A Spotlight on Provident Sailing

Their story as a Wild Scotland Member

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When sailing in the Mediterranean Morag Slessor, landing on a remote island, was shocked to find the entire beach clogged up with plastic waste.

She realised then, she wanted to return to Scotland and share her passion for sailing, but in a way that would stop what had happened in the Med, happening here. So she and partner Steve, gave up their jobs, bought Provident, a beautiful 100 year old sailing ship and began “sail her up the west coast, through villages and towns”(1) exploring Scotland’s West Coast in the most sustainable way possible. With a small team of 4 seasonal staff, including the Skipper, 2 crew and cook they are based out of Oban and Mallaig and will take up to 10 people on 5-10 day sailing, walking and wildlife adventures around the Western Isles.


(1) © Songwriters: Ricky Ross Dignity
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Delivering Experiences that nurture

Morag, with a background in NHS mental health services, is passionate in delivering experiences that will help nature and help people. She sees first-hand the healing effect of sailing, where the carapaces of anxiety, stress and tension fall away as people find peace and connection with the natural world. In a world where mental health is a silent plague, these sailing experiences and in particular being in nature and in all weathers, provides calm in the storm of life.

It is that ethic of adventure, embracing the elements, exploring the wild, using locally sourced quality food, being part of a community as well as having fun that infuses the full Provident experience. They provide Adventures in Comfort.

Underpinning all is that sense of responsibility for the sea, its nature and the people who live beside it, work on it and come to experience it. Morag ensures that guests are conscious of the energy consumed on the ship, every shower, every time the oven is on revealing how much precious energy is used and is a highly valuable lesson for guests to take away to be more conscious of our consumption. Beach clean ups are a feature of the landing walks again reminding people that this plastic comes from our security and the need to connect people to their lifestyle choices seen in evidence as they pick up the mess. The walking part of the experience, either by teaming up with local guides, such as Antje Peters of Walk Wild Scotland, or allowing guests to explore, is done responsibly and with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code firmly in mind, especially as guests may be unfamiliar with the Scottish landscape. Being a sailing ship affords close up sight of marine mammals, all done within wildlife watching codes of conduct. They ensure this is imparted and explained to the guests on board and have a relationship with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust who are happy to come and talk to Provident guests whenever they are in Tobermory.

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Collaboration & Ethics

Collaboration, using locally sourced food is one of the most important Provident ethics. As well as exploring the complex marine ecosystem, creating a human ecosystem of producers and business across the islands visited is of vital importance. Provident wants to be part of supporting the livelihoods of those who life in fragile, marginalised communities. They try to make it clear to guests where their food has come from and what it has taken to produce it. Provident aims to be a low plastic-ship, visitors are encouraged to bring reusable bottles and vegetables are purchased wholesale to avoid packaging. New collaboration with fellow Wild Scotland members, to create sustainable and value- led “packages” combining sailing, walking and wild swimming are new products to be tested. Morag is looking too for accommodation that operates sustainably that she can connect with on the land based portions of the sailing experiences.

Provi At Anchor From Bow


As a new business, learning about finding the customer base, marketing their products, working with social media are definitely a set of skills needed to develop the business. More guidance to pass to visitors on wildlife and access would be helpful as well as practical ideas on how to be more sustainable and energy efficient are welcomed. A desire to do more for nature and climate change is inherent in the way the business wants to operate, there is a sense of wanting to do the right thing, but needing more help to do it.

Morag wonders if a national incentive scheme to encourage people to travel and choose more sustainable adventure, with a passport to collect points, where people can win vouchers or discounts, might be a way to reduce the rise in private vehicle bound, mass tourism. An idea worth considering.
That help is threefold social-in terms of networking - learning and sharing from like-minded business, economical-access to grant and funds that support staff posts, provide travel grant for staff working in remote locations and to invest in the business that would ensure the quality food produced on islands is subsided, to ensure it is economically viable and environmental needs- to invest in better and more integrated public transport.

Being part of Wild Scotland, sharing its values and a sense of purpose is important to Provident sailing and they want to see more networking and learning experiences delivered to build up the outdoor tourism sector as its contribution to Scotland’s goal to reach net zero.

Provident sailing is a trailblazer in value-led, sustainable tourism. Providing sailing experiences that truly cares for people and nature. They are also conscious that the way they operate their business is itself an exemplar to their guests. In so doing ensures people go away able to make more informed choices about how they should touch more lightly on the environment. They show that business and society can contribute by operating in a way that is more sustainable, to reduce our impact on climate change whilst protecting and nurturing our wildlife.


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