Tue 1 Aug | Sea eagle soars  Guests and crew went ashore this morning for a good walk around Carbost before returning aboard and departing for Rum. As Hjalmar Bjorge left Loch Harport a sea eagle flew right in front of the boat and the next 30 minutes were spent watching it soar above. All aboard enjoyed a fair weather cruise to Rum where guests spent the afternoon ashore. The evening and overnight anchorage was Loch Scresort which afforded completely flat calm conditions.

Wed 2 Aug | New berths in Loch Aline  Hjalmar Bjorge left Rum before breakfast this morning and headed to Eigg where the boat berthed at 0830. After breakfast the guests went ashore for a variety of walks. After lunch the boat returned to the Sound of Mull with the final evening spent on the new pontoons that have just been installed in Loch Aline. Guests depart in Oban in the morning.

Sun 7 Aug | One way to Kilda  Tim, skippering Hjalmar Bjorge for us once again this summer, plus crew Marky Mark and Kirsty, welcomed 12 guests aboard in Oban yesterday afternoon, the first evening being spent in Tobermory.

The forecast for the week ahead looked very changeable and Tim, with the guests’ blessing, decided to try and get out to St Kilda fairly promptly. The crew left the mooring in Tobermory at 0500 this morning and headed North West. Approaching the Outer Hebrides a breaching minke whale was seen in the distance. After a long steam in fairly fresh conditions the crew dropped the anchor in Village Bay at 1845.

Mon 8 Aug | Day on Hirta  Overnight the wind had strengthened from the north resulting in a rather uncomfortably lumpy anchorage this morning. Getting the guests ashore was no easy task for Tim and the crew but they managed to safely deposit everyone onto Hirta around 10am where they were free to explore until 1700.

Tue 9 Aug | Lumpy bumpy  The wind remained very strong last night which made for a rather uncomfortable experience for all aboard. The anchor was lifted at 0700 and a quick tour of Boreray undertaken before Hjalmar Bjorge headed east to the Sound of Harris. The crossing was another rather uncomfortable experience. Once through the Sound Tim decided to cross the Minch and make for the nearest sheltered spot, Loch Dunvegan on Skye. The anchor was dropped at 1630 and guests were very appreciative of a quick walk ashore before dinner.

Wed 10 Aug | Fresh fish for lunch  Hjalmar Bjorge left the anchorage at 0900 this morning. Some impromptu fishing took place off the back of the boat as it cruised past Dunvegan Head, resulting in a haul of mackerel and pollock. Passing the entrance to Loch Pooltiel two minke whales were seen. Hjalmar Bjorge anchored at Carbost in Loch Harport for lunch (fresh fish of course) which was walked off in the afternoon before a three course dinner.

Thu 11 Aug | South from Skye  Hjalmar Bjorge left Carbost and Skye this morning before cruising south, taking in the east coast of Rum, Ardnamurchan and into the Sound of Mull. The vessel arrived in Loch Aline, berthing on the new pontoons, which enabled guests to have a walk ashore before dinner. 

Fri 12 Aug | Finish of ‘Focus on St Kilda’  Hjalmar Bjorge cruised from Loch Aline into Oban this morning where the trip was due to finish after brunch. Guests expressed their appreciation to Tim, Mark and Kirsty for getting them out to St Kilda in demonstrably difficult weather conditions.

Sat 20 Aug | Off again  Mark and the crew boarded 11 guests on the North Pier in Oban this afternoon. The 12th, Joyce, was unable to join Hjalmar Bjorge due to illness and she was much missed in the week that followed. The vessel berthed alongside new pontoons in Tobermory for the first evening and overnight.

Sun 21 Aug | Bounteous bird sightings  Hjalmar Hjalmar Bjorge departed Tobermory at 0900 this morning, following the “Elizabeth G”, skippered by Rob, who was off to Barra Head on a diving trip. Not far from Glengorm Castle Rob, who was about one mile ahead of Mark, spotted a very small ocean sunfish, and relayed the coordinates of his vessel’s position. Everyone was hanging over the sides of Hjalmar Bjorge trying to spot it, as the boat approached Rob’s marks, but alas, they were unable to find him.

Having rounded the north of Mull Mark and the crew anchored the boat in Gometra Harbour for lunch after which guests went ashore to explore Gometra and Ulva. Returning to the boat at 5pm the guests were all very excited having spotted golden eagles, sea eagles, hen harriers, a peregrine and also an otter. Not bad for one afternoon’s walk. The anchor was lifted and Hjalmar Bjorge cruised to the overnight anchorage at Cragard. A wonderful sunset was observed this evening, a phenomenon that occurred repeatedly during this week long cruise.

Mon 22 Aug | Cragard to Colonsay  After breakfast the short passage across to Inch Kenneth was made. Guests were landed and spent an enjoyable morning in bright sunshine exploring the churchyard and island. Some enjoyed the comical sight of Ship’s Dog trying to run with skipper Mark, her idea of exercise being the performance of a series of full speed 360 degree turns right in front of Mark with the occasional kamikaze dive into his side. After lunch, which was taken aboard, the vessel cruised through the Sound of Iona and the Torran Rocks and on to Colonsay. Arriving at Scalasaig, the anchor was dropped, and the guests enjoyed a walk ashore before dinner.

Tue 23 Aug | Oronsay impossible  Guests went ashore on Colonsay again this morning, undertaking a longer walk, and returning to the boat at midday. After lunch an attempt was made to land on Oronsay but unfortunately an Easterly wind and accompanying swell made this impossible.

Next Hjalmar Bjorge cruised to West Loch Tarbert on Jura. Dinner was enjoyed with a very dramatic sunset as the backdrop. We think some of the images taken over supper will probably end up as screen savers or computer wallpapers! Right: sunset at 19.29 this evening by Mark Henrys

Happy Birthday to skipper Mark who kept it fairly quiet. It was Joyce’s birthday today too. Below: the fast changing sunset at Jura this evening (left) 19.37 and (right) 1938. Both photos by Mark Henrys







Wed 24 Aug | The wild west  Guests went ashore on the wild west coast of Jura this morning for a long walk. After lunch, taken aboard, Hjalmar Bjorge cruised through the Sound Of Islay to Craighouse on the south east of Jura. The guests were disembarked here, some opting for walks, others going straight to the pub!

Thu 25 Aug | Stunning sunset (again!)  Early this morning two sea eagles were seen at close quarters from the boat. The anchor was lifted at 0830 and the boat headed north to Scarba. On the approach to the Gulf of Corryvreckan a small minke whale was seen just off the bow. The anchor was dropped on the north east side of Scarba and guests went ashore, with a packed lunch, so they could explore for as long as they liked. They returned to the boat around 1500 having had a great visit to the island.

The anchor was raised and Hjalmar Bjorge cruised to the last overnight anchorage of the holiday in Ardencaple Bay on Seil Island. A wonderful day of remote locations was finished off by another breathtaking sunset with everyone aboard enjoying the dramatic views across to Mull and the west. Right and below: the sun set seen from Seil Island over Mull and to the west. Both photos by Mark Henrys



Fri 26 Aug | Last day of cruise  Perfect flat calm conditions this morning for the boat’s final journey into Oban and disembarkation of guests on to the Railway Pier after brunch. 

:: news from the previous month[ July ’11 ]