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Gourmet Chef services and Scottish Sailing Holidays


A look at our 2016 sailing season on Bluebird.

We had a fantastic 2016 season, sailing around the Scottish coast with some wonderful clients. Here’s a short video so you can see a little of what we got up to.

To book for 2017, phone Laurie on 07796 008147. Have a look at our itineraries for this year here.

Yacht Bluebird Sailing Cruises for 2017

Cruise around Scotland’s wonderful seascapes and discover long secluded sea lochs, dramatic mountains, endless sandy beaches, ever changing light and amazing wildlife. Enjoy short breaks, or a longer spell on board, experience the thrill of sailing, delicious cuisine with a focus on fresh shellfish and find time to relax and unwind away from the stresses of modern day life.

Our Skippered cruises run from April to October from ports and marinas in the Clyde, Mid Argyll, Oban, Mallaig and Gairloch.  Cruise dates are below but itineraries can be altered to suit guests’ requirements and could include magical places such as-

*Fingal’s cave, made famous by Mendelsons “Hebridean Overture”

*Sandaig, where Gavin Maxwell lived and was the author of “Ring of Bright Water”

*Balfours Bay, the temporary home of Robert Louis Stevenson which inspired him to write the classic novel “Kidnapped”

*Shark factory at the South end of Skye, subject of the book “Harpoon at a Venture” by Gavin Maxwell

*Eilean Donan Castle used for films, “Highlander”and “The World is not Enough”

Bluebird is an American built “J Boat” and has comfortable accommodation for up to five guests in quarters comprising two double cabins, (one en suite) and the main saloon which has two single berths. The yacht has a bright, cosy interior and is a fast cruiser, exciting to sail. Guests can choose to get involved in the day to day running of the yacht, helming, navigating, sail handling, or simply sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery. The cuisine aboard is a key feature- come sailing with us and enjoy superb healthy breakfasts, wonderful seafood lunches and delightful evening meals-using the best of Scotland’s fresh larder.



April 13th to 17th (4 nights) Easter public holiday Friday and Monday

“Spring cruising around Isle of Bute” Departs: Clyde Marina Returns: Clyde Marina

Sailing North West from Ardrossan into the Clyde estuary and through the enchanting Kyles of Bute then into the open waters of Loch Fyne. Fresh Scottish shellfish will feature on Bluebird menus as we can get supplies of scallops, lobster, langustines, crab, oysters , mussels, etc, from the gin clear waters of the area. Enjoy dramatic scenery and the “Sleeping Warrior” on the Arran skyline. The sheltered waters of Loch Fyne provide excellent sailing conditions.




April 18th to 25th (7 nights)

“Spring cruising around Isle of Arran”






April 27th to May 1st (4 nights)

“Passage from Clyde to Tayvallich” Departs: Clyde Marina Arrives: Tayvallich 

This passage cruise will visit the fishing town of Campbeltown via the beautiful holiday Isle of Arran before sailing round the Mull of Kintyre and the beach where Paul McCartney and the local pipe band played the famous song. Then on to ” Gods Isle ” commonly known as Gigha. Stunning cliff formations and views of Ireland can be enjoyed as well as an abundance of amazing marine life.


May 5th to 10th (5 nights)

“Whisky distillery cruise” Departs: Tayvallich Returns: Tayvallich

The islands of Jura and lslay are famous for whisky production and sailing to them is special. At the distilleries you can learn the magic of how the golden nectar is made by attending professional tours.

It is believed that the Irish monks first introduced the art of distillation to Islay, during the early fourteenth century. Due to the fact that Islay was a fertile island for growing barley, called bere in the old days, with excellent pure water sources and plenty of peat, the island had everything in favour to distill whisky and there are about 11 distilleries here all conveniently located around the coast. Enjoy the impressive sights of McArthur’s head lighthouse and the Paps of Jura.




