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23rd August, 2014


We are off again with the ship brimming full of Saganauts on a twelve day cruise to see ‘Britain and Ireland’s Finest’, well, according to the brochure. It certainly started off with a sensation, a WW2 Hurricane performing an eight minute display off the white cliffs as we passed St. Margaret’s Bay, tingling great stuff!

The following day dawned bright, and brisk for those wanting to walk the mile around the upper deck, but as we headed up past the coast of Northumberland the wind eased. The land became more distinct, rolling green hills dappled with sunshine became clearly visible, and puffy white clouds with the odd grey shower could be seen in the far distance. We passed again between the Farne Islands and the mainland, Bamborough Castle prominent above the white sands which stretched for miles. Island day trippers waved with great enthusiasm from their boat as their skipper came in for a better view.

The following morning dawned a little grey, and a chilly north westerly wind meant jumpers and coats on the bridge wing as we docked in the Cromarty Firth. Our pilot looked every bit the hardened sea dog, with a closely shaved grey beard and a woolly hat to match. We berthed at the pier that had originally been built for some long forgotten bulk cargo, but now brought back into use when two passenger ships are in town. Quite satisfactory, but almost half a mile in length. My comment to passengers after arrival was a rather flippant ‘We can almost see Scotland from our berth’. They knew what country we were in though, the man with the agony bag at the bottom of the gangway saw to that.

I had the great pleasure of being collected by a chap I had met on a recent holiday. We drove off to his house in the country, halfway to Inverness, and ‘played’ with his live steam garden railway while his wife made us all a light lunch. After a few hours relaxation we all drove back and I showed off my slightly larger ‘toy’.

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