30 pictures to encourage you to go to the Scottish Isles


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It was a sunny and scorching 30°C after I hopped off the airplane in Glasgow. I hadn’t packed for this. Scotland is just not meant to be this toasty.

My first journey again to Europe from New Zealand because the pandemic was lengthy however value it. I can’t imagine I used to fly this route on a regular basis with out batting a watch!

With winter behind me and my ft itching to embark on this new journey, I rapidly received over my jetlag earlier than boarding the Ocean Endeavour – my new house for the following few months. My dream of engaged on expedition ships was lastly occurring with Journey Canada for the northern summer season. I’d be engaged on seven journeys with them, journeying from Scotland to the Faroe Islands, Iceland to Greenland, and throughout Arctic Canada. 

Let’s go, guys!

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

The primary port of name for me was Glasgow, the place I’d hop onboard for his or her iconic Scotland Slowly expedition. We’d spend the following 11 days crusing round Scotland’s northern and outer islands, ending in Aberdeen.

I haven’t been to Scotland since 2008, after I was finding out overseas in Spain. My greatest pal was finding out in Edinburgh on the identical time, so I visited her for a protracted weekend. I solely bear in mind the pubs. 

Time for a revisit!

The Shetlands, Orkneys, and the Hebrides are a few of Scotland’s most stunning and distant locations, greatest skilled by boat. Touring to those wild islands by boat was an unimaginable technique to expertise Scotland over 11 days. 

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Of all their unimaginable journeys, the Scotland one is commonly the most well-liked. I’ve thought lots about this; curious as to why Scotland trumps polar bears and icebergs the scale of cities; it comes right down to coronary heart, I believe. Additionally, Journey Canada solely visits Scotland each different 12 months.

Many individuals onboard have Scottish ancestry, and lots of Scots who left got here from these northern locations and distant islands. Additionally, this journey takes you to locations that aren’t precisely simple or fast to go to by yourself. To get to those Scottish Isles requires flights and ferries repeatedly. Isn’t it less expensive and easier to go by ship? It’s. 

I’ve a lot extra to share from my adventures across the Scottish Isles, however to start, listed here are 30 of my favourite pictures from the journey. Take pleasure in!

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Islay and Bowmore

Islay was the primary place we referred to as into after departing Glasgow on the Scotland Slowly journey with Journey Canada. Pronounced “eye-lah.” Referred to as the Queen of the Hebrides, Islay is the southernmost island within the Inside Hebrides. The Hebrides are an archipelago off the west coast of the Scottish mainland: Inside and Outer.

I’m going to be trustworthy right here; I hadn’t heard of the Hebrides within the Scottish Isles earlier than this journey. Or if I had, it had lengthy been forgotten. 

House to stunning coastlines, nice seafood, thriving textiles, and many wildlife, Islay is known for one factor about all: whisky. House to 9 iconic distilleries, the long-lasting peaty, smokey style makes Islay world-famous. The nostalgic salty seaside air mixed with the peat bogs crafts a taste not like wherever else. 

Bowmore is the primary hub of Islay, with a lot to see and do. With one of many few spherical church buildings on the planet, nice distilleries, and fab buying, it was simple to spend a day right here. 

Scottish Isles

Staffa 

Staffa is a distant uninhabited island within the Hebrides that has change into iconic for its unimaginable rock formations, basalt columns, and caves. In case you’ve been to the Large’s Causeway in Northern Eire, it’s the identical. 

Well-known naturalist and botanist, Sir Joseph Banks wrote about Staffa after visiting on his technique to Iceland. Banks is a determine I do know properly since he was the botanist onboard Captain Cook dinner’s first journey to New Zealand and since he turned Kew Gardens into the main botanical backyard on the planet (good day, fellow houseplant fams). He renamed the primary sea cavern Fingal’s Cave, resulting in Staffa changing into more and more well-known. Mendelssohn even featured it in his Hebrides Overture after visiting within the early nineteenth century. 

We hopped within the zodiacs from the ship close to Staffa and went on our personal little tour across the island. It was wild and exquisite, and we noticed many seabirds, together with shags, razorbills, and ALL THE PUFFINS.

Scottish Isles

Isle of Iona

As a large nerd with a medieval historical past diploma, visiting Iona was an enormous deal. Whereas Iona is a small island, it was the beating coronary heart of Gaelic monasticism for hundreds of years. The Iona Abbey is world-famous, based by Irish St. Columba, and was the middle of Christianity, spreading by way of Scotland within the sixth century. I’m not non secular or something, however in the event you’re within the Darkish Ages in Britain, it’s the core theme. 

