Barra and Shetland’s “magic” voyage

On the 11th of September, eight young people from Barra and Shetland took part in a five day sailing voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Sailing the 72ft yacht, Alba Explorer, this voyage took them from Greenock through the Firth of Clyde, stopping in Holy Loch, Tarbert and Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. It gave them the chance to see a stunning region of Scotland many had not witnessed before. The trip was only possible due to the OYT’s “On Course with Cashback” project and the commitment of staff, parents and pupils involved. It was greatly appreciated by everyone who took part and the young people said the voyage was “magic, best time ever”, “absolutely brilliant”, “the confined living space took some getting used to!” and “no peer pressure, only fun!

OYT Scotland enables young people from all over Scotland with the opportunity to sail, building skills such as teamwork, confidence, and resilience. This project is transforming 288 young people’s lives over three years thanks to an award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund. Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Through CashBack we are supporting many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and develop as responsible citizens.

Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland added: “We are excited to have young people from Barra and Shetland as part of the On Course with CashBack programme. OYT Scotland voyages offer young people a life changing opportunity, giving them a chance to take part in teamwork and leadership roles. These are transferable skills that can be used in other areas of their lives. This programme aims to develop young people and the group taking part in this voyage have demonstrated that it has been a success.  Our highly trained sea-staff (both professionals and volunteers) are able to get the best from each individual. The combination of engaged group leaders and focused sea-staff means that these young people can reach goals that they never thought possible, and this can give them a whole new outlook on life“.

Over the past 18 years, OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, OYT Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016.

For more information about OYT Scotland go to

For more information on the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme go to

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