Date published: 05 April 2017
Whether you’re skirting the swirling, scowling eye of one of the largest whirlpools on the planet, watching the sunset dip and dance over ancient standing stones, or monster hunting on the world’s most famous body of water, nothing compares to Scotland for #LegendarySailing.
It’s a land of myths and majesty where legends can be found all around you. They’re in the stones of its towering, crumbling castles; within the deep, dark waters of its lochs; and on the banks of its canals first carved from the rugged rock centuries ago.
Looking to write your own legend? We’ve picked out some incredible experiences that can only be found on Scotland’s spectacular waters and stunning shores. Create your own unforgettable moments as you sail Scotland and make sure you share them with us on social media by tagging them with #LegendarySailing or uploading them to our gallery!
Stepping inside Smoo Cave, Durness
Its name might be taken from the Old Norse for ‘hiding place,’ but the only thing this dramatic, spectacular sea cave in Sutherland is concealing is an experience unlike any other - epic in every sense of the word.
Skirting the eye of the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, Argyll
Sailing around the swirling, scowling vortex of the Corryvreckan (one of the largest permanent whirlpools on earth) as it roars at the heavens? Now that’s #LegendarySailing!
Catching a sunset at the Callanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
5,000-years-old and more than a little magical, the Calanais Standing Stones predate Stonehenge and have entranced visitors and baffled archaeologists for centuries. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never forget seeing the stones silhouetted against a burning Scottish sunset.
Monster hunting on Loch Ness, Highlands
(c) John G Moore
Legendary Loch Ness – home of myths, monsters, and majesty. Take to its iconic waters to explore breathtaking scenery and the on-going mystery of its hide and seek grand champion. After all, everyone needs that one tale of what they think they saw in its inky blue waters…
Dolphin spotting on the Moray Firth, Highlands
One of the best places in Europe to see dolphins in the wild, the marvellous Moray Firth is estimated to be home to more than 130 of the playful creatures. Set sail for a magical experience as you watch them frolic in this stunning ocean inlet.
Draining a dram at on the legendary islands of Jura and Islay, Inner Hebrides
A land of soaring mountains and rugged coasts, Jura is wild, untamed and utterly unforgettable. Sampling a dram of whisky in the island’s titular distillery is the perfect way to mark the legendary experience of sailing around the iconic island.
Finding out the secrets of Fingal’s Cave, Isle of Staffa
Unique, haunting, and utterly unforgettable – setting foot in Fingal’s Cave, a 227-foot cavern comprised entirely of hexagonal stone, is unlike any other experience on the planet. Sir Walter Scott called the cave “one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld” but this is one wonder you need to see for yourself.
Diving the depths of Scapa Flow, Orkney
(c) Orkney Marinas Limited
Scotland’s legendary experiences aren’t just confined to the surface – there’s magic beneath the waves, too. Explore the depths of Orkney’s Scapa Flow to discover the treasure trove of shipwrecks, wildlife and more that make this beautiful anchorage one of the world’s top diving destinations.
Exploring the lost world of St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
(c) Eda Fransen Sailing
Getting to St Kilda isn’t easy – but it’s more than worth it. This isolated archipelago is home to soaring sea cliffs, abandoned villages, unforgettable landscapes – and the largest colony of puffins in Europe. Set sail to what feels like the edge of the world and explore its secrets.
Cantering up to The Kelpies, Grangemouth
(c) Peter Sandground
Pay a visit to the eastern gateway of the Forth & Clyde Canal and you’ll sail in the shadow of The Kelpies – the world’s largest equine sculptures. Clad in almost 1000 shimmering steel panels, standing the same height as six and a half double decker buses, and weighing more than 600 tonnes, they’ll take your breath away!
Climbing Neptune’s Staircase, Highlands
(c) Peter Sandground
Set sail for a unique experience on the incomparable Caledonian Canal and follow in the footsteps of the Gods as you climb Neptune’s Staircase – the longest lock flight in Britain – in the shadow of mighty Ben Nevis.
Sinking your toes into Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris
No cruise to the Outer Hebrides is complete without a visit to South Harris’ spectacular Luskentyre Sands – although you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d sailed into the Caribbean! Miles of blindingly white sands, crystal-clear turquoise water – it’s like a little Hebridean slice of Barbados!
Channeling your inner Viking at Up Helly Aa, Shetland Islands
Flaming torches, winged helmets and thundering drums – you’ve never been to a party like Up Helly Aa, the largest Viking fire festival in Europe. Set sail for the stunning Shetlands and find a celebration that’ll burn itself forever in your memory.
Paying a visit to Portree, Isle of Skye
Portree in Gaelic translates to ‘King’s Port’ – and you can certainly see why. Set sail for Skye’s pretty capital, known the world over for its iconic harbour overlooked by a colourful array of houses, and discover what might just be the most beautiful town in Scotland.
Cruising through the Crinan Canal, Argyll
(c) Peter Sandground
Meandering through the ancient coastal kingdom known as ‘Dalriada’ in the heart of Argyll & Bute, the 200-year-old Crinan Canal might be just nine miles long but it features some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife to be found anywhere in Scotland. A single visit is all it’ll take for you to see why it’s known as ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut.’
Capturing the castle, Edinburgh
Built on the craggy summit of an extinct volcano, Scotland’s most famous castle is known the world over and played a pivotal role in the history of the nation – it’s no surprise there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Explore the stories of the kings enthroned upon the Stone of Destiny; hear your footsteps echo in the city’s oldest building, St Margaret’s Chapel; or cover your ears as the iconic one o’clock gun blasts over the city. Wahtever you choose, this is a city alive with magic and filled from the caverns beneath its cobbles to the tops of its towers with myths and legends. Berth up, make your way ashore, and take it all in.
Grab your Sail Scotland Brochure and start planning your adventure now!
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