New to our website is a map that gives you some of the possible stopovers for our sailing season 2016. Where will you sail the Tecla in 2016? Possible stop overs have been highlighted with a pin and if you click the pin, you can read some information on what to expect and which of our voyages might bring you to these places.
Where will you sail the Tecla in 2016
Get on board for the real experience. We will take you on an expedition to the Arctic Circle, we will drop anchor with you on deserted islands and take long walks to Glaciers or places with a spectacular view. We will walk in the footsteps of the Vikings and get really close to some of the biggest bird nesting colonies of Europe. For now we have one Map for the whole trip, but soon, each of our voyages will have its own map. So more... Soon!
On special request we would like to offer the possibility of splitting the voyage between Amsterdam and Oban. Sailing first from Amsterdam to Inverness and from there onwards to Oban through the Caledonian Channel.
The first part of the voyage will take 5 days. Setting sail from Amsterdam, the route to Inverness totally depends on the wind. It is 340 miles in a straight line. So these 4 days at sea will give you time to visit either a Dutch destination, or maybe the East coast of Scotland before arriving in Inverness. Here you can stay on board for the remainder of the voyage through the Caledonian Channel, or you can end your voyage here.
If you would rather only sail through the Caledonian Channel and end your voyage in Oban, you can book your trip on board the Tecla now, for just 9 days. Starting in Inverness you will stay in the Caledonian Channel for 4 to 5 days. Sailing over lochs and taking the locks up and down the Channel. Read more
Every year the Tecla comes up with a new sailing plan. A new sailing area or some amazing race to compete in. On this side of the world, or the other. But who comes up with these idea’s, who are these sailors who have been running the Tecla for the last 10 years.
The Tecla family consists of Jan, Jannette, Gijs and Jet. Jan and Jannette started sailing in 1990 on a traditional ship on the inshore waters of the Netherlands. In 2005 they decided to start a business together with their two children, Gijs and Jet. Since starting to work the Tecla as a family, they have sailed to almost 30 countries, crossing 5 oceans and over 100.000 Nautical Miles.
Introducing Jannette’s sailing motives
Jannette is the women behind the firstname.lastname@example.org email, the Tecla phone and the booking form ánd she is the person behind the amazing scones, cakes and long walks with the dog when on board.
When you ask Jannette’s sailing motives and why they bought the Tecla 10 years ago, she will answer that it was the only ship the family had always dreamed off. It breathed Adventure. Exploring new places, just leaving the Netherlands behind and setting sail for a new horizon. Jannette says “The size of the groups on board is perfect. We can take up to 16 people, which is a group size that you can actually take with you when you start exploring new places. This year we will take groups up to 12 persons in Iceland. Which is perfect to have that personal connection, really get to know the person and take them with you into this new world of travel.” Read more
St Kilda is one of our main destinations for the early summer of 2016. It is a mysterious and hard to reach places, beyond the outer Hebrides. A good 40 miles west of the sound of Harris, surrounded by foggy myths it is a prime destination for the adventurous sailor. But what to do when the weather takes a turn for the worst? Sailing from Ullapool the outer Hebrides are our first stop on the way to Hirta (the main Island of the St Kilda archipelago) If we are being held back by the north Atlantic weather the Bishop Isles are a perfect way to see more of Scotland’s marvels! Mingulay is known amongst other things as the “nearby St Kilda”. Geographically closer to civilization, but none the less equally isolated. Mingulay’s cause of isolation was not the vastness of the ocean but more so the absence of a save landing place, vital to bring in the necessary stores and the occasional visit of the priest.
With a size of just 2.5 miles by 3.5 miles, there is hardly room for the six compact peaks, Carnan to the west being the highest at 273 meters. With such amazing peaks, Mingulay is perhaps the most spectacular of the southern Islands. Like most of Scotland Mingulay was covert with ice in the Pleistocene. It is mainly made up of gneiss and some granite but you can also find erratic blocks of rock and boulder clay left by the ice.
Visit Mingulay as part of your St Kilda voyage!
