Our voyages around the Scottish Islands navigate among the most beautiful seabird islands in the North Atlantic. Virtually all the headlands in late Spring and early Summer are the sites of large colonies. Dolphins, porpoises, seals and whales may be sighted from the ship and landings allow us to see reindeer and Arctic fox.
Sailings are timed to coincide with a profusion of wild flowers and the sea cliffs of the Scottish Islands should look like rock gardens with the pink and white of sea pinks and sea campion. In addition to their natural history we will also focus on their human history and artefacts, such as old whaling stations.
We head north from the Scottish Islands and, depending on the itinerary, visit the Faeroes, Bear Island, Spitsbergen, the Lofoten Islands and Jan Mayen, a volcanic island of famously unpredictable weather yet breathtaking beauty, whose impressive glaciers spill into the sea from the slopes of Mt. Beerenberg.
Fiona’s travel tipsREAD: The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín, the story of a Dublin high court judge and his family gives a highly descriptive feel for the south Irish coast.
BEST TIME TO GO: May and June for the best weather.
MIDGES: Unfortunately the first midges start to appear in Scotland early June and can be around right up to the end of October! However they don’t like: strong sunlight, breezes or white or light clothing. Wearing protective clothing and repellents will help keep them at bay.
TOP TIP: Book a Scotland to Spitsbergen voyage and then the consecutive North Spitsbergen one. It’s fun to leave the UK by ship and you will get a discount off the second voyage.
“I felt I received a personal and accessible service from Fiona from my initial enquiry to near the time of my departure. The holiday itself lived up to all my expectations”.
Jennifer Dalmaine, Scotland to Spitsbergen Arctic voyage, June 2013
“Particular thanks to Fiona for her courtesy, professionalism and help with booking flights back to Edinburgh. Pre-departure information very good. Excellent handling of last-minute changes caused by change of vessel.”
Mr and Mrs Norman Robb, Ann Rayner and Ronald Cramond, Aberdeen to Spitsbergen voyage
“Weather – very good. Scenery – spectacular. Wildlife sightings – excellent. Boat – extremely comfortable. Expedition staff – mostly extremely good. Atmosphere – friendly and convivial on the whole. We had very good service from all at Arcturus and the result was one of the most memorable and enjoyable holidays we have ever had.”
Mr and Mrs John Nugée, Scottish Islands, North Atlantic and Spitsbergen, June 2011
“Deepest thanks for all your kindness and help before departure and to lovely staff on board.”Alison Lambie, St Kilda, Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen (Plancius)
“Weather – very good. Scenery – spectacular. Wildlife sightings – excellent. Boat – extremely comfortable. Expedition staff - mostly extremely good. Atmosphere – friendly and convivial on the whole. The result was one of the more memorable and enjoyable holidays we have ever had.”Mr and Mrs John Nugée, North Rona, Faroes, Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen (Plancius)