maxwell

*Eilean Donan Castle used for films, “Highlander”and “The World is not Enough”

Bluebird is an American built “J Boat” and has comfortable accommodation for up to five guests in quarters comprising two double cabins, (one en suite) and the main saloon which has two single berths. The yacht has a bright, cosy interior and is a fast cruiser, exciting to sail. Guests can choose to get involved in the day to day running of the yacht, helming, navigating, sail handling, or simply sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery. The cuisine aboard is a key feature- come sailing with us and enjoy superb healthy breakfasts, wonderful seafood lunches and delightful evening meals-using the best of Scotland’s fresh larder.



March 20th to 23rd (3 nights)

“Spring cruise to Portavadie”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

Enjoy an early start to the sailing season as we emerge from winters short days and long nights to summers long days and short nights .

Bluebird sails the Clyde estuary and through the enchanting Kyles of Bute into the more open waters of Loch Fyne to Portavadie Marina where guests can relax and shake off winter blues in the warm outside jacuzzi and infinity pool. On board menus might feature Scottish shellfish locally caught from the Gin clear waters of the area such as scallops, lobster, langustines, crab, oysters and mussels.


April 2nd to 5th (3 nights)

“Arran Distillery Cruise”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

The draw of Scottish single malt whisky  can be made a reality when Bluebird sails across the waters of the outer Clyde estuary to Arran where guests can enjoy a tour of the Arran distillery by an experienced guide whose passion and knowledge is inspirational.




April 10th to 13th (3 nights)

“Circumnavigation of the Cumbrae Islands”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

Sailing North West in early Spring weather can be a wonderful experience especially with a fair breeze and bright sunshine. Our experienced skipper will navigate Bluebird into the sheltered bay of Millport where shoreside exercise can be enjoyed by cycling round the island of Cumbrae while enjoying the island at close quarters with abundant wildlife.

When sailing down the West side of Little Cumbrae  Bluebird will pass the lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson, (a relative of Robert Louis Stevenson), in 1794 This lighthouse was the first to be built by the Stevenson family on Scotland’s West Coast.


 April 20th to 22nd (2 nights)

“SIPR training”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

Bluebird sails to Arran for hill running practise and pre race sail training for the Scottish Islands Peaks Race .

A short passage across to Arran where the fell runner can put passion into practice on the slopes of Goatfell and the surrounding mountains. The East and North West coasts of the island also offers good shelter in Loch Ranza, Brodick Bay , Holy Island and Lamlash with opportunities to drop runners off at one port and pick them up again at another.


May 4th to 7th (3 nights)

“May day bank holiday cruise to Portavadie”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

As daylight hours increase and air temperatures begin to rise Bluebird will sail North West through the enchanting Kyles of Bute and into Portavadie Marina which lies on the East side of Loch Fyne. Locally caught seafood can be enjoyed and prepared by your on board chef who delights in serving his guests with dishes such as, Fruits de Mer which includes, scallops, lobster, crab, langustines, oysters and mussels.

The scenery at the North end of Arran is dramatic and there could be an opportunity to visit the Arran distillery and learn how the amber gold whiskey is created.

May 18th to 20th (2 nights)

“Scottish Islands Peaks Race”
Departs: Oban
Returns: Troon

Bluebird joins the fleet of yachts in an adventure race for teams of sailors and fell runners on and around the most beautiful parts of the West Coast of Scotland.

Starting at Oban when the runners take part in a six mile land race around the town then sail to Salen on Mull to race on the mountain of Benmore . After an overnight sail to Craighouse on Jura the runners disembark to scale the heights of the Paps before heading of to Arran via the Mull of Kintyre and running Goat Fell on Arran . The final leg is across to the mainland at Troon where the race finishes.

Here is a report from a school teacher

Scottish Islands Peaks Race

Parents and supporters welcomed the yachts Bluebird and Damsis into Troon marina on Sunday 21st May after the Scottish Islands Peaks Race 2017.  These two Fettes boats were first and second in the youth class; and eighth and ninth in the overall results.  These are the best places we have ever achieved.

The race started in Oban on Friday with Mark Bushby piping to the crowds from the foredeck of the good ship Bluebird.  There was a nasty moment when the enemy catamaran Obedient collided with the good ship Damsis during the start, but the damage was not enough to deter the dauntless Captain Tom Watson and both boats set off for Mull.

