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Orca (killer whale) and fulmar
Scotland © Dawn Menzies

Northern Isles Cruise (southbound)– Shetland, Fair Isle and Orkney to Inverness with Land Tour

From £2880 per adult

Departure days

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S

July — July

A unique one-way mid-summer adventure cruise, departing from and exploring the coastline of Shetland followed by visiting Fair Isle and the distinctive landscape of Orkney before finishing in the Highlands at Inverness.

Dates: 10th to 19th July 2023

A unique one-way mid-summer adventure cruise, departing from and exploring the coastline of Shetland followed by visiting Fair Isle and the distinctive landscape of Orkney before finishing in the Highlands at Inverness. To explore even further and take advantage of the wealth of wildlife opportunities on these far-flung islands, this cruise will be met by our sister company SKYEFARI who will provide wildlife land tours as part of the adventure in its 4×4 minibus. We are also pleased to say we will be joined by Chris Gomersall, a regular guide with us and award-winning wildlife photographer. We will be reaching destinations where few others venture, in the safety and comfort of our ex-search and rescue vessel. We can expect to encounter seabird colonies, cetaceans (hopefully including orca) and some ancient history and of course isolated and remote islands. 

Depart Lerwick, Shetland – Arrive Inverness (Flights to Lerwick available from around the country including Inverness).

Destination:  Guests will be welcomed aboard MV Hjalmar Bjørge in Lerwick at 1500 on Monday 10th July. The itinerary for this expedition-like cruise is not fixed, but our intended passage will be taking us firstly around the iconic Shetland isles, followed by moving south to focus on the birding mecca of Fair Isle before arriving to explore the historic Orkney Islands. From here we will voyage down the east coast of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross before completing our voyage in the Highland capital of Inverness. 

With Fair Isle one of our main destinations, we will encounter the seabird colonies at their most busy with adults feeding maturing young. There is a high chance of viewing cetaceans including minke whales and a variety of dolphins as well as the possibility of orca, humpback, and fin whales. 

Highlights: Shetland is another world with well-known islands like Yell, Unst (truly the end of the road) and the Hermaness National Nature Reserve and its important seabird colonies; Mousa Broch and the storm petrel colony; Muckle Flugga and its iconic lighthouse; magnificent Fair Isle with its bird observatory and self-sufficient community, long known as a place to spot rare birds blown off-course from lands far away to the East and West. Then it’s onwards to Orkney and its ancient history with iconic islands like Hoy and South Ronaldsay, plus even more seabird and cetacean hotspots. There will be likely encounters with cetacean, notably orca for which the Northern Isles have become a major location for spotting them, not to mention puffins, gannets, and a myriad of other seabirds, seals and otters.

Contact details

Northern Light Cruising Company
14 Francis Street
IV40 8DT
Small Group (1-16)
Adventure Island Hopping Landscapes Outdoor Activities Photography Walking Wildlife

COVID-19 facilities

  • Advance booking essential
  • Capacity limit
  • Deep cleaning between visitors
  • Outside seating

Tour prices


  • £2880 Per Adult


Tour company information

Northern Light Cruising Company

The Northern Light Cruising Company is based in Oban and offers scenic and wildlife-watching adventures cruises around Scotland's Highlands and Islands, primarily the Inner and Outer Hebrides including the favourites of St Kilda, Mull and the Isle Skye. Enjoy a small-boat (11 guests max), slow-travel experience as you island-hop some of Scotland's most beautiful, historic and remote locations. Meanwhile enjoy the whales, dolphins, seals, otters, eagles and seabirds like puffins and gannets, and explore quiet locations on shore excursions each day. Private charter is available - please ask.

Opening times

Our Scottish cruising season is from April to October.
Booking office open year-round for enquiries.
We are part of the Hebridean Adventures family.

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