Sunday, May 27, 2018
Falkirk Wheel

The cruise industry has expanded dramatically over the last few decades, with new ships being delivered every few months. There are ships big and small to meet all tastes and many cruise clients study the cruise itinerary very carefully, not just the primary destinations, but the range of shore experiences open to them before making a decision.

As I say in ‘From the Lookout’, cruise ship numbers into the Forth have grown considerably over the last few years. Recently, I spent a few days in Scotland, under the auspices of Cruise Forth visiting a few of the attractions / experiences which give passengers such a varied and exciting range of activities to choose from. Of course, even before berthing or anchoring, cruise passengers can enjoy the passage up the Firth of Forth and the magnifi cent view of the majestic Forth Rail and Road Bridges and the new Queensferry Crossing – another dramatic bridge scheduled for completion in 2017.

Led by Peter Wilson of Cruise Forth, we set off – an American, an Italian and a Scotsman (me) to sample some of the gems of Scottish tourism.

Our first night was spent near Peebles in the Scottish borders at Cringletie House, a Scottish Baronial Mansion in a beautiful setting. This boutique, 14 bedroom country house has much to offer and is an excellent base for people touring the area and is within easy reach of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital. Before a fine dinner in the company of the General Manager, Jeremy Osborne, we were treated to a fascinating display of sheep dog trials. The next morning, after a fine breakfast, Border Kilt Craft gave us a talk and display on the history and traditions of the Scottish Highland image, known all over the world and exemplified in tartan and the kilt.

We then moved on to Sir Walter Scott’s magnifi cent home, Abbotsford. This beautiful house is situated in stunning grounds on the banks of the River Tweed. Probably Scotland’s most famous storyteller, Scott loved Abbotsford and after a tour round the house and gardens, I can understand why. Interestingly, in the Hope Scott Wing of Abbotsford, there are luxury rooms for rent. This was a memorable visit in beautiful weather, but it was time to move on. From Tweedbank (just one mile from Abbotsford), we boarded the new Borders Railway to travel to Edinburgh’s Waverley Station (named after Sir Walter Scott’s famous historical novel) – a journey time of just under one hour. This line is already being described as one of Scotland’s Great Scenic Railways.

Edinburgh is a city I thought I knew quite well, but after a fascinating tour with Mercat Tours, a darker side of old Edinburgh was revealed. For visitors to Edinburgh, Mercat lay on a selection of walking tours which will open the eyes to Edinburgh’s historic, rich and sometimes gory and cruel past. Today, however, the capital’s beauty and strength shine through.

We also enjoyed a visit to Leith (the port for Edinburgh), but many seafarers of my era would no longer recognise it. It has been greatly gentrified, with many fine pubs and restaurants. Here we visited Kinloch Anderson – experts in Highland Dress since 1868. This splendid shop just oozes quality – holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment as tailors and kilt-makers to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales, Kinloch Anderson carry a superb collection of Highland Dress.

Later, we moved to have dinner at the Castle Terrace Restaurant – the food, service, presentation and atmosphere was superb. This was dining at its finest, with a very innovative and wonderful menu – making full use of Scotland’s larder. Lying just below Edinburgh Castle, this award winning restaurant has built up a fine reputation and from my own experience, more than deserves it. A memorable experience! Replete, we headed back to our hotel for a late night whiskey and a good night’s sleep.

Another packed day bought new sights with a visit to Falkirk and in The Helix Park, the amazing Kelpies (mythical water horses). These wonderful sculptures, by the artist Andy Scott, stand circa 30 metres high next to the Forth and Clyde canal. Only a mile or so away is the incredible Falkirk Wheel, the world’s fi rst and only rotating boat lift, connecting the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.

Next port of call was Linlithgow Palace and into the care of Mary’s Meanders, a company that organises all sorts of group visits / tours etc. We explored the magnifi cent ruins of the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and several other monarchs – a majestic royal residence of the Stewarts. A ruin now maybe, but still awe inspiring. Many Americans, followers of the TV series ‘Outlander’ come to Scotland to discover the real locations from the TV series.

