Tuesday, October 23, 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

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Nexus

Most Popular

  • 1
  • 2

Top Ten Books and DVDs of 2018

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Bells Will Ring Out on 100th Anniversary of War's End +

    Lusitania This month, Remembrance Sunday is also the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War and various events Read More
  • Focus on Historic Photographs of Lifeboats +

    Beken Lifeboat Collection Photographs of lifeboats dating from the turn of the 20th Century are the centrepiece of a new RNLI exhibition that Read More
  • Vehicle Carrier Runs Aground +

    Makassar Highway The vehicle carrier Makassar Highway, 17,735gt, of the Japanese company K Line, ran aground off the Swedish coast on the Read More
  • Keeping Port's Waterways Safe for Ships +

    UKD Orca The trailing suction hopper dredger UKD Orca, 3,087gt, of UK Dredging, of Cardiff, arrived at Ipswich in August for its Read More
  • Spotlight on Future Port Technology +

    Port of Southampton The next generation of port technologies that will help to keep the British industry trading are being jointly developed by Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Forest of Giant Cranes and a New Wharf +

    Port of Houston The Port of Houston, in Texas, took delivery of three new neopanamax ship-to-shore cranes on Aug 6 and five rubber-tyred Read More
  • Garbage Patch Clean-up Set to Start +

    garb The first offshore cleaning system was to be installed last month in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between Read More
  • Line's Big Investment in Puerto Rico Service +

    El Coqui At the end of July, the new container/roll on-roll off cargo ship El Coqui, 36,796gt, of the Crowley Maritime Corp, Read More
  • Cleaning Up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch +

    Garbage System 001 This month, a new floating clean-up system to tackle what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was due Read More
  • Panama Canal Ban on LNG Ships to Go +

    Panama Canal On Oct 1, the Panama Canal Authority will lift its daylight and encounter bans on LNG vessels to offer more Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • China is World's Top Shipping Nation +

    China Containers China is the world’s leading international shipping nation, according to a new report presented at a Hamburg trade fair on Read More
  • Automatic Berthing Project Test +

    Shioji Maru The proposed joint demonstration project by four Japanese organisations relating to the safety of vessels’ auto berthing and un-berthing has Read More
  • Record Voyage for Northern Sea Route LNG Cargo +

    Christophe de Margerie A new record for crossing the Northern Sea Route was set up in July by the icebreaking LNG carrier Christophe Read More
  • Antarctic Ship is Re-Chartered +

    Aurora Australis The contract for the icebreaker and research ship Aurora Australis, 6,574gt, to resupply Australia’s Antarctic stations has been extended until Read More
  • Wreck of Cruiser From 1905 Battle is Located +

    Kea Trader The South Korean company Shinil Group said it has found the wreck of a Russian cruiser that was sunk 113 Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • HMS Albion Proves Big in Japan +

    HMS Albion British News The assault ship HMS Albion, at time of writing, had just completed a five day visit to Tokyo Read More
  • Royal Navy Commissions New Survey Ship +

    HMS Magpie British News The latest survey vessel to join the Royal Navy was commissioned into service at her homeport of Devonport Read More
  • F-35 Stealth Fighters Land in UK +

    F-35 British News The first four of Britain’s next generation F-35 Lightning supersonic fighter jets touched down in the United Kingdom Read More
  • Upgrade Planned for Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier +

    Admiral Kuznetsov Russian News Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, will be refitted to prolong the warship’s operational life. Read More
  • 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
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Tragedy in Tanzania +

    Nyerere A country well used to tragedy, saw another, on Lake Victoria in September. Read More
  • Trouble for "Loch Seaforth" +

    Loch Seaforth Ferry services between Ullapool and Stornoway were disrupted when Caledonian MacBrayne’s Loch Seaforth lost power just over an hour into Read More
  • Stena Adds Extra Freight Capacity to Liverpool Service +

    Stena Forerunner In response to growing market demand, Stena Line has upped freight capacity on the popular Belfast – Liverpool route. Read More
  • Honfleur Hull Sections Craned Into Place +

    Honfleur Brittany Ferries has celebrated the second milestone in the build of its next ship Honfleur with the keeling laying - the Read More
  • Trinidad and Tobago to Sell T&T Express +

    T&T Express Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley has announced that the Incat 91 wave piercing catamaran Incat 046, otherwise known Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Sunderland to Esbjerg Race +

    Oosterschelde On the north east coast of England, it was Sunderland’s proud claim that more ships had been built here than Read More
  • Tall Ships at Liverpool +

    Belem At the end of May, a Tall Ships fleet met at Liverpool. Read More
  • New Bridge Challenges Melissa +

    Melissa The organisers of the charter barges working from Ipswich are worried by plans to build a road bridge across the Read More
  • German Schooners +

    Thor Heyerdahl Two German schooners based at Hamburg are regularly making voyages under sail with general cargoes across the Atlantic. Read More
  • RFA Pearleaf +

    RFA Pearleaf Thanks to Orkney Image Library for this view of the RFA Pearleaf. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Less (K)Notts, More Speed! +

    Sir Keith Speed A recent addition to my book collection is Sea Change, a commentary on the battle for the Falkland Islands and Read More
  • UK P&I Club Launches Interactive Video Series +

    Lessons Learned Video I am always in favour of any steps taken to improve safety of life at sea and I feel that Read More
  • Seaking Electrical Delivers DFDS Upgrades +

    Dave Gillam I was interested to learn that Marine engineering specialist SeaKing has recently completed extensive upgrade work on three shortsea ferries Read More
  • Edinburgh Named Top Cruise Destination for 2018 +

    Balmoral In my ‘Message From the Bridge’ in August’s edition of Sea Breezes, I mentioned the burgeoning cruise market in the Read More
  • Naming Ceremony for Forth Tug and Pilot Boat +

    Forth Puma and Craigleith In my Message From The Bridge in the August edition of Sea Breezes I highlighted the Firth of Forth. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Back to Back Transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 +

    Queen Mary 2 In the past I have been fortunate in that I have been on a cruise to a number of the Read More
  • Turnkey Explorer Yacht +

    Explorer 67 An exciting opportunity for an owner looking to build one of the finest explorer yacht projects available has presented itself. Read More
  • Great Perseverance +

    Meira Behind the construction of every great yacht there is a story and in the building of Meira, it is one Read More
  • Keel Laid for Hapag-Lloyd’s First Expedition Cruise Ship +

    Hanseatic Inspiration A keel-laying ceremony was held on June 20 2017 for Hanseatic Nature, the first of two expedition cruise ships being Read More
  • Superyacht Season - Cannes +

    Numarine 26 XP Loved and hated in equal measure by those who exhibit at the Cannes Yachting Festival, as it is correctly known, Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Maltese Maritime Museum

A Visit to Ye Olde Naval Bakery

Malta’s “Maritime Museum” is housed in the former Naval Bakery on the quay of Valletta’s urban ward Birgu. Construction of Read More
Presidente Peron

"Eva Peron"

If someone in 1939 had decided to sit out the Second World War they might well have done so in Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Islamount

The Last Voyage of the Islamount

Submitted by T. D. DAVIES, Caernarvonshire - Reprinted from Sea Breezes June, 1936. Thomas David Davies, author of the 1936 Sea Read More
John W Brown

A Cruise in a Liberty Ship

Any debate about the single most important military invention during World War Two would probably become heated and unlikely to Read More
  • 1
  • 2