May 19th to 21st (2 nights)

“Islands Peaks Race”





tm9May 24th to 28th (4 nights)

“Passage from Clyde to Oban” Departs: Clyde Marina Arrives: Oban


This is a passage cruise.  Enjoy the scenic coastline of Arran and Ailsa Craig, locally known as “Paddys Milestone” and famous for its high quality granite which is used to make curling stones, it is also a major gannet colony with an increasing number of puffins. Through the North Channel which separates Scotland from Ireland then explore the exotic gardens on Gigha and the ancient chapel on the Macormac isles. Some interesting tidal channels to navigate like the Cuan Sound at Luing and the Gulf of Corryvreckan (in settled weather).


tm10June 6th to 12th (6 nights)

“Towards St. Kilda” Depart: Mallaig Return: Mallaig


Enjoy exhilarating sailing passing Southern Sky with great views of the Cullin mountains and impressive sea cliffs then heading across the Minch to the Sound of Harris. Sightings of Minke whales and dolphins are common here then out to St Kilda which is a world heritage sight . Explore the fascinating historical township at Village Bay, cameras at the ready! These islands with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacs form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. The evacuation of its native population in 1930 brought to a close an extraordinary story of survival.


tm14June 15th to 24th (9 nights)

“Isle of Sky and outer Hebrides cruise” Depart: Mallaig Return: Mallaig

This holiday cruise will explore coastal Sky with its disused shark factory and interesting walking opportunities in Southern Sky at Loch Scavaig which provides access to  Coruisk, at the very heart of the Cuillin. This is the most magnificent of all Scottish freshwater lochs. Whilst you are very likely to get wet feet from the boggy terrain, this is a small price to pay for the superlative mountain scenery along the way. A tour of the Talisker distillery in Loch Harport can be arranged as well as visiting castles like Dunvegan on Sky and Kisimul on Barra. The salt white sandy beaches at Western Barra are a sight to behold with romantic long sunsets below the horizon of the open Atlantic Ocean.


July 1st to 7th  (6 nights)

“Small Isles Explorer” Depart: Dunstaffnage Marina Return: Dunstaffnage Marina 

Sail round Ardnamurchan, the most Westerly point of Britain after an overnight stop at the colourful town of Tobermory on Mull which boasts its own whisky distillery and has some amazing shops. Then into the waters surrounding the “Champagne ” Isles which are Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna know better as the Small isles. You will enjoy spectacular views of the Culin Mountains on Sky and sightings of Minke whales are possible as well as different species of dolphins. Explore Eigg and walk to the famous “singing sands”. Rum has a large red deer population and also wild horses not to mention the bizarre Victorian mansion called Kinloch Castle.  


tm2July 10th to 15th (5 nights)

“Around Isle of Mull” Depart: Tayvallich Return: Tayvallich

Sailing North West between Jura and Scarba where there is a hotspot for seafood. Mull is well worth visiting not just for its natural beauty and charm but for its amazing seafood like fresh mussels from Spelve , oysters from Croig and lobsters from Ulva. The Coastline has many sheltered harbours where peaceful nights at anchor can be enjoyed after a delicious dinner and a wee dram perhaps! Visiting Staffa and Fingal’s cave is on everyone’s bucket list as is going ashore at Iona to see the magnificent abbey. Exploring Erraid is interesting as it provided inspiration to Robert Louis Stevenson for his classic novel “Kidnapped”.




July 28th to August 4th (7 nights)

“Summer School Sailing”





tm12August 8th to 15th (7 nights)

“Outer Hebrides Explorer” Depart: Tayvallich Return: Tayvallich


This cruise will explore the Outer Hebrides from Barra to The Uists including Eriskay where you can see an original bottle from the wreck of SS Politician which inspired the story “Whisky Galore”. There will be time for walks ashore and a chance to take photos of the salt white beaches en and a plethora of natural fauna and bird life.Be inspired by the stunning sea views and endless skyscapes or simply soak up the amazing Outer Hebridean atmosphere on one of the myriad of main and outlying islands. Then sailing East to the fertile Isle of Canna and to the more manacured waters of the Sound of Mull.


tm13August 20th to 25th (5 nights)

