The itinerary may be subject to change to suit weather conditions on the day.
Day 1 – Pickup from Mallaig – Doune
We meet in Mallaig which can be reached by car or train via the spectacular West Highland Railway line. Journey time from Glasgow, with a break, is about four hours. We meet on the pier at 1750 and this coincides with the arrival of the train. Once everyone has arrived, we will cross to the Knoydart peninsula – a journey which take around 20 minutes. After a short briefing we will reconvene for dinner in the Doune Dining Room.
Day 2 – Muck; Gallanach Bay
After breakfast, we board Mary Doune around 0900 and head south-west to the island of Muck. Our anchorage is at Gallanach Bay where coral sands are backed by rocky terraces on which a large colony of common seals reside. The bird life in May is prolific with oystercatchers, ringed plover, dunlin and common gulls defending their territories. We head up and onto a higher headland which has spectacular views overlooking Rum, Eigg, and Skye. We return over Muck’s single-track road which takes us to the Tea Shop in Port Mòr where refreshments are available before our departure back to Doune.
Day 3 – Loch Hourn; Eilean Rarsaidh; Runival
As we enter the fjord of Loch Hourn, the view north is dominated by Beinn Sgritheall – one of the steepest mountains in Scotland. Our first location is Eilean Rarsaidh which in May is densely covered in bluebells and wild garlic. After returning to the boat, we continue up past Ladhar Bheinn and Barrisdale Bay to arrive at a wild location where stands of Scots pine cover the lower slopes of the mountains. Otters are often seen hunting here in the shallows.
Day 4 – Eigg; The Bay of Laig
Heading out in a south-westerly direction today, we travel down the east coast of Eigg and arrive at the pier, one hour later. Here we transfer into a mini-bus and are driven to the Bay of Laig on the eastern side of the island. It is a spectacular location with a huge sweeping sandy beach and is set against a backdrop of the Rum Cuillin rising vertically from the sea to over 800m. Two distinct areas provide endless photographic opportunities: the coral sand beach and the rocky shoreline where cannonball concretions stand exposed on the sandstone creating bold spherical shapes.
Day 5 – Skye; Loch Eishort; Boreraig
Rounding the Point of Sleat – the most southerly point on Skye, we head across to Loch Eishort where the full Cuillin Ridge rises before us. Our destination today is to the former crofting township of Boreraig, an isolated spot on the shores of Loch Eishort. It was from here in 1853 that Lord MacDonald forcibly evicted 120 men, women and children, to foreign lands. Ammonites and other fossils can be seen in the limestone rocks along the shoreline.
Day 6 – Rum; Guirdil; Bagh Rubha a’ Mhoil Ruaidh
Rum’s rugged coastline is a landscape of contrasts. From towering sandstone cliffs to secluded sandy beaches, its underlying geology has created some fantastic photographic locations. At Guirdil, the sea has eroded a cave through a sandstone headland to the opposite side creating great possibilities for photographs and to the south in a secluded bay, the beach formed of rounded pebbles, rises up at an angle of 30°, having been exposed to Atlantic swells.
Day 7 – Canna and Sanday
We head out and along the east coast of Rum towards Canna’s north cliffs, which rise 150 metres from the sea. These are home to thousands of the breeding seabirds, which include, puffin, razorbills, shags, kittiwakes, and sometimes white-tailed eagles, which we have the opportunity to photograph from the boat. In the afternoon, we will head across to Sanday to photograph from the sea cliffs and the basalt stacks on which a large colony of puffins’ nest from May to July.
Day 8 – Return to Mallaig
Following breakfast, we board the Mary Doune for the final time and return to Mallaig to arrive at 0920, in time for the south bound train to Glasgow.