On then to Falkland Palace, another favourite of the Stewart Kings and Queens of nobility where Mary Queen of Scots played Royal Tennis – the court is still there. Restored by the Marquess of Bute in the 1890s, it is one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Scotland. We went on to call at Dunfermline Abbey where several Scottish monarchs were buried. Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Dunfermline and is one of my heroes, of course went off to America and for a long time his family’s old house in now a little museum to Carnegie and I visit it regularly when in Fife.

Also on our itinerary was the wonderful Fife village of Culross where we visited Culross Palace, a late 16th century / early 17th century merchant’s house – built by Sir George Bruce, a successful merchant who had a flourishing trade with other Forth ports, the Low Countries and Sweden.

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - August 2016 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic
h3 class="g-title">Latest Issue - Look Inside! Game Changer

Most Popular

  • Weather Casualties +

  • Red Funnel Congratulates New Female Captain +

  • Fatal Collision Blamed on Sudden Turn +

  • The "Hood", My Father - The Ship and Battle - The Bell +

  • Bibby's Triple Success With Major Contracts +

  • 1
  • 2

Top 10 Books and DVDs 2017

Maritime Log

  • Second Heavy Lift Cargo for Power Station Project +

    Eastern Vanquish The second heavy cargo of equipment for the refitting of the Centrica power station at King’s Lynn arrived at the Read More
  • “Third Party Assistance” in Land Attack on Saudi Tanker +

    Abqaiq The Saudi Arabia flag tanker Abqaiq, 302,977dwt, was hit by a shore-launched anti-ship rocket fired by Yemen’s Houthi militia in Read More
  • Record Flies as Second Jack-Up Barge Arrives +

    Albatross What is believed to be the largest ship to visit the harbour in the history of Blyth, in Northumberland, arrived Read More
  • Bibby's Triple Success With Major Contracts +

    Bibby Polaris Three separate multi-million dollar contracts with a major oil and gas company have been won by the Aberdeen-based subsea services Read More
  • New Crane Gives a Lift to Cargo Handling +

    Liebherr Materials Handler Ayr has become the first port in the UK to take delivery of the new model of the Liebherr Materials Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • New Training Ship for US Merchant Marine +

    NSNV One Under the 2,232 page omnibus spending measure signed into law by President Donald Trump, the US Maritime Administration is to Read More
  • Giant Cranes Pass Through Puget Sound +

    Zhen Hua 28 A large heavy lift ship carrying four of the largest container cranes for the US West Coast sailed through Puget Read More
  • First Part of Ships’ LNG Conversion Completed +

    North Star The first of four conversion periods that will see the two Orca class rollon, roll-off vessels of Tote Maritime Alaska Read More
  • Four New Landing Stages for New York Ferry +

    NYC Ferry Construction of the new NYC Ferries landing stages on New York’s Lower East Side began at the end of February. Read More
  • Icebreaker Delivers Two Supply Ships to US Antarctic Base +

    Polar Star The US Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, arrived at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, after completing her mission Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • No Mistaking New Line’s Ships +

    ONE Livery The one ship that can’t be missed is the first for a new container line formed by three Japanese owners. Read More
  • Fatal Collision Blamed on Sudden Turn +

    USS John S McCain The collision between the US Navy destroyer John S McCain and the Greek owned oil/chemical tanker Alnic MC, 50,760dwt, in Read More
  • Nine New Cranes for Four Terminals +

    Zhen Hua 21 The first four of nine giant cranes for the DP World Australia container terminals at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle Read More
  • Six Lifting Decks on New Car Carriers +

    Beluga Ace The first of the new Flexie series of car carriers building for the Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd Read More
  • Eight More for Evergreen +

    Evergreen| The Evergreen Marine Corp of Taiwan, has ordered eight 11,000 teu container ships from the South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • HMS “Astute” in Cat-And-Mouse Pursuit by Russian Ships +

    HMS Astute British News Ahead of the American led missile strikes against suspected chemical weapon manufacturing plants in Syria in early April, Read More
  • Busy Period for Japanese Navy +

    JS Asahi Japanese News It has been a particularly busy period for the Japanese with a number of new vessels being accepted Read More
  • Historic Port Visit to Vietnam +

    USS Carl Vinson US News In a significant move in March, the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson made an historic port Read More
  • Russian Minesweeper Fleet Expands +

    Alexander Obukhov Russian News By 2027 the Russian Federation Navy is expected to have acquired a total of ten Alexandrit class minesweepers Read More
  • New Patrol ship for Danes +

