Monday 24th - Friday 28th April 2023. Sessions and Sail welcomes musicians of any ability, with musical sessions on board and ashore from some of Shetland's finest musicians, and fantastic sailing and scenery in between.
Boarding 10am 24th April, Lerwick
Disembarking 12 noon 28th April, Lerwick
Due to the success of his first Sessions and Sail Shetland experience in 2022, we are delighted to be working with Barry Nisbet again in 2023! A highly accomplished Shetland musician and sailor, Barry's Sessions and Sail experience was a highlight of 2022, with excellent sessions and great sailing and company.
This trip has been timed to link in with the 41st Shetland Folk Festival and we hope to take in a Folk Festival concert on the Thursday night, before you disembark in Lerwick on Friday, as the Festival gets into full swing for the weekend.
As part of the Sessions & Sail experience, an onboard cook will prepare all your meals with fresh local produce. So all you have to do is enjoy the sailing and musical experience.
Below is an example itinerary of how the trip may take form. Please note: all destinations are subject to change, are weather dependant and are at the discretion of the Skipper.
You meet the ‘Swan’ alongside the pier in Lerwick, where the crew welcome you aboard; you are given a tour of the ship and a briefing.
We leave the harbour and set the sails, heading north out the ‘north mooth’ of Lerwick Harbour. A three hour sail takes us to the sheltered anchorage at Brough, near the village of Nesting.
There may be time for a walk ashore, or some seal or otter spotting from the rocks; then, after a warm dinner aboard the Swan, we get to know each other with a music session in the cosy saloon.
We leave our anchorage in the morning, sailing north towards the island of Yell. You will be encouraged to join in as we set sails and manoeuvre the ship guided by the professional crew. Expect a good workout if you find yourself on one of the Swan's mainsail haliards!
Haliard work is voluntary and some may prefer to sit back and watch the action, or steer the ship while the crew do the heavier work.
Tying up in the afternoon at the Burravoe pier, we go ashore to the local Hall for a workshop/tune learning session with the first of our local tutors.
We have an early dinner onboard before heading back to the hall for an evening playing tunes with local musicians and meeting the wider community.
From Burravoe we sail west into Yell Sound, a hotspot for spotting otters.
Orcas are also regularly seen in Yell Sound; we cannot promise sightings but there is one pod that almost permanently cruises Shetland waters. Other pods, along with humpback whales, minkes and other cetaceans are often seen in this area.
We sail up the Sound to North Roe, in the Northmavine area of Shetland. Anchoring here, we go ashore and join the local community for another great night of music.
With the Shetland Folk Festival beginning today, we manoeuvre the Swan out of the bay at North Roe and set the sails headed for the concert. If the weather is good, we may play some tunes on deck as we sail along, or we may just keep an eye out for wildlife as we sail past the islands of Yell Sound, also passing Lunna House, site of the ‘Shetland Bus’ Norwegian resistance effort during world war 2.
We anchor at Vidlin Voe and are taken by minibus to a village hall where the first of the several rural concerts will be held. There we hear a selection of the world-class music the Folk Festival committee have brought to Shetland in 2023.
We travel back to the Swan after the concert where we wind down with a few more tunes before calling it a night,
With our ears still full of the music from the night before, and no doubt still debating what was the highlight of the concert, we sail down the coast and back towards Lerwick, arriving in the afternoon into a town filled with musicians and festival-goers.
In 2022 we did this with sails set and fiddles in full-tilt on the deck of the Swan, a great way to announce our arrival!
In Lerwick we say our farewells to the Swan and our newly forged crew; however, for those of us staying around for the rest of the folk festival, we will probably bump in to each other frequently over the coming days.
When you come aboard the Swan you are embarking on a 'hands on' adventure. Play an active role in sailing and working the ship, build friendships with your crew mates, develop new skills and take in stunning scenery. Sailing trips range from a half day to 14 days and no previous sailing experience is required. Private charter also available by request.