New Paths Expeditions

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British Isles

British Isles

Legendary History and Wild Nature

Departure: May 10, 2021

British Isles

Legendary History & Wild Nature

10 May – 22 May 2021 (13 days)

Embarkation: Plymouth (England) / Disembarkation: Edinburgh (Scotland)


 

Special Guest

Dan Brown

Ornithologist

Dan is a nomadic British naturalist who has spent his entire life searching for weird and wonderful wildlife around the world. He grew up in Bangor University’s botanic garden where a passion for birds, mammals, invertebrates in fact any form of nature developed. As a teenager, he spent six weeks exploring the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho and was part of the first youth expedition to the Antarctic at 18 followings in Shackleton’s footsteps to South Georgia and Elephant Island. After studying Ecology at the University of East Anglia, Norwich he became a professional Ornithologist and Ecologist publishing two books on British birds whilst also undertaking work as varied as studying Basking Sharks and marine mammals along Scotland’s West coast and identifying biodiversity values in lowland Guinea.

Dan now works all around the world as a lecturer, naturalist, photographer, consultant ecologist, and scientific advisor to the BBC natural history unit. When not working Dan heads off in search of exciting wildlife in hard to reach places from Snow Leopards in Tibet to Sand Cats in the Sahara.

Main Itinerary

Day 1: May 10 – Embarkation in Plymouth, England

Welcome to the port city of Plymouth in southwest England, where a rich maritime heritage sets the mood for the beginning of our exciting voyage. Upon your arrival at Heathrow Airport you will be met by Poseidon Expeditions representatives and transferred to the M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get settled in your comfortable and spacious suite. Then join us on deck and feel the sense of adventure build as we slip our moorings and sail out of the historic harbor.

 

Day 2: May 11 – Tresco, Scilly Isles, England

The Isles of Scilly is a group of small islands off the coast of Cornwall boasting mild weather, secluded beaches, enchanting wildlife and a relaxed lifestyle. On the lovely, sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial sites and romantic 17th-century castle ruins reveal a long and dramatic history. On the hallowed grounds of a Benedictine abbey we discover the exquisite Tresco Abbey Garden with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all corners of the world. Here we also find the Valhalla Museum, a collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands’ shipwrecks. Delightful cafés and local shops enrich your experience even further.

 

Day 3-4: May 12 & 13 – Republic of Ireland

We are planning to visit the the Saltee Islands. The larger island Great Saltee is the most famous bird sanctuary in Ireland. These Islands are privately owned and are one of the world’s major bird sanctuaries. The Saltees are a haven for sea birds, nurturing an impressive array of birds, from Gannets and Gulls to Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. They also lie on an important migratory route and a popular stopping-off place for spring and autumn migrants.

Dunmore East is a popular tourist and fishing village in County Waterford on Ireland’s southeastern coast. From here it is a short journey through scenic countryside to the House of Waterford Crystal. Here you can take a guided tour of the factory to see the master craftsmen at work as well as the world’s largest collection of their wares. Also nearby is Mount Congreve, a magnificent 18th-century Georgian estate and botanical gardens containing thousands of plant species on 70 acres of intensively planted woodland and a four-acre walled garden.

 

Day 5: May 14 – Llandudno, Wales

Our port for today is the vibrant seaside town of Llandudno in the north of Wales. From here we embark on a scenic overland tour of Snowdonia National Park. We drive through some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes in Britain as we discover craggy mountains, stunning waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, dense woodlands and flowering meadows. Snowdonia is also renowned for wildlife including otters, water voles, wild ponies and rare birds such as dotterel and peregrine falcon. We enjoy a delightful stop at the charming and distinctively Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed in the Gwydyr Forest.

Visit to the Conwy Castle is also on our list. UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”, and it is classed as a World Heritage site. Divided into an Inner and an Outer Ward, it is defended by eight large towers and two barbicans, with a postern gate leading down to the river, allowing the castle to be resupplied from the sea.

 

Day 6: May 15 – Northern Ireland

Today we disembark at the small seaside resort town of Portrush in Northern Ireland. We travel overland to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. Here we discover a geological masterpiece—40,000 closely packed hexagonal basalt columns of varying heights descending like a staircase into the sea. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. In this area, we are also able to spot various seabirds such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank, guillemot, and razorbill.

 

Day 7: May 16 – Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Weather permitting, we also plan to visit the uninhabited island of Staffa. This island of volcanic origin is easily recognized by its striking colonnade of hexagonal basalt pillars. Here we hope to explore the island’s most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. Reaching deep into the island, the undulating sea plays upon the stunning matrix of columnar basalt to create an eerie melody which was the inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. The rugged island also provides nesting sites for seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins.

Today we also explore beautiful and serene Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides just off the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. At the gorgeous Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD, we are spellbound by one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites and indeed one of the oldest Christian religious centers in Western Europe. The adjacent graveyard is said to be the final resting place of numerous medieval kings, including Macbeth. In addition to its historical and religious significance, Iona is well known for its soul-soothing tranquility, white sand beaches, and excellent birdwatching.