“Inner Hebrides Explorer” Depart: Tayvallich Return: Tayvallich

Sailing through the Sound of Islay to Loch Tarbert on Jura which offers an interesting cruising area itself with several anchorages and interesting walks ashore. Colonsay could be the next stop and hiring bikes from the hotel to explore the island and the see the breakers at Killoran Beach and the famous gardens at Colonsay House. Across to the Ross of Mull where there are some great beaches and interesting history especially at Erraid used as a base when building Dubh Artach lighthouse in 1865.


tm15August 29th to September 2nd (4 nights)

“Gigha and Islay Explorer” Depart: Tayvallich Return: Tayvallich

The short sail from Loch Sween to Gigha is often downwind and if needing to wait for a favourable tide Loch Na Keil is an ideal anchorage with its interesting early Christian chapel housing ancient stone carvings. Gigha has its own micro climate and often enjoys fine weather when on the mainland  it is poor. Bikes can be hired from the local shop to explore the island. Then West to Islay and the small island of Texa , inhabited only by wild goats and otters. The whisky distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are nearby on the Islay coast and provide ideal ideal overnight anchorages.  


tm17September 21st to 25th (4 nights)

“Jura Music Festival” Depart: Tayvallich Return: Tayvallich


Exploring the McCormaig isles near Loch Sween and castle Sween takes you back into history to the Lord of the Isles period in 1376 and St. Columba period of 570. The medieval chapel, dedicated to St Cormac, is close to the anchorage in the northern part of Eileen Mor as well as a cross. The chapel is relatively well preserved although it was once used as an ale-house and illicit still. The saint was buried nearby. To the south beyond the two standing crosses, one of which is a replica, there is a cave which was an anchorite’s retreat. This deep, damp grotto has two 8th century crosses incised on its rock walls. Outside are the ruins of a second chapel proving the veneration in which the island was held.

 Sailing South West to Craighouse on Jura to enjoy live shoreside entertainment at the Jura Music Festival. The event attracts top Scottish musicians including folk bands . Ceilidh dancing and open microphone sessions can be enjoyed.


tm16October 5th to 9th (4 nights)

“Passage to Clyde from Tayvallich” Depart: Tayvallich Arrive: Clyde Marina

This five day passage cruise will include a stopover at Ardminish Bay on Gigha before heading South past Machrihanish Bay , famous for its links golf course. Round the headland on the South end of the Mull peninsula with stunning cliffs and sightings of marine life including seals, gannets or “Solan Goose” and great skuas or “Bonxies” then into Campbeltown. The “Sleeping Warrior” on the Northern skyline of Arran is impressive as is the modern marina at Portavadie in Loch Fyne. Then sailing through the enchanting waters of the Kyles of Bute with the history of the Vikings burning their ships after their defeat at Largs in 1263. The cruise will end at Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast.

NB – All cruises start at 10 am on the first day and end at 5 pm on the last day.

The cruise itineraries may be changed due to adverse weather or the safety, comfort and interests of guests. 

Prices from £145.00 to £165.00 per person per day and include all meals, snacks, douvet bedding, towels, wet weather clothing, fuel and berthing/mooring fees. Alcoholic drinks are not included, but are available onboard to buy at cost.

TasteMarine Shortbread

These are the stages of making the TasteMarine shortbread. Simple ingredients of butter, flour and sugar turn into the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.




Probably the most popular accompaniment for tea or coffee that I have made in 30 years of professional cookery.


Get your orders in for Christmas and New Year now!

Phone Laurie on 07796 008147 or email info@tastemarine.com

Phil and Ali

The Details, Cruise 16 of the 2016 season:

-23rd to 28th August

-106 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Mark


The mission for this trip was to get to the Jura Music Festival as the star attraction this year was Phil Cunningham and Ali Bain, masters of blending traditional music with fiddle and accordion.

The forecasted winds for the next few days were quite strong so our first day was planned for a fast short passage from Tayvallich to Crinan taking advantage of the Southerly breeze. After dinner aboard and a drink in the Crinan Hotel we enjoyed a peaceful night moored in the harbour.