After an afternoon’s sailing, both Fettes teams set off within a minute of the Glenalmond runners.  Mark Bushby and David Sinclair finished first, followed by Evan Li and Matthew McKenzie in second.  Bluebird was therefore in the lead… until Damsis sneaked ahead at the island of Fladda, when the tide turned against the fleet and the yachts had to drop anchor to avoid being swept backwards.  Captain Laurie Mill, leading from the front, got out the rubber boat and towed all 7.5 tons of Bluebird out of the tide while dolphins cavorted around us.

On Saturday morning, Bluebird regained the lead as the boats headed for Jura, but the good ship Damsis caught up and was about to overtake when Bluebird cut a corner by dodging around the back of the Small Isles to drop off the runners first.  James Axon and Ed Selwyn Sharpe remained just ahead of Georgii Polonskii and Mungo Milne on the pathless wilderness of Jura.

As the sun set over the hills of Jura, Bluebird beat into the night just ahead of Damsis. Both yachts slowed down as a vicious squall came out of the darkness, and by the time the fleet rounded the Mull of Kintyre, Damsis was once again ready to pounce.  Bluebird deployed their extra spinnaker sail and pulled ahead until the sail fell in the water as the wind increased on the approach to Arran.  Yet again team Damsis, having sailed slightly faster on the sailing leg, landed their runners just behind Bluebird.  Mark Bushby and David Sinclair, running for the second time, just held off the running challenge from Breagh McMillan and Stefanie Tucker.  Bluebird bobbed across the Firth of Clyde to finish in first place.

Finally, our skippers Tom Watson, captain of Damsis, and Laurie Mill, master of Bluebird, put huge amounts of skill and determination into the SIPR.  Conditions this year were not stormy, but they were very demanding as the weather toyed with the fleet.  These men undertook the responsibility of navigating their own boats through some pretty intricate voyages for more than 55 hours.

The SIPR is really an adult event. I was very proud of the way the Fettesian youths and adults rose to the challenge.  The SIPR is the sort of event that people remember for a very long time.  It is the sort of event that teaches people a great deal.


May 23rd to June 5th (13 nights)

“Cruising the wild Atlantic way”
Departs/Returns Clyde Marina, Ardrossan

Sit back, slow down, admire the view and experience North West Ireland’s coastline which has some of the most unspoilt cruising grounds in the world . From Ballycastle Marina to Rathlin Island ,(where Robert the Bruce in 1306 is said to have hidden in a cave here for 3 months), to the sheltered harbour of Port Rush . The maritime waters of North West Ireland including counties of of Donegal and Sligo can be experienced when Bluebird sails her coastline stopping at enchanting sheltered bays and enjoying the local seafood.


June 12th to 19th (7 nights)

“St. Kilda Challenge”
Departs/Returns Mallaig

Bluebird joins a fleet of other yachts taking part in an organised cruise in company to St Kilda starting on the East side of the Outer Hebrides where shore side entertainment can be enjoyed with like minded sailors. It is the aim of the organisers that all yachts of the flotilla have the opportunity to actually stop at Village Bay at St Kilda, drop anchor and be ferried ashore to explore the amazing abandoned cottages –  a truly unique place to visit .  The cruise begins with a two day passage to North Uist stopping at one of the many sheltered ports on the West side of Sky with its dramatic scenery and abundant wild life. Bluebird will then join the other yachts at Loch Maddy Marina before the cruise in company heads out to St Kilda.


June 22nd-29th (7 nights)

“Isle of Sky and Outer Hebrides cruises”
Departs/Returns Maillaig

This holiday cruise will explore coastal Sky with its disused shark factory and interesting walking opportunities in Southern Sky at Loch Scavaig which provides access to  Coruisk, at the very heart of the Cuillin. This is the most magnificent of all Scottish freshwater lochs. Whilst you are very likely to get wet feet from the boggy terrain, this is a small price to pay for the superlative mountain scenery along the way. A tour of the Talisker distillery in Loch Harport can be arranged as well as visiting castles like Dunvegan on Sky and Kisimul on Barra. The salt white sandy beaches at Western Barra are a sight to behold with romantic long sunsets below the horizon of the open Atlantic Ocean.


July 5th to 11th (6 nights)

“Small Isles Explorer”
Departs/Returns Mallaig

Sail round Ardnamurchan, the most Westerly point of Britain after an overnight stop at the colourful town of Tobermory on Mull which boasts its own whisky distillery and has some amazing shops. Then into the waters surrounding the “Champagne ” Isles which are Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna know better as the Small isles. You will enjoy spectacular views of the Culin Mountains on Sky and sightings of Minke whales are possible as well as different species of dolphins. Explore Eigg and walk to the famous “singing sands”. Rum has a large red deer population and also wild horses not to mention the bizarre Victorian mansion called Kinloch Castle.