 

Day 8: May 17 – Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are a chain of dramatically rugged islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The most isolated of these is St Kilda. This remote and storm-ravaged island was continuously inhabited for at least two millennia by peoples of extraordinary hardiness. But as the modern world closed in after World War I, the remaining inhabitants chose to evacuate. Now we find only their rough stone buildings and distinctive storehouses called cleitean, all set amidst some of the most dramatic island scenery in the British Isles. Nature-lovers will be delighted, as the island is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, two early types of sheep, and over 130 species of flowering plants.

 

Day 9: May 18 – Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Upon arrival at the historic port of Kirkwall, we embark on an overland tour of Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Attractions such as the well-preserved 5000-year-old village site at Skara Brae and the ancient Ring of Brodgar within the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” showcase the world-class cultural heritage of the island. Back in the charming village of Kirkwall we also find the impressive Saint Magnus Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style by Vikings in the 12th century.

 

Day 10-11: May 19 & 20 – Shetland Islands

On the uninhabited island of Mousa, we find the famous Broch of Mousa, the finest preserved Iron Age fortification in the British Isles. At over 40 feet tall, this 2,000-year-old round tower is the tallest broch still standing and is among the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. The island itself supports a rich diversity of plant life and is also known for grey and common seals, Arctic terns, and a significant colony of storm-petrels.

We come alongside at the port of Lerwick on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands. On a walking tour of this historic town, we visit the award-winning Shetland Museum to learn all about Shetland’s fascinating heritage and culture. From here we take a scenic overland coach ride through the fertile countryside of Dunrossness to discover Shetland’s best destinations. Birders will relish the opportunity to visit the historic lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, the southernmost point of Mainland Shetland. These rugged cliffs attract thousands of seabirds and the grassy slopes above are particularly great for enjoying close encounters with puffins amongst beautiful wildflowers. Also on the itinerary is Jarlshof, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the British Isles. Here we discover beautifully preserved stone structures spanning 5,000 years of human settlement, including Bronze Age oval houses, Pictish wheelhouses, an Iron Age broch, a Viking longhouse, and a medieval farmhouse.

On Fair Isle—an isolated island of rolling moorlands and rugged coastlines—one is easily enchanted by historic crofts, picturesque lighthouses, and friendly locals. The island is famous among birders for its abundance of British birds and for its numerous records of eastern rarities and migrants. Fair Isle is also one of Europe’s best places to watch seabirds, especially puffins, at close range. Additionally, the island is notable for the abundance and diversity of its wildflowers. Seals are also commonly seen in their bays. Finally, during our visit, it will be possible to see and purchase articles hand-knitted in the intricate and distinctive style for which Fair Isle has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

 

Day 12: May 21 – Bass Rock, Scotland

Bass Rock is an uninhabited island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. This bastion of volcanic rock, also known as “the Bass”, plays host to over 150,000 northern gannets in the breeding season, making it the world’s largest colony of these magnificent birds. The island’s steep walls are white with guano and the sky all around is darkened by the vast multitude of seabirds in flight. Our voyage is perfectly timed to coincide with this amazing spectacle—truly one of the wildlife wonders of the world.

 

Day 13: May 22 – Disembarkation in Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland

After breakfast onboard Sea Spirit, we say farewell in Leith, Edinburgh’s vibrant port district. We provide transfers to the airport or to Edinburgh city center if you wish to spend more time in the wonderful capital of Scotland.

The Ship – M/V Sea Spirit

 

The m/v Sea Spirit is migratory and follows the sun, northbound in the summer and southbound in the winter, always ready for spontaneous discoveries — a pod of whales, a family of polar bears or a glaciated mountain vista. She is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow fjords of East Greenland and entering the small bays of Spitsbergen.

Onboard, it creates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all the guests. They are united by one goal — to have a memorable wilderness experience and to become real polar adventurers.

Length: 90.6 meters (297 ft.)
Beam: 15.3 meters (50 ft.)
Speed: 15 knots
Passengers: 114
Crew: 72

Departure Date

YEAR EXPEDITION STATUS MORE INFO BOOK
2021 MAY 10 OPEN DOWNLOAD BOOK NOW

 


Rates

Please call us for details.


Details

Included in Land Cost:

  • Group transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation;
  • Group transfer to the ship for embarkation on Day 2;
  • Shipboard accommodation;
  • All meals onboard throughout the voyage;
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions);
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader and Expedition Team;
  • Parka;
  • Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise;
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
  • All port fees;
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
  • Pre-departure materials;
  • Digital Voyage Log;
  • Wi-Fi onboard.

Not Included:

  • Airfare;
  • Transfers from the airport to the hotel if arriving prior to Day 1 of the program;
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
  • Luggage and trip cancellation insurance;
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
  • Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a minimum benefit of US$ 200,000 per person;
  • Kayaking;
  • Staff gratuities.

Deposits and final payments:

  • A deposit of 25% per participant is required at the time of booking.
  • The remaining balance will be charged 120 days before the expedition begins.

Testimonials: 

“After 20 years of traveling, we never learned so much and had as much fun as with you guys!”
Jack N. Douglas-CO

“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY

“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA

“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA

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