We left Crinan the next day to catch the tide back down the Sound of Jura and used the engine while stowing the tender on the foredeck to reduce drag when it was being towed. Conditions were quite difficult as the wind blew against the tide driven water going in the opposite direction, it was wet and uncomfortable so we took shelter in Carsaig Bay until the wind moderated and moved more to the West. By this time we made faster headway under sail as the sea was more manageable. When arriving at Craighouse for the music festival we berthed alongside the pontoon which was just a short walk away from the concert so with some haste we were able to join the happy audience who were, by this time spell bound by the exquisite musicianship, sweetness of tone and emotional playing of the musical duo that is Phil Cunningham and Ali Bain, both national treasures indeed!

We were fortunate to meet my daughter Sheila at the festival along with many friends which made our efforts in sailing there all the more worthwhile.

By next day we continued to enjoy the Jura Music Festival and in particular the “open mike session “ when crew from Bluebird and Moonshadow got together on stage and did a blues number which went down well with the audience.

By lunchtime the weather had moderated and with the wind on our starboard quarter, the sails powered up, sun sparkling on the gin clear water and the coffee hot we set sail to go North and ended up sailing onto a mooring in front of the Loch Melfort Hotel, what a great day!

After the second attempt to head back to Tayvallich , and Bluebirds home port we reached our final destination tired but fully satisfied after an adventurous few days.

Thank you again Mark for joining us on Bluebird for another great cruise, roll on next season.


Wild and Woolly

The Details, Cruise 15 of the 2016 season:

-30th to 31st August

-50 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, the Groom family and Mick.


We had been looking forward to sailing again with the Grooms and this time they brought along their friend Mick.

After the crew joined Bluebird at her home port of Tayvallich we motored down Loch Sween against a Southerly wind then hoisted sail where the Loch met the tidal waters of the Sound of Jura and the magnificent hills of the Paps of Jura came into full few. With the tide flooding North we made good headway towards the Gulf of Corrievreckan where Obe expertly took charge of spinnaker operations. As forecasted winds were on the increase we dropped the spinnaker before entering the Sound of Luing and with full mainsail and genoa we powered up the Sound through the strong tides under the skilled helmsmanship of Noah. The crews confidence quickly grew when sailing through the narrow channel at the entrance to Loch Spelve on the island of Mull. This Loch is used commercially to produce rope grown mussels. After picking up a mooring under sail we went ashore to collect another crew member and also 5kg of fresh mussels which were enjoyed aboard with some chilled Muscadet sur lis.

As dawn broke the next day we knew that we were in for some exhilarating sailing conditions as we sailed from the mooring and out of Loch Spelve under full canvas, the youthful and enthusiastic crew loving every minute. At lunch time we moored in Seil Sound after a fast bouncy sail across the Lynn of Lorne and through the notorious Cuan Sound which separates the islands of Luing and Seil.

With a strong South wind blowing the sail plan was reduced to trysail and storm jib which proved to be an ideal choice in the increasing wind conditions. After some exciting sailing heading South we arrived at Crinan Harbour, satisfied and happy with our efforts.

Thanks to all who joined Bluebird for this short sailing trip, great sailing with great company. You are more than welcome to join Bluebird again next season for more sailing adventures.


Artistry on the High Seas

The Details, Cruise 14 of the 2016 season:

-8th to 12th August

-53 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Judy, Mark, Mathew (Matt)


Our guests arrived at lunch time and embarked from the pontoon which is conveniently situated just beside the Oban Yacht Club. It was interesting to note that Judys baggage included artists materials, (brushes, paints, sketch pads, etc) . It was quite a thrill knowing that we had an artist aboard for the next few days.

After the safety briefing we cast our lines and headed down the Sound of Kerrera to Puilladobhrain, (pronounced Puldoran), a short distance South in order for everyone to find their sea legs! After dropping anchor our guests went ashore for a walk and Judy found a spot where she could do some sketching. The diving kit was again put to good use to clear a jelly fish from the cooling water inlet for the engine.

