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Scotland's Hebrides 8-day tall ship Sail & Bike (FD)
Oban is the starting and end point of your tour of the Inner Hebrides and the Highlands. With the tall ship, we visit the island of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, which belong to the most spectacular landscapes in Scotland but are so far largely untouched by mass tourism. Also the Caledonian Canal is worth seeing and your gate to the Highlands. Admire the fortresses on the island of Mull, stubbornly facing wind and weather, and enjoy the wild scenery of Scotland, its intensive colours and great biodiversity. Treat yourself in the evening to a glass of whiskey in one of the pubs and listen to the ever-present Scottish music. On your crossings with the ship, we watch out for dolphins and whales, and let the grandiose landscape glide by. On our cycle tours, we’ll be looking out for eagles, red deer and otters and gaze down on the sea from the most beautiful lookout points.
The ship has a world-wide permit to carry out sailing tours. With a sail surface of 480 m2, it is usually possible to cover the stretches between islands under sail, and your captain appreciates any assistance offered by his guests.
Once a herring logger, she was launched in 1903. The conversion took place in 2004 when she was equipped with 10 small but functionally furnished cabins, each with a shower and WC. The front saloon in the deckhouse serves as a cosy dining room and lounge with upholstered benches for seating all guests. At the stern, you can sit beside the captain at the wheel and perhaps even steer the 39-m-long vessel for a while.
The cook on board is a member of the crew and prepares the breakfast and one warm meal a day. The full catering starts with the dinner on the arrival day and ends with the breakfast on the departure day. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). The meals are adapted to the travel conditions. This means no warm meal on the third day, but full board on the seventh travel day.
We believe that only children in a good physical condition and with a minimum age of 10 and previous bicycle tour experience are able to master the cycle-tours on their own strength. Please note that the minimum height for a rental bike is 1.50 m (5ft.).
Moderately difficult tours in mostly hilly stages of 12 – 41 mi./20 – 65 km on usually quiet asphalt roads. In some instances, field paths are used as well. Main roads without separate bike paths are used only exceptionally for brief stretches. This tour includes some longer and steeper ascents where, how-ever, bicycles may be pushed any time. Strong headwinds may also be encountered. Helmet use is mandatory on our tours. You are strongly encouraged to bring your own (well-fitted) helmet. A limited number of rental helmets are available (reservation necessary). Our tours are dependent on weather conditions and the final decision is that of the captain. You are free to set aside a half or full day to swim or spend time on board the boat, instead of taking a planned bike-tour.
Due to the necessity to embark/disembark the ship by dinghy, balance and surefootedness are required. Due to the change in tide, ladders my need to be used to access the boat/land, covering height differences of up to 3 m. Sure footedness and balance are essential.
Slow Tours offers a number of Sail & Bike Tours in Europe
Individual flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow and from there either by train or bus to Oban. Your cabins are ready for check in at 5 pm. Should you arrive earlier, your luggage can be stored on board until check-in time. You are also welcome to use our fee-based transfer service leaving at 5.30 pm from Edinburgh centre and at 6 pm from the Edinburgh airport. During a late dinner, you get to know your crew and tour guides.
Oban - Toberonochy - Crinan (aprx. 22 mi. /36 km) (B, D)
After breakfast we adjust our bicycles and start our first leg of the cycle tour. We head southwards from Oban through hilly landscapes and along the shores of a small highland lake back to the sea. Here we cross a remote peninsula before embarking on the ferry which takes us to the island of Luing. The island is made up of slate and the mining of these gray glistening rocks played an important economic role in the past. The University of Edinburgh for instance, is largely constructed out of the slate off of this small island. At the Tobernochy dock, the ship awaits us for our cross over to Crinan where we will spend the night.
Crinan – Isle of Jura (aprx. 23 mi. /37 km) (B, L)
Today’s bike tour takes us from Crinan to the fascinating excavation site of Kilmartin. Stone circles, which remind us of the Stonehenge and prehistoric burial mounds, characterize the vast landscape. After visiting the museum grounds and enjoying lunch at the museum Cafe, we return to Crinan. Past the Kintyre Peninsula, famous from the Paul McCartney song ‘Mull of Kintyre’, we continue by boat to the island of Jura..
Isle of Jura (aprx. 17 mi./27 km) (B,L, D)
Before we start today’s bike tour, we take part in a guided tour of the famous Jura-Distillery and gain first-hand knowledge of the processes involved in the production of great whisky. Following the distillery tour we cycle northwards on the isle of Jura. The renowned author, George Orwell, spent the last three years of his life here and described it as the most unattainable place on earth. Enjoy the tranquility of the island, which is only occasionally disturbed by one of the 5,000 deer that live there. Passing the so-called Paps of Jura we arrive at a small dock where the ship takes us to the island of Mull. On the way we pass the swirling waters of Corryvreckan, one of the largest natural whirlpools in the world - but do not fear, our experienced crew will guide us safely to a quiet bay on the island of Mull for the night.
Mull Island: Duart Castle - Salen - Tobermory (aprx. 37 mi. /60 km) (B,)
Today’s cycle tour is dedicated entirely to the spectacular natural beauty of Scotland. The route takes us through hilly terrain and along the Island’s coastline. Behind every bend in the road another breath-taking view awaits. After the road divides and the few cars that we have encountered along the way have turned off towards Iona, we share the road virtually only with sheep and shaggy highland cattle grazing peacefully in the bright green meadows. Along an ever-changing coastal road, we cycle past Loch Na’ Keal to Salen where the ship is waiting for us. On a short crossover our ship brings us to Tobermoy bay. In this pretty, little place, with its colorful facades, an evening visit to an original Scottish pub is high on the agenda. This includes trying national dishes such as fish’n’chips or haggis.
Mull Island: Tobermory - Salen (aprx. 31 mi./50 km) (B, D)
Today we will encounter an elevation gain on our ride through the northern part of the Island of Mull. As a reward a cozy tearoom offers us a welcomed reprieve before we head for the brilliant white beach of Calgary Bay and its crystal clear water. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Scot-land and swimming enthusiasts should not pass up this opportunity to jump in for a refreshing swim. Ship ward bound we cycle through a lush valley until we meet the shoreline, shortly before Salen, offering breathtaking views as well as some interesting ships wrecks. Our ship awaits us again in Salen for a little crossing to Lochaline on the Morvern peninsula, where we throw the anchor for the night. Dinner on board.
Peninsula Morvern: Lochaline - Kingairloch (aprx. 16 mi./26 km) (B, D)
After a small crossing through the Sound of Mull to Lochaline a scenic cycling tour awaits us. After the first ascent, we reach an almost traffic-free road leading through the barren highlands. We follow hillsides, wild mountain streams and moorlands before we reach the Flying Dutchman, to ferry us back to Oban. Before dinner we have the opportunity to take a stroll through Oban. The Mc Caig's Tower, an incomplete replica of the Coliseum in Rome, is a worthwhile visit.
Oban (Disembarkation) and return home (B)
After breakfast, individual return trip home from Oban or group transfer to the Edinburgh airport.
Changes: We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary, depending on wind and weather conditions or organisational requirements.
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