In July 2011 Cape Farewell embarked on a month-long expedition by boat across the Scottish Islands, bringing the notion and experience of expedition home to the UK, with an exploration of island ecologies and cultures, and of the strategies for sustainable and resilient futures being implemented across the Scottish Isles. More ›

The Crew

The expedition crew of 40 includes island artists, storytellers, film makers, playwrights, architects, designers, musicians, community leaders, social scientists, ecologists, marine biologists, oceanographers, poets, acclaimed Gaelic singers and a chef.
Meet the crew ›

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Video highlights

Watch video highlights from the expedition ›

Heisker (Monach Islands)

Monach Islands
Swam this morning off Ceann Ear, one of the Monach islands (Heisker) torn from North Uist by centuries of storm and broken into an archipelago of white shell sand beaches, dunes and flowering machair. We travelled in a day from the dark vertical near-impossibility of St Kilda to the horizontal stillness and limitless skies of... Read more ›

Out of the Mist

St Kilda
We reached St Kilda after an eight-hour sail from Lochmaddy in 28 knot winds, on a grey-black sea wrinkled, serrated, swollen and rolling. Some of us bowled over by seasickness; the rest holding to bits of heeling boat in our storm gear, searching for the lost horizontal. 100 miles from the mainland, on the western... Read more ›

Rock, wind, sand, peat, water

Sailing to Lochmaddy
Lochboisdale, South Uist. Met with Joanne Ferguson of Scottish Natural Heritage, David Muir from Coast Adapt, and Huw Francis from Storas Uibhist (community landowners of the South Uist Estate, the largest community buyout in Scotland). Small crofting communities, separated by mountains, boggy peat lands and lochs, are scattered along the broken coastlines east and west,... Read more ›

Mingulay, Barra, Vatersay

Mingulay Cliffs
Mingulay Walking with Skye artist Julie Brook up the high, spongy, wildflower-thick hills behind the bothy on Mingulay: sand drift filling ruined houses of the abandoned village by the bay. Mingulay was emptied of its inhabitants over 80 years ago, but never subject to the violence and grief of the Clearances. On a clear day... Read more ›

Turn, return

Gravestone on Canna
Walking on Canna in clear sunshine with Winnie Mackinnon, whose family have lived here for over 260 years, and Stewart Connor of the National Trust of Scotland, listening to the play of information, memory, myth and weather on these glowing pastures and basalt cliffs, I begin to understand why it’s so difficult to write about... Read more ›


Under sail, Mull to Rum
Life’s good on Eigg. The sun’s out. The tea room down by the old slipway is doing a roaring trade. The Shearwater ferry’s over from Arisaig on the mainland, and has delivered musicians Gabe McVarish and Ross Martin to the plaintive strains of shoreside piper Dona. They’re playing tonight with Eigg musician Damien Helliwell in... Read more ›

In motion

Kenny Black, SAMS
The weather’s closing in, grey spray above and below, as we travel up the Sound of Mull to Tobermory. We’re all here, 12 artists and scientists and 3 crew, crammed, wedged and folded into our cabins on Song of the Whale, absorbing the practical details of life on a boat: sea toilets and life jackets,... Read more ›

Provisional itinerary

An Sgurr, Eigg
Over the course of a month we will explore the Outer and Inner Hebrides in a series of four voyages. Our itinerary is subject to change, as wind and weather will influence which islands and harbours we can sail to. We set sail from Oban, stopping at the Isles of Mull, Rum and Eigg before... Read more ›


Citronella, Avon Skin-So-Soft, choking DEET sprays, lavender, hoods, high winds, bright sunlight, perpetual movement, body armour, despair: what to do about midges? Counting down to our Scottish Islands expedition departure on 15 July… and we’re itchy. There’s a swarm of tiny, irritating, persistent and unavoidable things to do humming round our heads. Song of the... Read more ›


Towards An Sgurr, Eigg
This July Cape Farewell embarks on its biggest project yet, in partnership with Cove Park: a month-long expedition by boat across the Scottish islands from Oban across the Western Isles of Scotland to Lewis. After eight journeys to the High Arctic and one to the Peruvian Amazon, we are bringing the notion and experience of... Read more ›