Heading across to Mull the next day we spotted the well known 18th century humpback bridge popularly known as “the bridge over the Atlantic” this bridge spans the water between the Isle of Seil and the mainland. We enjoyed sailing against a fresh breeze up the Sound of Mull and Matts enthusiasm, experience and agility was an asset to the crew as we tacked upwind arriving at our destination of Tobermory at 1600 hrs. Dinner was prepared while the guests explored shoreside and no doubt exercised some retail therapy in the interesting shops which add to the charm of Tobermory. A peaceful night was enjoyed lying alongside the marina berth next to the famous Dutch racing yacht “ Flyer”.

After breakfast the following day we sailed Bluebird across to Loch Sunart where we were treated to some close encounters with a large group of dolphins. They mimicked the boats speed through the water perfectly as Bluebirds speed changed in the variable breeze. After a relaxing lunch stop in Loch Drambui and without starting the engine we drifted out through the narrow entrance again with dolphins all around as they tried to catch the fish leaving the loch. Then the breeze picked up a little enabling us to sail down the 18 mile stretch of the Sound of Mull to Loch Aline on the mainland coast where we spent a quiet and cosy night sheltering from the rain outside at the delightful small marina with all its modern facilities.

Due to boisterous weather conditions the next day we reduced sail and went round Duart point with its impressive 13th century castle perched on top then with some careful pilotage managed to sail through the narrows and into Loch Spelve. This is the place for fresh mussels and as our crew were fans of moules mariniers we sent a shore party to procure some newly processed rope grown mussels harvested from the Loch earlier in the day.

Day five dawned wet and windy with high winds forecast and poor visability so we delayed our departure from Loch Spelve until conditions moderated. Judy was content to do some more painting while the skipper entertained the troops with some live guitar music and song. The return sail back to Oban went well and the charter guests disembarked at the pontoon again.

Thank you Judy, Mark and Mathew for signing up on Bluebird this year. The cruise was truly amazing and made so much more enjoyable by your company.


Summer School Sailing 2016

The Details, Cruises 5 to 13 of the 2016 season:

-9th July to 7th August

-448 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Calum, ( 30 schoolboys with average age of 13 years)


Gordonstoun International Summer School chartered Bluebird for this period which consisted of eight three day cruises and one four day cruise, each trip ran between Dunstaffnage Marina and Ardfern Yacht Centre.

Our crews included boys from; Italy, Russia, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, and France. To help with communication the boys were challenged to speak English as much as possible, this made for some entertaining banter as we discovered that some English words had different meanings in other languages .

These happy days were spent sailing between Dunstaffnage and Ardfern where crew changes took place and between these ports we visited sheltered anchorages, remote islands, some enchanting sea Loch’s and narrow tidal inlets. Our young international crew were excited to see an abundance of local wild life which included; common and grey seals, dolphins, porpoises, sea eagles, sea otters, basking sharks, puffins and gulls. We also enjoyed impromptu dinghy rowing races along with crews from other yachts in sheltered bays with no wind and blazing sunshine.

Thank you all for your individual contribution on Bluebird during the Summer School odyssey of 2016.


To Sea with the Rainbow Nation

The Details, Cruise 4 of the 2016 season:

-19th to 23rd June

-116 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Robin, Celia, Carry


Our South African guests embarked on the yacht at Tayvallich, which is one of the most sheltered natural harbours on the West coast of Scotland before sailing South down Loch Sween and into Kilmory Bay, fringed by its wonderful sandy beach. Under full sail in a moderate breeze we had Bluebird dancing across the Sound of Jura at a good pace and into the aquamarine waters of the Small Isles which provide a sheltered lagoon for visiting leisure craft.

Emboldened by the brisk sail across from the mainland to Jura on the previous day and the prospect of some great sailing weather, our intrepid crew enthusiastically helped sail Bluebird through the Sound of Islay and across open sea to the enchanting Island of Colonsay which is famous for aquaculture and in particular the growing of oysters. This takes place in sheltered tidal waters of the Strand situated between Colonsay and Oronsay. High quality Honey is also produced in this area. These ingredients were put to good use in Bluebirds galley when used in hot sticky carrot pudding and honeyed Greek yoghurt along with a starter of grilled oysters with a pesto/Parmesan crust accompanied by a glass of Colonsay stout, (brewed on the island).

