The Glen Tarsan, between Iona and Mull.
It was a great week. Here’s the full article about our cruise around the Isle of Mull, recently published in the Fairfax Press in Australia…
‘I so want that boat,’ says the American lady beside me.
With its dark blue hull and gold funnel, the polished wood of its superstructure catching the light, it bobs on the inlet below us, framed by yellow gorse bushes in the foreground and the rocky shore of the Isle of Mull beyond.
I eavesdrop as a discussion starts among the members of her tour bus party. Is it a local fishing boat? Too clean. A private pleasure cruiser? Too old-fashioned.
Smugness gets the better of me. ‘It’s my boat,’ I say. And for this week, it is. Continue reading
Not much happening in Loch Spelve. Those black spots are mussel buoys, I’m told.
Insomnia has its advantages.
I’m usually awake around 5am and on this Majestic Line cruise around the Isle of Mull it’s worth getting up and taking the camera out on deck. Continue reading
The Holy Isle – Iona.
‘What year are we talking about, Richard?’ asks one of my fellow passengers on the Majestic Line cruise. We’re about to land on the place where Christianity first came to Scotland.
We agree it’s probably about the 13th century AD. We’re wrong – not even close, in fact. Continue reading
A bit of chop in the Sound of Iona.
The company name ‘Majestic Line’ is a sort of ironic joke. It was taken from an old Scottish sitcom in which an unemployed sailor pretends to have found a great job in an elegant cruise ship with a gold funnel.
Converted fishing boats are seldom majestic and the two boats in the fleet are not the Queen Mary and the QEII. The Glen Tarsan and the Glen Massan can take just ten passengers each; the intimacy has great appeal to us during our six-day Wildlife Explorer cruise around the Isle of Mull in Scotland’s lovely Inner Hebrides. Continue reading
Ever passed these luxury cruise ships and wondered who travels on them? This time it was us.
Regular readers of this blog understand that Mevrouw T and I are two to three star people, seldom treated to five star anything.
So although a chance to glide around the Black Sea in luxury French ship l’Austral and get paid for writing about it was an offer too good to refuse, we also feared we would feel uncomfortable among the smart set.
We need not have worried. Continue reading
Mind the gap! A steady hand on the tiller was needed to steer this French cruise boat down the Schinkel.
A constant source of free entertainment is available from our Amsterdam balcony as we watch the bridge on the Overtoomsesluis open, stopping road traffic to let the boats pass.
The Schinkel, the canal below us, is the busiest working canal in Amsterdam. On weekdays there is a regular parade of barges, ferrying sand dredged from the harbour to places inland where it is more useful for building and land reclamation.
It’s only a few metres deep, and generally calm and flat, but oh, there are some impressive feats of helmsmanship on show. And there’s always something going on down there. Continue reading
The Viking Spirit at Les Andelys.
Now it’s over, I don’t mind telling you. That was my first time.
I’ve travelled on rivers by kayak, canoe, white water raft and once, in an hour of madness, on an inflated tyre tube, but that was my maiden voyage on a cruise ship.
You see, when I travel I like to be active, to challenge myself, to meet adventurous people and learn new things about the world. I thought cruises were for lazy sods who lounged in deckchairs sipping cocktails. I was wrong. Continue reading