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Sailing Scotland's secrets

Date published: 07 April 2018

Scotland is the home of #LegendarySailing. It’s the only place on Earth where you can skirt the swirling, scowling eye of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, watch the sunset dip and dance over the ancient Calanais standing stones, or go monster hunting on the deep, dark waters of Loch Ness.

But our incredible country is also home to some lesser-known wonders – some secret spots and experiences that, although not famous the world-over, still offer something truly magical. Whether you’re dipping your toes (briefly) in one of its last-remaining outdoor swimming pools, conquering one of its last truly wild places, or following in footsteps that are millennia old, these incredible experiences can only be found when you #SailScotland!

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!

Conquer Loch Torridon

Wester Ross

Mighty sea lochs and dramatic, desolate peaks - Torridon is an ancient and enchanting wilderness of deep, dark water and soaring stone. Mooring up in Loch Torridon, in the shadow of the seemingly impenetrable peaks of Beinn Alligin (Jewelled Hill in Gaelic) and Liatach (The Grey One) is a humbling experience – but donning your hiking boots and conquering them is the stuff legends are made of.

Looking to undertake some Munro bagging by boat? Grab our guide!

Explore Scotland’s last true wilderness

Knoydart

Knoydart – a peninsula over the Sound of Sleat – is often called Scotland’s last true wilderness. Only accessible by boot or boat, exploring this rugged, sprawling land of soaring summits and deep, dark sea lochs is an almost religious experience.

This is a world where time is told by sunlight and shadow rather than the ticking of clocks. Without paved roads, without Wi-Fi, and without any other distractions, there’s no better place to lose yourself in the epic, eerie, thrilling, enchanting and utterly unforgettable landscapes of Scotland’s wild places. 

Follow the Staffin Bay dinosaur footprints

Isle of Skye

Skye is an island alive with magic. The largest of the Inner Hebrides, it’s home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes. From the Old Man of Storr to the Quiraing and the Cuillin mountain range, Skye offers a plethora of sights to enthral the senses – and twist the tongue – but it’s also one of the few places in Scotland you can follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs!

Head for Staffin Bay on the north of the island and step back in time to when a family of Ornithopods plodded along the sands some 165 million years ago!

See the sun slink low over Castle Stalker

Argyll

Scotland is home to some incredible castles and, at first glance, Castle Stalker – named from the Gaelic ‘Stalcaire’ meaning hunter or falconer – is nothing compared to Edinburgh or Eilean Donan.  But when the sun begins to slink down over the horizon, this rugged fort in the mouth of Loch Laich comes alive. Castle Stalker is home to some of the most spectacular sunsets to be found in Scotland – seeing its stout silhouette set against a burning sky will stay with you for a lifetime.

(c) John Thow

Take a bite of the Dunmore Pineapple

Falkirk

In Dunmore Park, less than a mile from the River Forth, stands a mighty stone pineapple. Yes, really…

Often ranked as "the most bizarre building in Scotland,” the Dunmore Pineapple is a "folly" - a building built primarily for its decoration. Built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse where he could appreciate the views from his estate, the 45-foot-tall stone fruit has amazed and amused visitors for centuries. Only in Scotland...

Seek out the secrets of Skara Brae

Orkney
Before the pyramids were raised against the Egyptian sky, before the first rock was laid at Stonehenge, the people of Skara Brae lived on Orkney. Uncovered by a wild storm in 1850, the ancient village is the best-preserved Neolithic village in northern Europe and one of Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Set sail and see the world as it was more than 5,000 years ago.

Take a dip in Gourock Pool

Goruock

Outdoor pools in Scotland. Yes - you read that right. As unlikely as it seems, they do exist, and Gourock Pool – opened in 1909 – is one of the last surviving examples. Possibly because it’s heated. Head along on a Wednesday for the ever-popular midnight swimming sessions and take a unique dip beneath the stars.

(c) VisitScotland

Peek at the puffins of St Kilda

Outer Hebrides

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.

(c) Mike Beard