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25th August, 2018


After a full house for our Welcome party and a swift dinner, I grabbed a few hours “kip” prior to embarking our Forth or Firth pilot. With an 8M run in we approached the single lock into Leith harbour at 0130. This was my first time in Leith and with a brisk breeze we took tugs as advised by the pilots. The lock was only 31.5m wide and with our beam at 28.5m we only had 1.5m clearance each side. The fendering in the lock wasn’t great so we slid through very gently – we didn’t need too much paint to touch up later that morning!! Once clear of the lock we had to then move the ship bodily some 400m to our berth but swing 180’ as well – hence whilst we did not finish until close to 0300. In the harbour with us was HMY Britannia (well ex Royal Yacht) which I visited later that day.

We were of course in Leith for the Edinburgh Fringe and the last night of the Tattoo. Leith is the gateway to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city renowned for its beauty and history. It is dominated by the volcanic Castle Rock, a natural defensive position which first attracted settlers to this region with the earliest signs of habitation dating back to 850BC, although the oldest building today is the 12th century St Margaret’s Chapel. Today Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament, opened by the Queen in 2004. In the summer, and particularly this week, the streets are abuzz with the activities of the Edinburgh festival, the biggest arts festival in the world.

We had many tours on offer today including the spectacular Falkirk Wheel & Forth Rail Bridge, Holyrood Palace & Scottish Parliament, Scenic Edinburgh, Sir Walter Scott’s Home, and of course the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The weather was perfect – fine and sunny with good visibility for all these tours, and our independent guests, to experience the Edinburgh Fringe. If you’ve not been then YOU MUST add it to your “bucket list!!”

I took the opportunity to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia which was only a 400 yard walk from the ship. Wow she still looks spectacular – the rooms are grand and beautifully furnished. A really interesting tour and I’d recommend it to you all. The engine room was just amazing – immaculate!! I’ve attached a few photos for you.

Our guests had a wonderful time at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Tattoo. We slipped our moorings at 2330 and gently manouvered across the harbour towards the lock – as we did so we got a great view of the fireworks from the top of Castle Rock – a great way to sail away. Once clear of the lock we retraced our tracks out of the Firth of Forth and headed south towards Dover.

On the final day John Parton, our Cruise Director, organised a “fringe at sea” event from 1100 with a whole variety of entertainment rotating around our show lounges in short bursts just like the Edinburgh fringe.

See you next cruise in Skagen, Denmark.

Captain Julian Burgess

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.