The Viking Trail
The Viking Trail is a beautiful and accessible route linking the stunning West Coast of Scotland through the Caledonian Canal to the world class cruising areas in the North of Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Isles. This can be done as one spectacular cruise, or as a series of smaller cruises, leaving the yacht at one of the marinas along the route. You’ll find truly unspoilt waters, abundant wildlife, historical sites and a full Scottish larder with fresh local produce and whisky distilleries dotted along the trail.
Inverness, the Highland capital, is a vibrant city located at the top of the Great Glen. The Cairngorms National Park, Loch Ness, the Black Isle and Fort George are all on its doorstep. Head through the Moray Firth and see the resident school of bottle nose dolphins as you follow the Vikings north to Wick, a heritage town in Caithness. Once part of the combined kingdom of Norway and Denmark, Caithness boasts vast white sandy beaches, historic castles, brochs, and the Old Pulteney Distillery among its many attractions. Sail across the Pentland Firth and through historic Scapa Flow to the Orkney Islands. There are around 70 islands to be explored, each with their own character. See the world renowned archaeological sites, soak in the local culture at one of the many local festivals, discover a wealth of wartime history or simply enjoy the peace and quiet. Further north, the Shetland Islands have more than 1600 miles of coastline with dramatic cliffs, natural harbours and well equipped landing points for the adventure sailor.
For those wishing to circumnavigate Scotland, then they can return via the west coast around Cape Wrath or of course the trail can be done beginning this way in the other direction.
A friendly welcome awaits you all along the trail; staff at the marinas work together and are happy to share their local knowledge and assist you with accurate passage planning through the various tidal gateways around the North coast and through to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The Norwegian West coast is only two days away, and links between the Northern Isles and their Scandinavian neighbours are strong. The trail is a great starting point for cruising in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and the Northern Isles offer the perfect landfall for visiting sailors from Scandinavia.
Find out more about sailing The Viking Trail and Planning Your Passage:
- Pentland Firth Passage Planning
- Pentland Firth to Cape Wrath Passage Planning
- Orkney Islands Passage Planning