Sailing and Foraging Week, NW Scotland


Saturday, 10 August 2024

A week of foraging and sailing around the islands and sea lochs of Scotland’s spectacular West Coast.

Learn More and contact Sail Britain to book


A week of foraging and sailing around the islands and sea lochs of Scotland’s spectacular north-west coast with Oliver Beardon of Sail Britain and Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods.

Set sail from Mallaig in 42ft expedition yacht Merlin to explore the coastal foodscapes of Scotland’s  wild west coast – journeying, foraging and eating wild foods. This 7 day adventure is suitable for all levels and combinations of sailing and foraging experience.

Full details, answers to frequently asked questions, all enquiries and booking via Sail Britain

Exploring coastal foodscapes by yacht

Scotland’s coasts are burgeoning with life, and provide diverse habitats for a wide range of delicious, nutritious and medicinal herbs, blossoms, fungi and seaweeds. Mark will guide you through them during our excursions ashore to uninhabited and remote coasts and islands. Back on board you will learn to preserve and prepare what we have found as we make dinner in Merlin’s galley. We will also try our hand at a spot of fishing, learning which species are sustainable and which to avoid and how to prepare and cook them. We will also explore wild shellfish, though they are out of season for eating during the summer months. Where wind and tide allow, our journey will take in forests where we might find a good range of fungi, which appear early in the West coast.

Exploring wild herbs on uninhabited coast during our 2022 Sailing and Foraging trip

This is a unique opportunity to learn how to sail while also appreciating the surrounding landscape with new eyes – and taste buds! Mornings and evenings will be spent ashore exploring and foraging, or preparing and preserving our finds on board, with daytime spent harnessing the power of the wind and sailing somewhere new. Sail Britain’s founder Oliver, will be on hand to teach you the ropes and everyone will be involved with the sailing, experiencing the thrill of being at sea, and steering an ocean going yacht through the waves.

The trip is timed to allow us to explore seaweeds, plants and fungi – which are really kicking off in NW Scotland in early August!

Take the helm! You will be an active member of Merlin’s crew during the trip – and even get to take the helm.

On this trip you will be a valued and working member of the crew, contributing to the running of the ship by helping with the sailing, foraging, food prep and keeping things shipshape! Learning to be part of the crew is a hugely rewarding experience, and you will live very well for the week, but if you are looking for round the clock pampering you should probably book a cruise liner!

Skipper, Oliver Beardon

Oliver Beardon – your skipper and sailing tutor/guide for the week

Oliver is an environmentalist, sailor and ocean advocate. He founded Sail Britain in 2015 to engage people with the importance of the oceans through sailing. As a close knit social activity, sailing is perfect for this and allows people to see the world differently, learn new skills, and make new friends, all with a close connection to nature.

Merlin – your home and transport for the week

Oliver welcomes people from all backgrounds onto his 42 foot yacht Merlin, and is particularly keen to make sailing more accessible to more people. Oliver facilitates exploring the marine environment from diverse perspectives, from its cultural and historical importance to environmental issues such as marine aquaculture, plastic pollution, climate change, and eroding coastline as well as the cultural importance of our relationship with the sea and the connection between ecological issues and society.

Wild dinner onboard Merlin on our 2022 trip

Foraging guide, Mark Williams

Raised in the Hebrides, Mark is deeply entwined with the coastal foodscapes of Western Scotland where he has worked as a fisherman, chef and wild food educator for over 30 years. Under Mark’s guidance, you will learn about what nature provides, how to harvest it responsibly, and how to prepare and eat it. Read more about Mark and Galloway Wild Foods  here.

Mark cooking and discussing wild ingredients

The foraging element of this trip is quite different from what you might experience on a regular guided foraging walk. As we are led by wind and tides our route evolves organically and foraging opportunities are pragmatic and opportunistic. A fine wind in the right direction may mean a full day’s sailing, while calm conditions might mean a whole day ashore exploring. Mark will have an eye out for opportunities, and we’ll adapt our route to take in promising foodscapes.

Mark and Oliver, share a passion for connecting with the natural world in ways that are beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing, and the health of the ecosystems of which we are part. We will explore this theme throughout the week through the deep nature connection embodied by foraging and sailing.

