Sessions and Sail 2023 - Bluegrass/Americana
June 25th - July 1st
Price: £1295 per person, including all food, accommodation, sessions and workshops.
Join us aboard Lady of Avenel for the first ever Sessions and Sail Americana voyage!
This is a trip for lovers of Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, Swing and American styles in particular. Mandolinist/fiddler Pepita Emmerichs and guitarist Theo Barnard will be aboard all week as sail-with tutors to help make sure the tunes keep going.
Sail with us from Mallaig as we explore the stunning waters south of Skye, helping set sails and steering the ship; playing tunes on deck as we sail along; or joining in sessions in Lady of Avenel's comfortable saloon or a venue ashore in the evenings.
We will visit anchorages and sail the coast around the Small Isles, Morar and Arisaig.
Sign up now for a unique trip of sailing and music!
This fishing town is where you will join the ship; a harbour that gives access to some of the most beautiful islands and coasts of Scotland.
This spectacular bay at the 'back o the Cuillins' is only viable in certain weather conditions. If we are able to visit, Loch Coruisk and the River Scavaig , nestled under this spectacular mountain range, is awe inspiring.
Famed for its spectacular mountain ridge, or Sgurr in Gaelic, Eigg became in the 1990s one of the first Scottish Islands to be bought out by its own community. Today, the island is famed as being a self-sufficient, creative place with its own renewable-powered electricity grid, having a popular summer festival and a vibrant community life alongside the crofting and traditions that run deep.
Centred on the sheltered shore of Loch nan Ceall on the west coast, Arisaig is a pretty village boasting superb scenery.
This lovely collection of largely white-painted buildings scattered between the harbour and the line of the road to Morar is situated on an inlet in the Morar peninsula at the western end of the legendary Road to the Isles.
The landscape is characterised by a rocky coast, blue seas and particularly white sand which all make the village a good base for exploring the scenic surrounding countryside. The views out to the islands of Rum and Eigg can be breathtaking, especially at sunset.
In the stunning Loch Nevis, the village of Inverie is considered the UK's most isolated village. On the Knoydart Peninsula, and reachable only by sea or by a long hike over the hills, we have enjoyed many good sessions in the famous Old Forge Inn or in the Knoydart Community Hall.
Accommodation on board
You will be allocated a berth in one of our six double cabins. For solo travellers, cabins will be allocated on a same-sex basis; if two people travelling together wish to share a cabin, we recommend booking early to ensure availability.
There are two showers and three toilets in the accommodation; these are shared.
Meals are prepared in the modern upper deck galley; these are of a high standard and prepared by our own chef. Meals, tea and coffee are included in the price of the trip.
The upper deck saloon provides an ideal place to socialise and, with the tables cleared away, will be the perfect session space for the evenings we spend aboard. Should the weather be fair enough, we may be able to play sessions on deck.
The following itinerary is a only a suggestion of how the trip may take form; all destinations are subject to change, are weather dependant, and are at the discretion of the Captain.
You meet the ‘Lady of Avenel’ alongside the pier in Mallaig harbour, where the crew will welcome you aboard; you are given a tour of the ship and a briefing from the Captain; and are shown to your cabin where you can stow your gear and settle in for the week.
We depart the pier in the early afternoon and sail out towards the south of Skye, rounding the south tip of the Sleat peninsula before heading towards the Cuillin Mountains and Loch Scavaig, anchoring in the early evening.
After a drink on deck and a tasty dinner we clear the tables in the Lady’s saloon and get to know each other over a few tunes and songs.
After breakfast, we run dinghies ashore, giving the opportunity to walk (or swim) at Loch Coruisk. between the mountans and possibly Britain's shortest river, that runs from the loch into the sea.
Back aboard the Lady, we raise anchor and sail for Eigg, where we have the opportunity to walk ashore and see this verdant island, under community ownership since 1997. Musicians from the island join us for tunes in the Community Hall in the evening.
From Eigg we sail in the morning, rounding Ardnamurchan Point and heading up Loch Sunart. This is a 30 mile passage, so we are at sea most of the day. By now you are becoming familiar with the vessel and this is a great chance to learn some more about how the sails work. Our tutors run a workshop in the Lady's saloon as we make our way round; we pay sessions inside and, if the weather is dry, on deck.
We anchor at Salen in the evening and the tunes continue after dinner.
We explore the village at Salen in the morning; by lunchtime it is time to sail on.
We sail back round Ardnamurchan, anchoring in the evening at a sheltered spot - the bay at Muck, or Sanna Bay by the Ardnamurchan lighthouse (a legendary spot for dolphon-spotting) if the sea conditions allow.
Today we head for Arisaig. The channel here is tidal, but with high water at 1530 we can head up by 1200. This area is famous for its white beaches, sapphire blue water and many many rocky islands; we reach the lagoon off Arisaig and drop an anchor.
We are joined here by a shore-based tutor who comes out to the Lady to play some tunes with us.
In the evening we go ashore to one of Arisaig's pubs for a few tunes.
We have the morning to walk ashore in Arisaig, go to the beach, or pluck some tunes aboard the Lady.
By 1200 there is enough water in the channel to head out; we sail up to Loch Nevis, tying up at the Inverie Pier; there we enjoy some last-night tunes in the famous Old Forge Pub.
It’s the last morning; we depart Inverie and head across the loch to to Mallaig, having breakfast together on the way. A last tune or a farewell before leaving the Lady and setting off on the next adventure!