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10 winter travel tips for your island adventure with CalMac Ferries

MV Clansman passing Kerrera


Make the most of your winter adventure with CalMac Ferries 

Remember that summer holiday you had in the Hebrides when the slower pace of life was so relaxing? Well that was our fast-paced, full-on, rush-hour. Winter timetable is when the islanders chill-out. Not that it's going to be chilly, remember the islands are washed by warm Atlantic currents it's a rare day when the snow stays - but you'll see plenty of it on the mountain tops.

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  1. Don't forget your sunglasses - the glare of the low winter sun reflecting off Tarmac can easily dazzle.

  2. If you thought island sunsets were magnificent, wait until you see snow-covered mountains bathed in fiery light, and the light-show doesn't stop at sunset.

  3. If you're lucky, you'll see the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, Na Fir Chlis in the Gaelic. Everyone should get the chance to gaze into skies like these, at least once in a lifetime. Want to know when the Northern Lights are switched on?  Sign up for a text alert and read all about the science on the  Aurora Watch  website.

  4. Switch the lights off and walk outside or drive out of the village and park the car. Now look up into a clear Hebridean sky. There are stars, more than you could ever imagine. As your eyes become accustomed, you can see even more. The isle of Coll is an offical Dark Skies island, so you are sure to see more stars than you can imagine if you visit during the crisp winter months.

  5. There is something magical about a CalMac ferry on a winter's night. From land they are a tiny cluster of lights in the middle of a huge sea with a bigger sky above. Go out on deck. On a cold, clear, crisp night watch the bow wave in a sea under a stunning, star-filled sky - breath-taking when there's a full moon and snow-covered mountains. Then go back in to the warmth, noise and friendliness of the bar for a dram, or a mug of hot chocolate. Take a look at our on board menus.

  6. Read community notice boards, you'll find invitations to everything from carpet bowling to ceilidhs, by way of a visiting theatre company or university lecture. Leave the world of online gaming for a beetle drive.

  7. Follow your ferry online at  Ship AIS , or find out about any other ships you spot in the area. 

  8. If you are into bird watching, you will like the  Rare Bird Alert  website, the hard-core birders and twitchers are already signed up to this one, or give the  Fat Birder  website a look and check out the Scotland page. Most islands also have their own sites and blogs for local bird watching information, for example  Mull Birds Islay Birds Skye Birds  or  Outer Hebrides Birds

  9. Bird watching too exhausting? Try lighthouse spotting - you can find them by name or location on the  Northern Lighthouse Board  website.

  10. Some of the wildlife finds YOU interesting and might swim by your ferry to take a look.  Bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises are year-round residents, learn more on the  Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Watch  website. 

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