Colonsay has its own micro climate and enjoys fine dry weather with minimal rain fall due to its relatively low sky line compared with the higher islands of the Hebrides like; Mull, Skye, Rhum to name but a few.

The next three days were spent exploring the “ nooks and crannies” of Loch Tarbert before sailing East again via the Gulf of Corryvreckan and returning to Loch Sween and Tayvallich.

Typically the Scottish weather resembled “four seasons in one day” during some days of this cruise. A feature which added to the overall magic for our guests from South Africa who departed Bluebird with some lasting memories. Please return soon, Robin, Celia and Carry from the Rainbow Nation. You will always be welcome to join us again on Bluebird for more Scottish magic!


Magnificent Mull Meanderings 2016

The Details, Cruise 3 of the 2016 season:

-9th to 12th of June

-103 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Keith, Iver, Wendy, Iona and Henry.


The old Borrow Boats pontoon at Oban continues to provide a great facility and is now looked after by Oban Community Berthing. Embarking Keith, Iver and their associated kit bags aboard here could not have been easier.

After motoring across to Mull in light fickle winds the anchor was dropped right beside the impressive 13th century Duart Castle where Iver enjoyed a long lunchtime swim in clear and calm water. Sailing up the Sound of Mull to Tobermory then round Mulls Northern headland and into Croig made for some interesting pilotage in poor visibility.

These efforts were justified after meeting an old friend who gave us daisy fresh lobsters and oysters straight from the sea. Arinagour on Coll was the evenings destination and a delicious Seafood supper was followed by pints of home brew in the excellent Arinagour hotel.

The intangible draw of Mull took us back there when we sailed to Fionaphort which is opposite Iona then into Bull Hole where Bluebird was moored for the night.

On the final day we were joined onboard with Wendy, Iona and Henry and with fair winds and sunshine we sailed to Staffa and enjoyed some photo opportunities at Fingal’s cave at close quarters before a lunch stop and swim while swinging at anchor at Inch Kenneth Island. The name comes from St Kenneth who was a follower of St Columba and he founded a monastery on the island. During the return sail to Iona the children, Iona and Henry both took turns at steering Bluebird in a fine following breeze.

An enjoyable third cruise of the season was had by all culminating on the final day with fine weather, great company and a joyous family atmosphere. Thank you Keith and the Salvesen family.


Mull of Kintyre, Sea I desire (For Macmillan Cancer Charity)

The Details, Cruise 2 of the 2016 season:

-25th to 30th May

-150 nautical miles

-Crew: Laurie, Veronica, Kevin, Lisa, Frank


Under the imposing stature of Ben Nevis we welcomed our four guests aboard Bluebird and before casting our ropes we were treated to the sight, at close quarters of the world famous Dutch ocean racer, “Flyer” which crossed our bows then headed South West down the Linnie Loch where we followed along in hot pursuit along with two other yachts.

Fast downwind sailing in brilliant sunshine was the order of the day which ended at Oban marina. During the following morning a moderate breeze pushed Bluebird South, through the tidal gate at Cuan Sound to Crinan then down the Sound of Jura to Loch Na Keal where we dropped anchor for the night. A shore visit was arranged to visit the 13th century Kilmory Chapel with its early Christian carved stone slabs.

Clearing the higher coastline of the mainland next day, the sun appeared while enjoying perfect downwind sailing conditions to the island of Gigha which is Gaelic for Gods Isle. The island is owned by the resident population and they have provided modern berthing facilities for visiting yachts at Ardminish Bay as well as a friendly welcome when ashore.

Continuing with settled weather we had an easy passage rounding the notorious Mull of Kintyre with our now well seasoned crew taking the wheel and trimming sails. A favourable tide helped Bluebird arrive at her destination of Campbeltown by mid afternoon where there is an excellent marina. At the South end of the town there is a commemorative statue of Linda McCartney in a small managed garden behind the council office. This is well worth visiting.

Arran was the next port of call before heading to Troon, our final destination.

Thank you Lisa, Veronica, Kevin and Frank. It was great to have you aboard!



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