Outer Hebrides and St Kilda Expedition

2022 DATES

16th-22nd July – FULLY BOOKED

Price: £1450 per person (+booking fee)

 FUTURE TRIPS – Please contact us to register your interest

 The Outer Hebrides – A Wild Swimmers Paradise!

Join SwimWild on an unforgettable swimming expedition as we explore the islands that make up the Northern Outer Hebrides. Our itinerary for the week will be completely flexible and we will swim amongst some of Britain’s most spectacular landscapes, all whilst living on board the MV Cuma, a former scientific research vessel.

With their white sandy beaches, remote coastlines and incredible wildlife, the Outer Hebrides have been described as some of the wildest and most beautiful islands on earth – a paradise for wild swimmers! Based on the wonderful MV Cuma, captained by expert skipper Murdo Macdonald, we will have all week to swim and explore these spectacular islands.

Whatever the weather, this will be a truly epic expedition and an exciting opportunity for adventure swimming, wildlife watching and exploring the incredible coastline and islands that the Outer Hebrides have to offer.

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Start/Finish Point – Miavaig, Isle of Lewis, HS2 9HE

The boat will be available to board from midday on the first day (Saturday). A light lunch is available onboard on arrival. We will depart Miavaig around 3pm-4pm when everyone has settled in.

The weather will play a major part in the week’s itinerary and will largely dictate what happens each day. St Kilda is notoriously difficult to visit and we certainly cannot guarantee that we will make it out to these remote islands. The beauty of having a week aboard the MV Cuma is that Murdo can tailor our schedule around the weather to give us the best chance of making it out to the legendary island archipelago.

On the last day (Friday), we will disembark after breakfast so that people can get back to Stornoway ferry terminal in time for the lunchtime ferry departure.

A sample day on the boat –

Every day on the MV Cuma is different, and ultimately dictated by the weather/sea conditions, but this gives you a rough idea of what to expect.

Pre-breakfast swim (completely optional) – Normally just a short dip, either round the boat or to the shore and back, likely to be between 200 to 800m
Breakfast – Cereal, porridge or full cooked
Morning swim – Coastal swim. Between 1km and 2.5km depending on location/conditions.
Lunch – Packed lunch, to be eaten onshore or on the boat
Afternoon – Time to explore an island (either swim to/from the island or get a lift to shore in the small boat). Alternatively, there may be a crossing from one island to another with another short swim on arrival.
Late afternoon – Hot drinks on the boat
Dinner and an evening to relax on the boat

Islands/destinations visited on previous trips –

Scarp (2018 + 2019)
Loch Reasort (2018)
Taransay (2019)
The Monach Isles (2019)
St Kilda Archipelago (2019)
Great and Little Bernera (2018)
Pabaigh Mor and Pabaigh Beg (2018)

Who can participate in this trip?

The focus of this expedition is to explore these stunning islands, swim through caves and discover beautiful beaches, rather than to swim long distances. There are likely to be multiple short swims per day, as well as some longer swims, up to 2.5km. You can choose to just join in with the shorter swims and dips, or participate in every swim. If you have any doubt about your suitability to swim on this trip, get in touch with us and we can discuss the options.

I swim, but my partner doesn’t. Can they come?

Absolutely! If they are a walker, wildlife enthusiast or just wish to experience the majesty of the Outer Hebrides, they are welcome! Contact us before booking to discuss the suitability of the trip.

Things to consider –

  • Sea swimming – All swims on this expedition will be in the sea, sometimes in choppy conditions and often in deep water. Experience of sea swimming is necessary before booking this trip.
  • Swim distances – While we are happy for people to only participate in the shorter swims, if you would like to get the most out of your time on the expedition we recommend that you can swim 1km confidently and continuously in open water. Longer swims of up to 2.5km will be available for those wanting to swim longer distances (depending on sea conditions).
  • Water temperature – Likely to be around 13 – 14 degrees Celsius at this time of year. You will need to be acclimatised to swimming in these kinds of temperatures. Wetsuits are strongly recommended but not compulsory.
  • Walking/Fitness – This is predominantly a swimming expedition, however there will also be opportunities to explore the islands on foot. This may involve walking up to a highpoint of an island to enjoy the views or walking across an island from one side to another before swimming back to the boat. Some of the walks may be across rough ground.
  • Seasickness – Seasickness can be a very real prospect whilst living aboard a boat, particularly for the longer crossings between islands which can last for up 5 hours. Please be prepared for this. Seasickness medication is available from pharmacies or via prescription from your doctor.
  • Ladders/Access – In order to climb in and out of the boat and down to the cabins on the boat you will need to climb backwards down steep ladders.
What's included?
  • Accommodation in basic but comfortable 2-berth shared cabins onboard the MV Cuma. Please note that due to the limited number of cabins on board, there are no single supplements available.
  • All food from the time we board the Cuma, to the time we disembark.
  • Safety cover, guiding and coaching from two experienced, passionate and knowledgeable SwimWild swim guides.
  • Plenty of fun and good memories!
What's not included?
  • Travel to and from Miavaig, Isle of Lewis, to meet your guides and the MV Cuma. However, we can give you assistance with organising this if needed.
  • Swim equipment, wetsuits and personal outdoor gear.
  • Alcoholic drinks
How much does it cost?

£1450 per person (+ 6% booking fee), with a non-refundable 25% deposit payable on booking.

The balance for this trip is payable 8 weeks prior to departure. Please read our Terms and Conditions.

Further Information


Arrival – Saturday

The MV Cuma will depart Miavaig in Loch Roag (Isle of Lewis, HS2 9HE) in the afternoon after everyone has arrived. The departure time is likely to be 3pm-4pm, in order to allow people to get the 10:30-13:00 Ullapool – Stornoway ferry. It takes around 45 minutes to drive from Stornoway to Miavaig. This will take you down to the harbour where there is plenty of space for parking. If you are not bringing a vehicle please let us know so we can arrange a pick up from Stornoway.

Departure – Friday

We will return to Miavaig Harbour and disembark after breakfast. This should give people plenty of time to get back to Stornoway for the 14:00 ferry.

MV Cuma & Island Cruising

The MV Cuma was initially constructed for scientific marine research. The Cuma’s skipper, Murdo Macdonald has a lifetime’s knowledge of the Outer Hebrides’ seaboard. Depending on your interests and the weather conditions, Murdo will choose the best route.

Comfortable accommodation is provided for 10 clients in two-berth cabins each with hot and cold water. There is also separate crew accommodation. There is a large deck saloon with ample seating and large viewing windows. There are also three toilets and two showers. The accommodation is centrally heated throughout. The galley is equipped with gas cookers, microwave, fridge and deep freeze. There is also a tumble dryer provided – great for drying swimming costumes!

Food/Drink – For breakfast, a variety of cereals are provided and there is a choice of any cooked breakfast up to a full Scottish. Pack lunches are also supplied. Main meals are provided in the evening. Alcohol is not available onboard but there is no problem with bringing your own. If you are getting picked up there is no problem stopping for supplies whilst at Stornoway.

For more information on the MV Cuma, take a look at the Island Cruising website, here: www.island-cruising.com

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