Legends – Macphee, the rent collector that was left on a deserted island, Mingulay
When the Islands where owned by MacNeil off Barra one day a rent collector by the name of Macphee was dropped off at Mingulay Bay. To his great horror he found every one dead. He rushed back to the landing site and called out to the boats men to pick him up for he feared the residents were victims of the plague. On hearing this the oarsmen rowed for their lives and left Macphee for dead. A whole year poor Macphee lived by himself with only the corpses as sad company. Every day he would climb what is now known as Macphee’s hill and wave at passing ships. The only response was a friendly wave back.
He survived and eventually MacNeil though it save to resettle the Island. He made a special grant of to Macphee by way of compensation and since then
Without a doubt the Island was settled long ago for there are several potential archaeological sites. Crois an t-Suidheachian (cross of the sitting place) was a structure on a level area of ground above the road at Aneir. Nothing remains but it has been described as a standing stone or a circle of standing stones. Viking graves have been found on many of the other Isles in the Barra group but are not abundant on Mingulay. Viking influence is found in topographical names the Norse men gave to the place such as Hecla, Skipisdale, old Norse for ship valley but also Mingulay, beliefed to have come from the old Norse Mikil-ay meaning “Big Island”
Between 800 and 1200,Viking raids on the outer Hebrides were common practise. Many Norse men made the Islands their home. In the second half of the 12th century their influence diminished and by 1266 the Islands where under Scots control. Like on many of the isolated Islands, live on Mingulay has always depended on crofting, fishing and the harvesting of birds and their chicks. At one point when MacNeil owned the Island, rent was payable in fatlings or shearwater chicks!
The shelter of Mingulay bay formed the base for the later village. At the height of Village life there was a mill, a chapel house consisting of a church and a priest’s residence, and a school. However, despite there being a continuous population on Mingulay for at least two thousand years, evacuations began in 1907 and the island was completely abandoned by its residents in 1912! Some attempts to live on the Island have been made, but the hardship has proven too much. What is left is a ghost village.
The houses no longer have a roof and the tomb stones are over grown with grasses and mosses. Once you set foot on the beach you take a step back in time. Standing at the fire place in one of the remaining houses, you can nearly touch it as you pear out over the sea. Times when men climbed up the sea stack Lianamul on a bare rope to let their wedders fatten. Climbing down the slippery face of Biulacraig (at 215 mtr once believed to be the steepest in Great Britain) to harvest eggs and chicks, becomes easier to imagine when you are part of this long gone setting. The Island remains abandoned although in present times the great bird colonies attract some naturalists in summer. Mingulay is owned by the National trust of Scotland since 2000.
56´49N 007´38W. Separated from Berneray by a narrow strait, Mingulay is the second largest in the Bishop or Barra Isles in the outer Hebrides.
When we visited Mingulay last summer we were welcomed by a bay full of basking sharks, feeding on plankton and sunray’s! An awesome site as these magnificent dinosaur like creatures glided past the ship. That evening after our hike on the Island the many Puffins found their way back to their burrows in the last sun beams.
Captain Gijs tells us
Late at night, during my anchor watch, I was kept awake by the growling seals on the beach. When I poked my head outside I found them all huddled together in the moonlight, keeping a close eye on the ship, making sure I was still up.
The Island spectacular cliffs are home to a great variety of sea birds. Among them are: Tysties, Black legged Kittywakes, Fulmars, Shags, Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Storm Petrels and Arctic Terns. When we left Mingulay last summer we past the Heiskers on our way to Vatersay and spotted 3 Sea Eagles!
Walking on the Island offers some of the most spectacular sights of the Atlantic ocean. Gunamul on the SW side has a natural arc of 150 meters high. Further south Dun Mingulay is home to an Iron age fort. This together with the Sheillings at Skipisdale and the northern promontory and its hill Tom a’Reithean make this gem truly unforgettable!
The road less travelled, the course less steered, the Shiant Isles. Summer is coming! She still has to come a long way, but before you know it she’s there! Better be prepared and get ready to go exploring. Have a look at what lies between Scotland and Iceland. Here are some hidden gems. Out of the way on a course less steered. Full of mystery and legends. Hidden away in a fog or just behind the horizon.
The Shiants or as the name gives away, “enchanted” Isles are situated 4 miles south east of Lewis, in the Minch
The Shiants are outliers of Skye, although they are closer to Lewis. The rock formations are similar to those of Staffa, the Giant causeway, and parts of Mull- columnar basalt. Forming spectacular cliffs of over 120 meters in height! This is relatively young rock. The north shore of Garbh Eilean boasts of a beautiful natural arch.
