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25th August, 2016

The Western Isles.

Whether it was every finger crossed, or Reverend Chris standing on the deck above, I cannot say, but the weather was ideal for our venture into the Western Isles. Staffa, with Fingal’s Cave, passed close by just after 8 am, with Mendelsohn’s Hebridean Overture playing quietly in the back of the wheelhouse, a little token of my mentoring the junior deck officers (in suitable classical music that is). We carried on to the north and then into the Sound of Mull, and no journey through the Sound would really be complete without a view of Tobermory, which in fact is difficult unless you actually go into the bay.

Having only been there three weeks ago, I had a quick chat on the radio with the Harbour Master who advised it was all clear for us to make the ‘scenic detour’. We slowly advanced, stern first, and the passengers were advised to view from the after deck. On the bridge wing I only caught a glimpse of the delightful coloured houses, but to go any further would have meant we would have become very unwelcome by the yachts moored in the yacht harbour. Passengers were delighted, an unexpected treat in lovely sunny weather.

Continuing on we passed Duart Castle just after the Hot Rhythm Orchestra had finished their set in the Drawing Room, perfect timing. The shorter Sound of Islay, between the islands of Jura and Islay, was transited during the afternoon. Two whisky distilleries, Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila passed by to starboard, the latter having huge copper stills easily visible through large windows. The tiny Port Askaig lay close by, and there a number of people, probably waiting for the Caledonian Macbrain ferry coming up from the south, stood and waved as we passed by.

It was a most suitable day, favourably commented upon at the Britannia Club cocktail party that evening.

Captain Philip Rentell

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