MULLING MAJESTICALLY

A bit of chop in the Sound of Iona.

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.

The Tarsan moored in Oban, the starting point of our adventure.

The Tarsan moored in Oban, the starting point of our adventure.

Let’s talk about the boat first.

It used to be the Marie David, an Irish fishing boat from 1975, wooden-hulled and powered by a sturdy Caterpillar engine. As fishing quotas were forcing boats off the water, the boat was destined for the scrap heap.

Then in 2007 it was rescued by The Majestic Line, stripped and rebirthed as the Glen Tarsan, completely refitted with comfortable en suite cabins. And a golden funnel.

It has a crew of just four – Skipper Sandy, Engineer Ray, Bosun Claire and, most importantly, Andie the cook.

Anyone is welcome to join skipper Sandy on the bridge.

Anyone is welcome to join skipper Sandy on the bridge.

The mussels were fished out of Loch Spelve less than an hour ago.

The mussels were pulled out of Loch Spelve less than an hour ago. Andie’s garlic sauce is perfect.

Our precise itinerary is very much dependent on the weather. The aim is to sail around Mull, with its 300 miles of coastline, deeply indented with lochs and inlets. We’ll go wildlife spotting, looking for otters, seals, puffins and eagles, stop off at the holy island of Iona, and visit Fingal’s Cave on Staffa Island.

Should the sea get rough, as it’s inclined to do in these parts, we’ll hole up in a quiet cove for the night. First, we’ll stop off at the herring fishing village of Tobermory, Mull’s largest metropolis.

We pause at Tobermory, the largest town on Mull, to take on some local seafood.

At Tobermory we take on some local seafood.

Love your work, Chef Andie!

Love your work, Chef Andie!

We’re out of wifi or mobile range most of the time, and when we duck into the Mishnish Hotel in Tobermory we discover that nothing in the world needs our immediate attention. Just the way we like it!

More soon…

Between Gometra and Ulva, for those with Google Maps. Not a bad place to spend an evening,

Between Gometra and Ulva, for those with Google Maps. Not a bad place to spend an evening,

The writer was the guest of The Majestic Line.

3 Comments

Filed under Scotland

3 responses to “MULLING MAJESTICALLY

  1. What a lucky chap you are, Richard. Enjoy!

  2. Beautiful photos, as usual. We had a double treat to your travels today because your write-up of your super-luxurious Indian train journey was in The Traveller section of the SMH today.

  3. Yes yes all very fine Isle of Mull and all that , but tomorrow morning I”ll enjoy the usual humiliation on the courts of Camperdown and know you would really rather be here (I don’t think).

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