Local history goes back further than the beginning of time. The Shiants are often described as a resort for fairies and elves. The feared Blue Men of the Minch are known to visit the place. With their craving for poetry they scare innocent fishermen. The legend might have been brought over by slaves from Africa taken by the Vikings in the 9th century. A more earthly account of inhabitation goes back to the middle ages. Fishermen used the Islands as a summer home while a shepherd and his sheep took to the grassy hills. In later years a church was erected with the accompanying grave yard. This suggests permanent habitation. Small crops of corn were grown while cows and sheep grassed at the hill. In the early 19th century only a shepherd and his wife were living on the island. They collected birds and their eggs to extend their income. One day the shepherd was lowering his wife down the face of one of the cliffs when the rope parted. The helpless wife tumbled down the cliff into the icy sea. The shepherd realized his wife never learned to swim but the dead birds she collected kept her afloat. Just long enough for her husband to see the tides carry her away forever into the Minch. An extended description of the Islands and their history is given by Adam Nicolson in his book, Sea Room. His father, Nigel Nicolson bought the Islands in 1937and passed them down to his son. Before him Comton Mackenzie (author of Whisky Galore and The Monarch of the Glen) owned the Shiants. These day the Group in uninhabited. Except for summer visitors who take refuge in the restored cottage on Eilean an tigh and Biologists who count the birds nesting in the barrows.
Visit the Shiant Isles in 2016
The Tecla will visit the Shiant Isles, just like in 2015, as part of her trips in Scotland. The crew fell in love with the islands because of the amazing cliffs coming out of the sea. Steep rock walls coming up for over a hundred meter. Stepping on the land you will find many birds, there is even a Sea Eagle breading on the island! In 2016 there will be four voyages with a possible stop over on the Shiants. Sail from Ullapool to St Kilda and it will be one of our favourite stop overs. If weather and wind permit it, the Shiants are also a possible stop over between Ullapool and Oban.
2 percent of the world’s puffin population breed on the Islands. Together with Kittiwakes, Guillimots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Shags and the Great Skuas and many more species have been seen. A spectacular sight is the Eagels who nest on the northern side. Strange inhabitants are the survivors of an ancient ship wreck, the black rats. They are protected by law and are free to plunder the hill in search of young puffins. There is a common seal colony and the waters around the Isles are often frequented by porpoises, basking sharks, blue sharks, and Minke whales.
Sail there in 2016
Visiting the Shiant Islands in 2016? Join us on one of the following trips and get there by sailing ship!
T2016-2 // 25-4 until 1-5
T2016-3 // 2-5 until 9-5
T2016-4 // 10-5 until 16-5
T2016-13 // 12-9 until 18-9
A rime by the ghostly legends of the storm kelpies or Blue Men:
Blue Chief: Man of the black cap what do you say
As your proud ship cleaves the brine?
Skipper: My speedy ship takes the shortest way
And I’ll follow you line by line
Blue Chief: My men are eager, my men are ready
To drag you below the waves
Skipper: My ship is speedy, my ship is steady
If it sank, it would wreck your caves
Setting sail for the North has its advantages – especially thinking of the very shorts days we are experiencing in the Netherlands right now. In the North the days will start to get longer and longer, until the day doesn’t end any more! With the sun not setting at all, get in all the sunshine you are missing out on today, just a few days away from the shortest day. Experience endless days in Iceland.
Setting out for her sailing season, the Tecla will set sail from Amsterdam to Inverness – heading into the Caledonian Canal to get to the West coast of Scotland. For this voyage you will have 14 days, from which at least 4 or 5 will be spend in the Canal.
The Caledonian Canal consists of lochs and man made pieces of canal that connect them. Only 1 third of the canal is man made and was finished building in 1822. Read more
Only 2 years ago we sailed through wind and weather on the ‘dangerous’ side of Tasmania. On our way to Hobart we passed on the rugged west coast to the south. We sailed to King Island and entered Port Davey, an Oceanic inlet on the South West coast of Tasmania. A place that is normally hard to reach, but one of those places on earth that stays with you for the rest of your life!
[pbs_html5video mp4=”3474″ preload=”true” controls=”disabled”]