July 16th to 24th (7 nights)

“Around Isle of Mull”
Departs/Returns Tayvallich

Sailing North West between Jura and Scarba where there is a hotspot for seafood. Mull is well worth visiting not just for its natural beauty and charm but for its amazing seafood like fresh mussels from Spelve , oysters from Croig and lobsters from Ulva. The Coastline has many sheltered harbours where peaceful nights at anchor can be enjoyed after a delicious dinner and a wee dram perhaps! Visiting Staffa and Fingal’s cave is on everyone’s bucket list as is going ashore at Iona to see the magnificent abbey. Exploring Erraid is interesting as it provided inspiration to Robert Louis Stevenson for his classic novel “Kidnapped”.


July 29th to August 5th (7 nights)

“Summer School Sailing”








August 9th to 16th (7 nights)

“Outer Hebrides Explorer”
Departs/Returns Oban

This cruise will explore the Outer Hebrides from Barra to The Uists including Eriskay where you can see an original bottle from the wreck of SS Politician which inspired the story “Whisky Galore”. There will be time for walks ashore and a chance to take photos of the salt white beaches en and a plethora of natural fauna and bird life.Be inspired by the stunning sea views and endless skyscapes or simply soak up the amazing Outer Hebridean atmosphere on one of the myriad of main and outlying islands. Then sailing East to the fertile Isle of Canna and to the more manacured waters of the Sound of Mull.


August 20th to 25th (5 nights)

“Inner Hebrides Explorer”
Departs/Returns Oban


Sailing through the Sound of Islay to Loch Tarbert on Jura which offers an interesting cruising area itself with several anchorages and interesting walks ashore. Colonsay could be the next stop and hiring bikes from the hotel to explore the island and the see the breakers at Killoran Beach and the famous gardens at Colonsay House. Across to the Ross of Mull where there are some great beaches and interesting history especially at Erraid used as a base when building Dubh Artach lighthouse in 1865.


August 30th to September 6th (7 nights)

“Gigha and Islay Explorer”
Departs/Returns Tayvallich


The short sail from Loch Sween to Gigha is often downwind and if needing to wait for a favourable tide Loch Na Keil is an ideal anchorage with its interesting early Christian chapel housing ancient stone carvings. Gigha has its own micro climate and often enjoys fine weather when on the mainland  it is poor. Bikes can be hired from the local shop to explore the island. Then West to Islay and the small island of Texa , inhabited only by wild goats and otters. The whisky distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are nearby on the Islay coast and provide ideal ideal overnight anchorages.


September 18th to 25th (7 nights)

“Jura Music Festival”
Departs/Returns Tayvallich


Exploring the McCormaig isles near Loch Sween and castle Sween takes you back into history to the Lord of the Isles period in 1376 and St. Columba period of 570. The medieval chapel, dedicated to St Cormac, is close to the anchorage in the northern part of Eileen Mor as well as a cross. The chapel is relatively well preserved although it was once used as an ale-house and illicit still. The saint was buried nearby. To the south beyond the two standing crosses, one of which is a replica, there is a cave which was an anchorite’s retreat. This deep, damp grotto has two 8th century crosses incised on its rock walls. Outside are the ruins of a second chapel proving the veneration in which the island was held.

 Sailing South West to Craighouse on Jura to enjoy live shoreside entertainment at the Jura Music Festival. The event attracts top Scottish musicians including folk bands . Ceilidh dancing and open microphone sessions can be enjoyed.


October 5th to 9th (4 nights)

“Passage to Clyde from Tayvallich”
Departs: Tayvallich
Returns: Clyde Marina


This five day passage cruise will include a stopover at Ardminish Bay on Gigha before heading South past Machrihanish Bay , famous for its links golf course. Round the headland on the South end of the Mull peninsula with stunning cliffs and sightings of marine life including seals, gannets or “Solan Goose” and great skuas or “Bonxies” then into Campbeltown. The “Sleeping Warrior” on the Northern skyline of Arran is impressive as is the modern marina at Portavadie in Loch Fyne. Then sailing through the enchanting waters of the Kyles of Bute with the history of the Vikings burning their ships after their defeat at Largs in 1263. The cruise will end at Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast.


The cruise itineraries may be changed due to adverse weather or the safety, comfort and interests of guests.

Prices from £145.00 to £165.00 per person per day and include all meals, snacks, douvet bedding, towels, wet weather clothing, fuel and berthing/mooring fees. Alcoholic drinks are not included, but are available onboard to buy at cost.








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