Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Captain of the Canal

P1010595Took me a little while to find a photo of our Scotland cruise barge captain, Mick.  He was usually in the wheelhouse and not often available to chat.  The last night of our trip was his time to relax and enjoy a meal with us all (and plenty of wine since he wasn’t on duty the next day).  And we got to know Mick, just little bit. 

Always a few degrees of separation, we learn he captained  in the Caribbean for The Moorings—the same outfit our travel partners, John and Wanda, sailed with on a couple of occasions.  It was probably just by chance that Mick didn’t captain their trip and they knew many of the same people.  Mick is now in Scotland to be closer to his hometown of York and captain a larger vessel with European Waterways which allows him enhance his captain’s credentials.

P1010513Our captain expertly got us through a number of small locks (photo at right), the narrow canal channel, large lochs (past the Loch Ness monster), and ancient tiny bridges (including a swing bridge still hand-cranked open).

P1010492Our lodging for the week was on the barge, Scottish Highlander.  Originally a cargo barge operating in Holland built in 1931.  It was 117 feet long and converted to a hotel barge in 2000.  A maximum of 8 passengers to 4 staterooms and 4 crew members (captain, tour director, chef and hostess—also worked as deckhands!) assigned to a private stateroom each.  Each stateroom had a private head or bathroom. 

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