By Eilidh Whiteford
In winter they are an interesting place, but when the seabirds arrive, the Shiants come to life,” says Joe Engebretsen who, along with his father Charles, has been taking visitors by boat to explore the small island site through long-standing family business Sea Lewis.
Trained as a commercial diver in the early 1990s, Joe spent nine years in the Royal Marines, working primarily on fast boats and landing craft, before returning home with his family in 2001 to work as a diver, boat operator and fire-fighter, as well as running Engebret Ltd filling station in Stornoway.
He joined his father Charles, a commercial diver in the 1970s who has taken visitors diving and on boat-trips around Lewis since 1990, and between Joe and Charles, visitors can be sure they are in safe hands and will have an enjoyable experience.
Offering short fishing trips – perfect for families with young children who may not wish to go far from shore – as well as a two-hour sightseeing journey down the east coast of Lewis to Marvig and the Witches Pool, the speciality of Sea Lewis is the spectacular Shiant Islands trip.
By Iain A MacSween
Testament to just how accessible the remote archipelago of St Kilda has become is that many of its visitors each year are Australian.
“We’re finding that we are getting more and more bookings from people who have made the connection between this St Kilda and the St Kilda in Melbourne,” says Seumas Morrison, proprietor of Sea Harris. The Australian suburb which is called St Kilda takes its name from the schooner ‘Lady of
St Kilda’, which was wrecked off Tahiti in 1844.
“The Australian passengers are usually on holiday in Scotland and when they hear there is a St Kilda here they want to go and check it out,” said Seumas.
Sea Harris operates a 16.5 metre Stormforce 1650 vessel, ‘Enchanted Isle’, custom-built for the St.Kilda day trip by Redbay Boats in Northern Ireland. The large air-conditioned cabin has comfy aircraft style seating for 12 passengers, arranged in pairs down each side of the cabin, plus toilet facilities.
The dashboard has Cummins engine instrumentation plus a wide range of Garmin electronic navigation instruments, and with safety of passengers being paramount there is also a video camera to keep a watchful eye on any that are out on the aft deck. Visibility is excellent through the large windows when alongside the gargantuan sea-stacs of St Kilda. This installation gives a top speed of 27 knots, and an economical cruising speed of 22 knots.
By Eilidh Whiteford
“There are over 4,500 volunteer lifeboat crew in the RNLI and their dedication saves an average of 23 lives a day at sea; simply put, that's the reason for doing this,” said charity walker Alex Ellis-Roswell – 6,500 miles into his 9,500 mile UK and Ireland coastline walk to raise funds and awareness for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
In January 2017, two years and four months after he began, Alex reached the Outer Hebridean leg of his epic challenge and visited the islands’ three RNLI stations – Stornoway RNLI, Leverburgh RNLI, and Barra Island RNLI – as he walked 400 miles from Barra to the Butt of Lewis and back again.
“I think it's difficult to lump the Outer Hebrides into one thing,” he said, speaking after his stint walking the Long Island. “It's too broad a place to be one; the communities and the landscapes throughout are very diverse.
“But the islands have been a definite highlight; I've never walked somewhere so remote and yet felt so safe and surrounded by good people.”
By Eilidh Whiteford
Wonderfully secluded, covering some 12,500 acres of wild, rock-strewn hills on the west coast, Morsgail is one of the most stunning estates on the Isle of Lewis.
As for the island’s wild residents, guests at Morsgail are spoilt for choice with many golden eagles nesting on estate lands, deer grazing in front of the windows, and otters bobbing about in the river.
Boasting a prolific salmon river and renowned deer forest, the estate delivers some of the finest fishing and stalking opportunities available; as well as a plethora of other activities, from walking and wildlife-watching to boat-trips and water sports.
By Katie Macleod
The Midnight Rose is a true luxury yacht, the kind you expect to see on the French Riviera, with glittering celebrity parties taking place on deck as the sun goes down.
This summer, Hebridean Prestige Cruises are bringing some of that Mediterranean glamour – and the Midnight Rose – to the Outer Hebrides.
Based out of Castlebay, Hebridean Prestige Cruises will be offering bespoke private charter cruises on the Midnight Rose for those who wish to see the Outer Hebrides in style.
As a joint venture between Brian Currie, owner of the Craigard Hotel in Barra, and Captain Roddy MacLeod, a Master Mariner with 38 years of sailing experience, Hebridean Prestige Cruises aims to develop the luxury market in the Hebrides.