Tuesday 2nd October began with the group meeting to walk a hilly route through the trees around Fort Augustus. Chris was once again an able guide and the view over Loch Ness was spectacular. Crabbers looking skyward in the woods must be worth a caption. The afternoon was devoted to rowing and sailing. Group members alternated between “Bluejacket” and the sailing boat “Spylgarn” – a Falmouth Bass. The Loch Ness waters were demanding! No sightings of Nessie. Both boats were beached up a Foyers inlet before the group cruised back to Fort Augustus in Ros Crana. Lucy was a real star transporting people between shore and barge in the Pioneer and Tom’s whiskey was very welcome. As one Crabber remarked during the barge journey back to Fort Augustus, “Did we really row that far?”
Wednesday 3rd October started with a barge cruise back to Foyers. Once moored, the group divided activities between walking and canoeing. The afternoon again saw a division between sailing and rowing. What a choice! The Bluejacket crew faced the high waves again, keeping eyes peeled for a trainee transatlantic rower who had experienced difficulties the day before. It was another great row with Crabbers changing seats on the move. Mooring up took place in a Pay and Display harbour where the transatlantic rower asked for assistance. Lucy returned the crew to Ros Crana, still at Foyers, in the Pioneer.
The morning of Thursday 4th October saw Ros Crana cruising from Foyers to Castle Urquhart so that the final leg of Loch Ness could be rowed. Lucy’s Pioneer came to the fore again, taking the intrepid rowers to Bluejacket. This was also an opportunity for a final sail too; although “Spylgarn” had to be paddled along the final short channel into Dochgarroch. The row was epic! Crabbers braved high waves and gave of their best to finish Loch Ness in style. The applause from the walkers, returning from the Dochgarroch Woods, was richly deserved.
Lunch, a change of crew and it was time for the final row to Inverness so that the boat could be put on the trailer. A memorable voyage was over. The evening was set aside for a champagne thank you to the crew.
Imagine the cheering from Ros Crana as the crew completed the final leg of Loch Ness in fine style.
Final evening with Dave, Lucy, Chris and James. Everyone enjoyed champagne and nibbles before another of James’s excellent evening meals. Whilst we were sitting around the table, Skipper Dave “Swampy”‘Roberts performed his dedication to the Haggis. It was a truly brilliant rendition.
From left to right, James the chef, Chris the guide, Lucy the bosun and, of course, Captain Dave. A big thank you to every member of this crew who did so much to make the Caledonian Expedition an enjoyable success.
So what was life like in between the rowing, sailing, cycling, walking and laughing? Below are just a few snapshots of members of the group in between activities. You will also see James preparing one of his delicious meals which kept all of us fit and healthy along the Caledonian Canal.
These pictures taken by Amanda are too good to leave out. They provide a real sense of the sights and the activities along the Caledonian Canal.
The Walkers Gather.
Chris leads the way.
Red Sail on Loch Ness.
View from the deck.
On the morning of Friday 5th October, Ros Crana cruised through the final few locks to the final mooring point in Inverness. It was time to say goodbye. Bluejacket was hitched up and luggage was carried out to waiting cars. A truly great trip had come to an end. Alan’s suggested caption was, “Practice run over. I’m taking the boat back to the beginning for a non-stop run all the way. I need volunteers.”
Kate, Tom, Vicky, Peter, Veronica, Alan, Amanda, John, Catherine, Steven, Diana and Barry all had a really active holiday whilst enjoying each other’s company. There were great memories to take home.
And finally, a big thank you to Tom for being the driving force behind the whole enterprise, ably supported by Kate.
One of the pleasures of the winter rowing season is the opportunity to crew the boat around Barton Broad. Tom H and Catherine – fresh from rowing the Caledonian Canal – as well as Glynis, Roland and Richard A, kindly downloaded Bluejacket on Monday morning. Thanks to all. The Crabbers look happy and the weather looks brilliant for the start of the Barton rows. Watch out for further news of the Caledonian trip …