We spent the morning packing. Why is it that every time we go on vacation even if we don’t buy anything, there is always more to pack? I abandoned the challenge and headed up to the lounge to drink champagne and watch the Scottish coastline go by. It was worth it – we saw whales and dolphins. A real treat.
We dropped anchor at beautiful Kilmory Bay, and Brian and I headed down to the boat deck to see if we could borrow some Wellies. Beach landings sound like fun, but only if you have the correct footwear. The ship provides a limited number of Wellies for those guests who do not travel with them (we do not), and we wanted to make sure they had our sizes.
Before we could get there the captain announced that it was too windy to launch the tenders, so our beach landing had to be cancelled. Foiled by the weather again! No red deer sightings in our future alas.
However, he said he had another treat in store for us (always think on the bright side of life), and we were cruising to where we could take the tenders ashore and hike in the woods there, and we would be able to see red deer. Problem solved, and no need to find suitable Wellies.
After lunch one of our guest speakers, Roger, gave a fascinating talk on the importance of being adventurous in one’s life, and gave the example of his trek across South Georgia Island, which quite honestly sounded on the fool hardy side of being adventurous. However, he was there to talk about it, so I suppose it did work out well in the end.
We carried on through the rain.
On reaching Inverie we again dropped anchor. This time we were in a sheltered area on the south shore of the Knoydart Peninsular, and there was no problem launching the tenders. We headed ashore. The captain had told us that there was a pub in the village if we wanted to stop by and have a pint or two.
One of the things we miss living in the US is a good British pub, so we thought we should try this one out before going off on our hike.
Apparently the Old Forge Pub is the most remote pub in mainland Great Britain, if an island can be called a mainland. The pub at the end of the world.
Visitors can only get to the village 2 ways, either via a 2-to-3-day hike through what is described as “Britain’s last wilderness”, or as we did, by a choppy sea crossing.
We walked into the crowded pub, and there was a roaring fire going. One of the patrons got up and started playing the bagpipes. It was really a wonderful experience, especially when we found out that the captain had arranged for the cruise company to pick up the cost of all of our drinks.
The sun tried to come out, so we sat on a bench outside the pub and enjoyed the view of the loch and surrounding mountains, wishing that the cruise would go on for longer.
Then we remembered that we were there to see red deer, so we finished our drinks and headed off on one of the trails into the wilderness. Alas, we did not see any deer, but there were beautiful wildflowers everywhere, and with the mist on the mountains and the loch it really was lovely.
Back on the ship it was time to get ready for our last formal night. We went back to the lounge for pre-dinner drinks, and the captain gave his farewell speech. It was great to see everyone all dressed up, and an abundance of kilts and trews.
We headed down to the dining room and settled in for our last supper. All of a sudden there was the sound of bagpipes, and the captain entered with a haggis and recited Robert Burns “Ode to a Haggis”. Something my grandfather would do on Burns night, although my Welsh grandmother would not allow haggis in the house.
We all got to eat the haggis, well not all, I avoided it as usual.
After a really splendid meal we all headed back to the lounge and stayed up until the early hours drinking and talking about our experiences. Everyone had had a wonderful cruise and we all agreed that the itinerary changes were not a problem at all. It was strange, but we felt tearful saying goodbye to each other. It was amazing how connected we all felt.
Then we took pity of the poor staff who were still up way past their normal bedtimes I expect, and reluctantly we headed back to our cabins.
We anchored overnight near to Oban, so we were alongside and ready to disembark by 9:30 after yet another great breakfast. We said our fond farewells to the hardworking staff and crew, and boarded the coach to Glasgow.
We waved goodbye to the Hebridean Princess. This was such a change from our usual cruises, but it was a really great experience. Once settled on the coach, I turned on my phone and found the Hebridean Cruises website. Time to look for information about future cruises. 2023 maybe?