Sailing the Scottish Isles

Excerpts from Aaron's Journal

Sailing the Scottish Isles

12 July, 2019

Aaron Russ grew up with small cruise ships on the deck of his family’s expedition travel business. As a result of voyaging to some of the most remote parts of the world from such a young age, Aaron has always had a fascination with maps.

“I’ve always been drawn to interesting coastlines, there is always a channel to be navigated or sheltered cove to be found. The Scottish Isles have an especially interesting coast, with literally hundreds of islands and inlets to be explored. And, apart from this intricate stretch of ocean, the diversity of experiences this compact land has to offer draws me back time and time again.”

Excerpts from Aaron’s journal, June 10-22, 2018

“It’s late May and the first day of our voyage through the Scottish Islands, and having just arrived from New Zealand I am revelling in the long summer days as we head ashore to the small island of Gigha. From the jetty it is a gentle amble along country lanes to Achamore Gardens. Warmed by the North Atlantic currents, this garden thrives, and I am surprised to come across a number of New Zealand natives growing better here than back home on native shores. After enjoying morning tea with locals, we cruise by Zodiac to the stone steps of Lagavulin Whisky Distillery to explore some of the myths of this famous Islay single malt.

At Iona Abbey I am reminded of the tales of the kings, raiders, and invaders, and I rediscover the reason to explore Scotland by sea. These waters were highways for Vikings, and before them Picts and Gaels; the water was historically the link that connected rather than separated people. 

We continue our discovery of Scotland exploring places like St Kilda, Skye, Skara Brae, and Stornoway to name a few, then in a final flourish we make landfall on Fair Isle. Isolated midway between Orkney and the Shetland Islands, Fair Isles is famous for its knitters. They do beautiful knitting but my attention is drawn away to the puffins that call these bright green cliffs home. I always imagine them to be larger than they actually are, but what they lack in size they make up for in colour and personality.”


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