A Sailing New Year’s resolution

Date published: 06 January 2021

2021 is upon us. It’s time to look forward – to plan some adventures on the deep, dark waters of Scotland’s incredible lochs, around its breathtaking coasts, and along its magical canals in the Year of Coasts and Waters!

Looking for some inspiration for why you #MustSeaScotland in 2021? We’ve picked out a few of the incredible experiences that can only be found on Scotland’s spectacular waters and stunning shores.

Grab your free Sail Scotland brochure, plan your own unforgettable adventure sailing Scotland and make sure you share them with us on social media by tagging them with #MustSeaScotland or uploading them to our gallery - but please be sure to follow all guidance and #RespectTheDestination. 


Check the current Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland and continue to plan and book ahead when considering your trip. You can search VisitScotland's website for businesses that are open and Good to Go, where they have a Covid-19 risk assessment.


Step beyond the shortbread tins at Eilean Donan Castle

Set sail for the Kyle of Lochalsh and pay a visit to Eilean Donan Castle – one of the most recognised structures in Scotland and a recurring feature on shortbread tins and calendars the world over. It’s easy to see why – towering against the landscape overlooking the Isle of Skye at the point where three great sea-lochs meet and surrounded by the leafy mountains of Kintail, Eilean Donan’s setting is unforgettable.

Take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel

Elegant, audacious, and utterly enchanting – The Falkirk Wheel is a soaring symbol of the regeneration of Scotland’s historic canal network and a marvel of modern engineering. Linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union some 35 metres above, the world’s only rotating boat lift replaced the 11 locks that once carried countless vessels between the two waterways and must be seen to be believed. Nowhere else on the planet can you sail through the sky, held up in the heavens by a combination of graceful engineering and the same power as it would take to boil eight kettles!

Scotland is home to some amazing engineering. Find out how to explore it by boat with our guide! 

Explore the wonders of Jura

Sailing doesn’t get much more mythical than the utterly incomparable Jura. A land of soaring mountains and rugged coasts, Jura is wild, untamed and utterly unforgettable. Sample a dram in the island’s titular distillery, see its famous herds of red deer (which outnumber its human inhabitants by 25 to 1!), or take to the water and skirt the eye of the Corryvreckan Whirlpool – one of largest permanent whirlpools on earth.

Drain a dram at Skye’s Talisker Distillery

Sample a dram (or three) on a tour of Talisker Distillery – home of the only single malt whisky produced on Skye. Set on the shores of Loch Harport with dramatic views of the Cuillins, a tour of the distillery is the perfect chance to see behind the stills of this world-renowned whisky.

Love whisky? Check out our guide to sailing Scotland's incredible distilleries! 

Share the sea with basking sharks

Set sail for the West Coast between May and September and you might just find yourself sharing its waters with the second biggest fish on the planet – the mighty basking shark. Don’t worry - these gentle giants only feed on plankton – but seeing them glide through the water, mouths agape, is a humbling, epic experience. 

Want to explore the wilder side of sailing Scotland? Take a look at our guide to Scotland's incredible wildlife!

Walk the halls of history at Urquhart Castle

Explore the rugged beauty and history of the Highlands in iconic Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. Home to over 1,000 years of history, the castle is where St Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence, and where the clan MacDonald, Lords of the Isles, struggled with the Crown for power. Sailing in its shadow on the deep, dark waters of Loch Ness is something every sailor should experience!

Looking to go castle hunting in 2021? Check out our guide to capturing Scotland's castles by boat!

Grab a dolphin escort

Scotland is home to some incredible wildlife, from comical puffins to majestic red deer, but few experiences make your heart stir in quite the same way as seeing a pod of dolphins off your bow. Make your way to the Moray Firth and a few of the area’s residency of more than 130 bottlenose dolphins might just pop along to say hello.

Search for storm-tossed treasure at Angus’ Lunan Bay

The pink-hued sands of Lunan Bay have attracted visitors for centuries - from Viking invaders to generations of holidaymakers, countless visitors have made their way to this beautiful beach on the Angus Coast. Overlooked by the crumbling ruin of Red Castle – King William the Lion’s 12th century fortress – Lunan Bay is magical in every sense of the word. It’s even said that agates and gem stones can sometimes be found glittering in the sands following a storm. Only in Scotland are the beaches paved with jewels!

Lunan Bay (c) Visit Scotland

Sink your toes into the Caribbean sands of Vatersay

The first time you catch a glimpse of the Isle of Vatersay’s East Beach and you might think you’ve strayed far, far off course and ended up in the Seychelles. Sweeping white sands, sparkling aquamarine waters and rolling hills in the distance – the bay is one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches and well worth the trip to the southernmost tip of the Outer Hebrides.

Vatersay (c) Paul Aspin

Explore the mythic waters of Loch Coruisk

A place of deep, dark water and soaring summits, Loch Coruisk is without doubt one of Scotland’s wild places. Circled by Skye’s iconic Black Cuillin mountains and only accessible via a silver slip of a river, standing on the banks of the ‘Cauldron of Waters’ is an epic experience. As Sir Walter Scott put it after a visit to Coruisk in 1814, 'Rarely human eye has known a scene so stern as that dread lake.’ Epic, eerie, and utterly unforgettable.


Catch a glimpse of The Kelpies

Clad in almost 1000 shimmering steel panels, standing the same height as six and a half double decker buses, and weighing more than 600 tonnes, The Kelpies are the world’s largest equine sculptures. Designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, The Kelpies form the gateway to the historic Forth & Clyde Canal in Grangemouth near Falkirk and serve as monumental tributes to the horse-powered heritage that was vital to the early industries of central Scotland. Visit at night to see the sculptures’ light show – it’ll take your breath away!

The Kelpies (c) Scottish Canals

Sail west and explore Sanna Bay

Set on mainland Britain’s most westerly point on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Sanna Bay offers magnificent scenery, rolling sands plucked straight from a picture postcard and breathtaking views of the Small Isles. Even dolphins seem taken by its spectacular landscapes and can often be found frolicking in its azure waters.

Sanna Bay (c) Moonshadow Yacht Charter Ltd