    HDMS Lauge Koch Danish News On 11 December, in a ceremony held at Naval Station Korsør, the Royal Danish Navy commissioned the third Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Maersk Expansion +

    Ulusoy 14 Maersk is making what seems to be a clever, though now very obvious, step to take for a far seeing Read More
  • "Rogaland" Performs for Dunkirk +

    Rogaland I am not normally drawn to such films as the latest Dunkirk release, but on my recent viewing it proved Read More
  • Weather Casualties +

    Hebridean Isles The issue of ferry operation, subsequent to the UK leaving the EU, will rather, regretfully, but unavoidably, continue to feature Read More
  • Superfast Stena +

    Superfast VII Superfast VIII The issue of ferry operation, subsequent to the UK leaving the EU, will rather, regretfully, but unavoidably, continue to feature Read More
  • Sanctions Eased for Mangyongbong 92 +

    Mangyongbong 92 Ever since the 1950s when I was aware of the Soviet merchant marine’s Baltic SS Co vessels which linked Leningrad Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Nostalgic for Oil Fuel Depots +

    BP Distributor A collection of fine images of coastal tankers delivering fuel to the Southern Scottish town of Kirkcudbright took my eye. Read More
  • The Benefits of Wheel Spokes +

    Will Everard The Anna (see the print edition for details), like all Dutch craft, has a band around the outside of her Read More
  • Double Dutch Ketches +

    Gallant The Dutch 27.7m steel ketch Gallant, was built as a ‘logger’ in 1916 for the North Sea herring fishery. Read More
  • Focus on Freshspring +

    Freshspring Severn Sea The Scandinavian connection this month, continues with the welcome reappearance of the magnificently versatile Severn Sea 147gt of Bideford seen Read More
  • Fame for Sandgrevstur +

    Vestborg and Sandfrakt I followed up the casualty Fame which featured in my last Coastal Commentary. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • "Future of the Fjords" +

    Future of The Fjords Norway is a country which takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is at the vanguard of changes to reduce Read More
  • Wight Shipyard Co Wins Second Export Order +

    Ultramar In 2017, I had the pleasure of visiting Wight Shipyard Co’s famous Columbine Yard in East Cowes (Isle of Wight) Read More
  • Red Funnel Congratulates New Female Captain +

    Alice Duncan Red Funnel, the Isle of Wight’s awardwinning ferry operator, welcomes the promotion of Alice Duncan to the position of captain. Read More
  • Historic Name in Shipping Lives On +

    MV Coho Way back in 1818, the founders of the Black Ball Line inaugurated the first scheduled freight and passenger service across Read More
  • 2018 Spring Quilliam Lecture +

    Qilliam Lecture Poster "Quilliam Today" is is this year's title for the Spring Quilliam Lecture on Thursday 5th April in Arbory Church. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • "QE2" Comes to Life Again +

    QE2 in Dubai There will be many readers who, for the last decade, have followed the fortunes of the Queen Elizabeth 2. Read More
  • Supersub "Migaloo" +

    Migaloo The future of superyachts and how they may develop over imminent years, keeps superyacht commentators, like me, amused for hours. Read More
  • Superyacht Solution to Housing Shortage +

    Bluebird Diana Yacht Design is doing its bit to help solve the housing shortage. Read More
  • The Bridge +

    Queen Mary 2 QM2 vs the Super Yachts race results between the St Nazaire Bridge and the Verrazano Bridge in New York Read More
  • Just A Storyline? +

    Marco Polo Notwithstanding a number of attempts to emulate “The World” by other operators, any past thoughts of competing with the only Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

National Maritime Museum of Ireland Interior

Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co

On 1 January 1867, John Swire & Sons, having been established as merchants in Liverpool since 1816, opened the first Read More
HMS Hood

The "Hood", My Father - The Ship and Battle - The Bell

In writing about HMS Hood and her service career, I am not going to attempt to cover it fully, as Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

HMT Swansea Castle

The Role of British Fishermen in World War I

In WWI, Germany’s policy of wholesale mining of the North Sea and Atlantic was implemented from the day War was Read More
Prince Robert

Three Canadian Princes

Few especially built ships for a trade have become the orphans of economic circumstances faster than a trio built for Read More
  • 1
  • 2