The perfect way to see Shetland! Board the Swan on Saturday afternoon, and after a safety briefing hoist the sails in Lerwick’s sheltered harbour. Get to know your crewmates during the day at sea, and you will see how the chat improves over dinner and perhaps an anchor dram before turning in for a good night’s sleep.
The direction of sailing from Lerwick, and indeed your entire week of sailing, will be dictated by the wind and weather conditions. The skipper will decide which way will be the most comfortable and achievable, depending on wind strength and direction.
South will perhaps take you on a tour of Mousa broch and a night at anchor in one of the many sheltered voes in the south end of Shetland, followed by a day sail to Fair Isle, a true jewel in Shetland’s crown. After thoroughly exploring Fair Isle, and you may well want to stay for 2 nights, the whole of the west side of Shetland will open itself up to the Swan. A passage north may find you at anchor in beautiful Bigton Wick, sheltering inside the historically significant St Ninian’s isle. If the wind is right, Papa Stour is a good day sail away from Bigton. There you can tie up at a pier, or spend the night at anchor. Papa Stour has many awe-inspiring caves that can be explored with the dinghy, if time allows. Head homewards to Scalloway where you will end your week.
On the other hand, when you leave Aithvoe, the wind direction may well say that sailing north will be more comfortable. You might sail north to Unst, the UK’s most northerly island, and tie up at a pier in Baltasound for the night. The following day you can tick off one of the British sailor’s holy grails – a passage round Muckle Flugga, the UK’s most northerly point. Perhaps head back down to Burravoe, at the south end of Yell, or make for Collafirth in Yell sound, before rounding Fethaland, Shetland mainland’s most northerly point, the following day. Anchor up for the night at Ronas Voe, Shetland’s longest voe. The next day take a closer look at the fantastic cliffs of Eshaness then have a poke about in St Magnus bay before selecting another picturesque anchorage for the night. A visit to Papa Stour and its caves is a strong possibility here too, or perhaps you might take a longer sail and visit Foula; Shetland’s most remote island, with wonderfully high sea cliffs on its western coastline. End your week in Scalloway, Shetland’s ancient capital.
The Swan is a sail training vessel, and as such, you will take your turn on the helm, stand watch with the rest of your watch-mates, adjusting sails and doing safety checks, usually on a 4 hour on – 8 hour off watch system, and you will help out with domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Everyone mucks in, from skipper to first-timer, and from the most to the least experienced. This is what will give you a strong sense of accomplishment and achievement – you are part of what makes your voyage happen, and your efforts will have a positive effect on the rest of the crew onboard.
Included in voyage
• Lunch and dinner on day one, then full board for the week, and breakfast and lunch on the final day, as well as snacks. You will be well fed!
• Life jacket and safety line.
• There are basic waterproofs onboard, however you may feel more comfortable in your own wet weather gear.
• Mattress covers are provided, bring with you a sleeping bag, pillow or alternative bedding.