Iona is tiny however mighty, clocking in at solely three miles lengthy. With sandy blue seashores, stunning views, and loads of epic historical past makes for an incredible journey. 

It helped that it was scorching and sunny for a lot of the go to, so heat that individuals went swimming.

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

The Isle of Skye

If I needed to hanker a guess, I’d say that Skye is essentially the most iconic of the entire Scottish Isles, not less than for my fellow millennials. What’s up, Instagrammers!

Skye is understood for its rugged landscapes and wonderful views and for being plastered throughout Instagram in recent times. It was overcast and nonetheless once we landed at Skye. It was one of many solely days it rained whereas we have been at sea, and even then, it was only a sprinkle. Huge gloomy clouds made the spikey inexperienced mountain pop in colour much more. How is it this inexperienced?

The moody skies by some means made the day much more stunning. I really like experiencing locations within the rain.

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Isle of Lewis and Harris and Stornoway

One other of the long-lasting Scottish Isles that hadn’t been on my radar was Lewis and Harris. It was my favourite day of the entire journey. What a shock. The Isle of Lewis and Harris is a part of the Outer Hebrides, and whereas it feels like two distinct islands, it’s truly only one island referred to as Lewis and Harris. The northern two-thirds is Lewis, and the southern third is Harris. And sure, it’s house to the long-lasting Harris Tweed.

On days like this, we frequently have break up days on board. Half the ship will get free time in port; right here it was, Stornoway, the biggest city. After which the opposite half go on completely different excursions. Then we swap midway by way of the day. The ship is small, with lower than 200 passengers on board, so it by no means feels crowded, even in these small cities.

One thing additionally I beloved about Journey Canada was that they actually inspired everybody to spend their {dollars} domestically in all places we visited. As somebody who owns a small retail enterprise in a port city the place cruise ships at all times name in (my store, NODE in Lyttelton), I can say how a lot it means when vacationers cease in and store. 

Stornoway was ridiculously charming, the proper dimension city to discover with a number of cute retailers and eateries. Then, in a while, we went out and visited a number of the unimaginable websites across the island – Dun Carloway Broch, the Calanais Standing Stones, and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village.

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

The Shetland Islands and Foula

Did somebody say Shetland ponies?!

Visiting Shetland was excessive on my record of dream locations to go to in Scotland, and I used to be so stoked once we lastly arrived. Since we have been on an expedition ship, the primary place we referred to as in was Foula. Not a straightforward place to get to, Foula is essentially the most remotely inhabited island within the UK: inhabitants 30. Pony inhabitants: heaps.

Twenty miles from the mainland, Foula is house to many seabirds and big seacliffs. It’s a lovely and wild place, with large open landscapes sprawling throughout the peat moors. It was considered one of my favourite stops on the journey, particularly attending to spend time with the pleasant ponies.

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Honest Isle in Shetland

One other unimaginable and distant island is Honest Isle. This Scottish Isle sits midway between Shetland and Orkney. The Nationwide Belief of Scotland has owned Honest Isle since 1954.

Solely about 60 individuals name Honest Isle house. The primary drawcard is that it’s a vital breeding web site for our most beloved seabirds. Chook nerds unite!

We spent hours in zodiacs cruising alongside the seacliffs of Honest Isle, marveling on the sheer variety of birds whereas equally praying to not get shat on. It was value it! Puffins!

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

The Orkney Islands and Kirkwall

Among the greatest prehistoric websites in Europe could be discovered on Orkney. It was additionally one other considered one of my favourite spots to go to. I used to be fortunate to go to twice: on the Scotland Slowly journey and once more on the North Atlantic Saga

Orkney felt particular. You may inform individuals are proud to be from right here, and there’s typically discuss Orkney’s independence, with it being so completely different from the remainder of Scotland and the UK. As an American, I’ll at all times help the underdog. 

We had heaps of time in Kirkwall, the primary city, and explored iconic websites like Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar. The Orkney Islands sit excessive in my recollections of beloved experiences in Scotland. I can’t wait to return once more sooner or later!

Have you ever been to any of those Scottish Isles? Are they locations you’re eager to go to by ship? Share!

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Scottish Isles

Many due to Journey Canada for internet hosting me in Scotland – like at all times, I’m protecting it actual – all opinions are my very own like you may count on much less from me!



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