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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

12th September, 2018

Well so it was that we found ourselves back in Bonnie Scotland again – but with no such bonnie weather. We rounded the Isle of Skye’s north coast in the early hours of Tuesday, and the winds were a howling from the west as we approached the little town of Portree tucked into Skye’s eastern coast.

The autumnal weather certainly did make an impression today, with decidedly Scottish conditions of gales and passing squalls making our tender operation slightly wetter than we would normally hope for. Luckily though, in this sheltered cove, the seas were flat enough to safely run passengers ashore to enjoy the rain over there, instead of on board.

Once ashore, passengers could embrace all that Skye had to offer – marked firstly by their arrival into the harbour famed for its Thomas Telford pier, and the inn where Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald parted after fleeing over the sea to Skye from South Uist. The island also contains intriguing geology such as the Cuillin mountains and Trotternish peninsula, as well as fascinating wildlife – the otters here inspired Gavin Maxwell to write his ‘Ring of Bright Water.’

Excursions took our passengers all over the island; to Dunvegan Castle and its glorious gardens, wonder at the curious pinnacles of the Quiraing, and sample the smoky Talisker whisky. The latter no doubt had a provocative effect in the historical feuding of the MacDonald & MacLeod clans…

With that done, we set sail up to pass the island of Lewis – the northernmost of the Outer Hebrides – and then out into the Atlantic Ocean where we would head west towards what was probably the highlight of our cruise, the Archipelago of St Kilda. The seas would be bumpy in these conditions; but we were sure the beautiful scenic reward would be well worth the passage…

Captain Kim Tanner

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