The last 3 weeks in Scotland have been one long blur of activity. As I put the finishing touches on this brief post, we are back home on Galapagos. This is the first time we’ve come back ‘home’ to the boat after a long vacation. It was strange and normal all at once. I miss our dog, Skippy, and the big spaces of the house we have. But Galapagos is welcoming and she looked just like we left her. It’s all good and nice to be sleeping in our berths again. We had a long sleep and are awake and ready to greet the big job of getting the finishing touches on the boat to prepare for the boat yard experience. We’ll be glad to have a weekend at anchor between now and extensive boat work.
It’s hard to organize so many photos and so many stories into cohesive posts. But here is a collection of boat related bits from the trip. I’ll try to get a bunch of photo posts done, just so I can remember that almost an entire month was spent having the time of our lives! What a trip.
Mike was very excited that we got to see the Caledonian Canal and watch boats going through the locks. We fantasize about bringing Galapagos up to Scotland some day, but there’s a lot of ocean between there and Tacoma, WA. For now, traveling by land is just fine. We drove to Ft. Augustus to see the locks in action. Then, on our way to our last stop, we took a road less traveled so we could stop in at Neptune’s Staircase, which was much less dramatic than the name implies. It’s just a series of locks, one right after the other. I didn’t even bother with a photo as the weather was too nasty.
If you are looking for a good business venture, consider importing these dinghies like the one in the photo below. They are built from heavy plastic like the Portland Pudgy but with an additional feature: the bow of the boat folds forward and becomes a boarding ramp so passengers can disembark at the shore without getting their feet wet. It’s absolutely brilliant. Why they are not sold in the United States is beyond me, but we saw a number of good looking dinghies in Scotland that are not available here. There is very little use of rigid inflatables there. I wonder if they know something we don’t know.
As the end of the trip got close, we started feeling ‘all traveled out’ and needed a break. We had tried to book a place in Ft. William but even though it appears to us that Ft. William is simply one B and B after another in a long stream that continues forever, all of them were booked. Actually, I’m very glad we gave Ft. William a miss. I’m sure it’s lovely when the crowds are gone, but during high season, forget it. Really. I looked for a place for hours and came up empty handed. That was fortunate for us because we then found this charming place on the quiet side of Loch Ness, aboard a completely refitted fishing trawler.
I’m going to say this about the MV Scotia W: I could live there with no problem. Boy does a trawler have plenty of room! We had a lovely stay in the ‘Alba’ room with twin berths done up in comfortable mattresses, ensuite with a full sized shower and head. I had pretty much the best shower of our entire trip aboard a boat! It was a perfect way to relax for two days, only 15 minutes drive to see the locks and lovely views of Loch Ness. And the host, Alex, is warm and welcoming and a good conversationalist. We had a great time there and would recommend his place to anyone traveling the Loch Ness area.
Early in the trip we drove past the Falkirk Wheel. This impressive piece of engineering is part of the canal system. That long channel in the air is filled with water. You float onto that, then the wheel lowers your boat into the lower part of the canal. We were there too late to watch it working, but it was impressive. It does give me a moment of panic to consider a boat being in the air like that. Worse than at a boatyard.
At Lindisfarne Island, a favorite place of mine, they make little boat houses out of the hulls of boats.
Down the beach from these boat houses, Mike found this anchor. Well, half an anchor. One has to wonder how this happened! And hopefully there was no boat depending on it.