Sessions & Sail Returns to Orkney this May

Orkney will see the return of Sessions and Sail.

Shetland musician Barry Nisbet will be bringing his floating festival aboard the tall ship, Lady of Avenel, to Orkney.

When are the sessions?

  1. From 22nd to 28th May, sailing around the islands of Orkney and will coincide with the Orkney Folk Festival.
  2. On May 29th, boarding in Stromness, sailing for the Hebrides and disembarking in Barra on June 4th.

Combining his passion for sailing with his love of music, Sessions and Sail was conceived by Barry with the first voyage taking place in 2018. The trips welcome musicians of any ability, with musical sessions and masterclasses taking place onboard and ashore, with some fantastic sailing and scenery in between. Previous guests aboard have described their Sessions and Sail voyage as a life-changing experience and the perfect trip for trad musicians who love the sea.

Guests have the opportunity to explore Scotland’s breathtaking coast from a completely unique angle, aboard a beautiful tall ship. Musicians join a crew of musicians and have the opportunity to join workshops, sessions and ceilidhs along the way.

This year, Sessions and Sail will welcome talented musicians aboard as tutors. Orkney will see tutors including Harry Bird and Carol Anderson as sail-with tutors, and Karen Tweed as a sail-aboard tutor (local tutors who will join Sessions and Sail for the day)

For this year’s trips, Barry won’t just be sailing as captain of the ship, but as an accomplished fiddler and songwriter, will be involved with the musical side of the trip.

Barry says: “Being half-Westray on my mother’s side, Orkney has always been a really special place for me; I had the privilege of sailing the Lady of Avenel round the isles in 2019, and I’m really excited to be heading back with another musical group aboard.”

The trip has been planned to coincide with the Orkney Folk Festival; the ship will be in Stromness from May 27th until 29th, allowing participants to enjoy sessions both onboard and ashore.

Anyone keen to participate should visit,

or email

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1 reply »

  1. They’ll be playing in The Orkney Club from 8pm on Wednesday May 25th. Free entry for members and guests.

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