Learning to season wild mushrooms with seaweeds on a shore-based campfire cookery excursion

Key information:

  • 7 days and 6 nights (Saturday to Friday) sailing around some of Scotland’s most stunning coastline (Departing from and returning to Mallaig)
  • Remote islands, mountains, remarkable flora, fauna and seaweeds
  • Shore based foraging sessions, and wild food cookery and processing sessions on board
  • Fully catered* to a high level using wild ingredients we will gather along the way, plus lots that have been pre-prepared and brought along. All dietary requirements can be catered for.
  • Identification, harvesting, medicinal/bushcraft uses and wild cookery of seaweeds, shellfish, coastal plants, and summer fungi with Scotland’s leading foraging guide
  • Instruction in sailing and sea craft by highly qualified sailors
  • Foraged cocktails, campfire cookery and wild feasting – a chance to fully imbibe a stunning marine landscape
  • Suitable for all levels of experience in sailing and/or foraging – including  novices
  • Comfortable well equipped yacht
  • All sailing kit supplied
  • Maximum group size on this trip is 6 clients to 2 sailing crew/guides and 1 foraging guide totalling 9 people on a 42ft yacht – so you should be comfortable spending 1 week in close proximity to other people
  • Galloway Wild Foods gift vouchers can be used to pay for this event in whole or in part  – quote your voucher code when booking with Sail Britain

*By “fully catered’ we mean that you don’t need to bring food, beyond snacks and luxuries that you like. We will have excellent ingredients to cook with. Crew will be expected to contribute to food prep, cooking, clear-up etc, and to be fully active crew members – if you want to lie back and be pampered you should book a cruise!

Full details, answers to frequently asked questions, all enquiries and booking via Sail Britain

Image ©Oliver Beardon

Please read the following information before booking a Galloway Wild Foods event.


The general event location is provided in the event description, and in your booking confirmation. This location is usually an approximate location (eg. “Within 30 minutes drive of XXX”), so that you can consider and plan the area you need to get to prior to booking.

For general information on visiting Galloway for events, including recommended accommodation, see here.

Detailed event information, including exact meeting place, will be sent to the email address you provide on booking in the week prior to the event. This allows me to account for the often fickle nature of wild plants and fungi and select the optimum location for our walk – which can be especially important for fungi forays.

It is important that you add and  to your email contacts/whitelist or the information email may get caught in your spam filters. This is extremely important if you have a .hotmail email account as they are notorious for having very sensitive spam filters.

The detailed event information email will be sent in the week before the event – sometimes as little as 3 days prior to the event. There is no need to badger me for it – I will send it! If you haven’t received it by within 3 days of the event, check your spam folders. If it isn’t there drop me an email –


Any cancellation must be sent by email to, quoting the event title, date and order number (viewable on your booking confirmation.

Galloway Wild Foods is under no obligation to refund, rebook or reinstate vouchers for no-shows or cancellations within 14 days of the event. If I can refill the place at short notice, I will pay a full refund less 10% to cover admin & PayPal fees, or send a voucher to the full value of the tickets. Please state your preference in your cancellation email.

If you cancel or amend a booking giving 14 days or more notice, you will receive a full refund less 5% to cover Paypal fees, or a Gift Voucher to the full value of your booking.Please state your preference in your cancellation email. Information on using gift vouchers is here.

In the unlikely event that an event is cancelled by GWF you will receive full refund, exchange or voucher.

Galloway Wild Foods is not liable for any travel, accommodation or other costs you might incur if an event has to be cancelled. We recommend that you take out travel insurance if your financial commitment to travel/accommodation is substantial.

The only weather that causes events to be cancelled is dangerous wind. In these instances you will be notified as early as possible.


Please provide  the following information for all members of your party in the “Additional Information” box on the payment page :

  • Relevant medical conditions
  • Mobility issues
  • Eating restrictions – differentiating between preferences (e.g. vegetarian), intolerances (e.g. gluten intolerance) and serious allergies (e.g. peanut allergy), and clearly stating if an allergy is potentially life-threatening. All requirements can usually be catered for, but these differentiations are required for risk assessments.

It is your responsibility to provide accurate information about all members of your party. If you write “None” in the additional information box, I will assume all attendees are omnivorous and have no relevant medical conditions or mobility issues.

All information is kept private, securely, and in line with GDPR – more information on this here.


Please ensure that  all members of your party come suitably dressed for the weather, season and event.

On all walks, for your comfort and safety, walking boots/wellies, waterproofs and spare clothes are necessary. I always recommend wellies for coastal foraging events – you are likely to get wet feet if you don’t have them!

Please bring your own drinking water.

Your learning and enjoyment may also benefit from bringing a camera, notebook, field guide, small basket/cloth bag. Feel free to bring along any of your own wild food preparations to share and talk about.


Most GWF events are suitable for one dog on a lead.

Even on walks that are suitable for dogs on leads, because we tend to move very slowly as we learn and forage,  dogs often get bored/agitated/cold by the slow pace. One thing we absolutely can’t have is an unhappy noisy dog on an event.

Where events are suitable for dogs, I restrict it to one per event as there is no way of knowing whether dogs will get on with one another. Dog places are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

With all this in mind, if  you would like to bring a dog, please note this on the booking form in the “Additional Information” box (along with human dietary, mobility, medical info) and I will get contact you to let you know suitability and availability.

If being able to bring your dog is a deal-breaker for you, please email me before you book.


Further information on Galloway Wild Foods Terms and Conditions can be found here.

If you have specific questions that are not answered here, please contact mark on, or if you are running late on the day.

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