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Coastal skipper Anne Gracie Gunn shares 5 sailing trips that make Isle of Skye a summer hotspot

by Sarah Salord 9 Jul 2023 09:54 UTC
Duisdale House Hotel on the Isle of Skye has five well maintained and sheltered yacht moorings in the bay just in front of the hotel © Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam

Sailing around the Isle of Skye is one of the best ways to explore West Scotland's diverse coastline with over 44 uninhabited islands, countless sheltered coves and abundant quiet anchorages.

Skye is relatively unexplored by sailors and cruisers and local experienced Coastal Skipper Anne Gracie Gunn, owner of three luxury boutique properties on Skye each inspired by her love of the sea and island life, has shared her five top sailing trips to make the most of visiting the majestical North West Scotland's coastline.

From mooring in Loch na Dal, Lat 57.09.500N, Long 05.47.700W on Skye's southern Sleat Peninsula for a shower and spot of lunch at Anne's award-winning property Duisdale House Hotel, to enjoying five-night trips exploring the world heritage site St Kilda Archipelago and the Island of Hirta, there's a trip for all sailing enthusiasts, from beginners to more experienced sailors.

Day Trip - Islands of Rum, Canna and Eigg on the Small Isles

The Small Isles offer the perfect day trip, each one filled with its own character and places to explore. My favourite spots include anchoring at South Bay on Eigg, usually the first island from the South of Sleat and a great spot to jump ashore or exploring the beautiful beaches of Canna Island. On the return journey to Sleat, the island of Rum is a must-visit for a tour around Kinloch Castle and the village shop and perhaps a taste of the island's own Askival Rum.

Overnight Trip - Inverie Village on the Knoydart Peninsula

Found on the northern side of Loch Nevis, Inverie is a truly magical place with around 100 residents and accessible only by boat. It's known as one of the last wildernesses of Europe and is a great choice for a day's sailing trip with peaceful overnight anchorage. A visit to the community-owned Old Forge, famous for being the most remote pub in the UK, is an absolute must and the coastal landscape is unforgettable.

Two-night Trip - Waternish Peninsula and Portree

For a longer route, I love heading round Neist Point and on to Waternish on the Northwestern tip of Skye which boasts one of Scotland's best restaurants, Loch Bay and hopefully enjoy a sunset and star gazing, which can be viewed from the comfort of your boat. On the second night, Skye's capital Portree is a great choice for overnight mooring.

Five-night Trip - Islands of St Kilda on the Outer Hebrides

For the more experienced sailor, Hirta, the largest of the St Kilda islands, is truly remote and a fantastic choice for unspoilt and wild coastline. Named a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's the perfect spot for wildlife spotting with the largest Gannet colony in the world. My ideal journey includes a first stop at Lochmaddy for an overnight stay at the pontoon and then sailing along the coast to approach the Sound of Harris, a shallow channel, then out to the wild open sea and the relatively long passage to the picturesque and historic Village Bay to drop anchor for the third night. For fantastic cliff scenery this whole area is breathtaking including the dramatic Boreray, and the sea stacks - Stac an Armin 196 mtr and Stac Lee 172 mtr are a must visit before sailing back via Rodel in Harris to Portree for the final night.

'Ship Ashore' Lunch or Dinner at Duisdale House Hotel on Sleat

Our very own luxury boutique property Duisdale House Hotel also has five sheltered yacht moorings in the bay, just 100m from the property in a beautiful, secluded and sheltered bay and is the perfect choice to freshen up and enjoy our highland hospitality. We openly welcome visiting yachts to use our facilities including showers, a well-stocked, beautiful Chart Room Bar, free Wi-Fi and award-winning restaurant serving delicious locally sourced food. Moorings are £15 per night and use of shower facilities are £7.50 including fresh towels and toiletries, or if dining in our 2 AA rosette restaurant, then the mooring is offered free of charge. Further details available.

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