The next day we moved our luggage to the Glenmorriston Hotel to be picked up for the cruise. While
waiting in the lounge, we met 2 fellow passengers, Mike and Mary Beth, who were from Florida, and we hit it off with
them. I turned out they had worked for a company that made amateur radio equipment, and since I was a "ham" radio
operator, I was quite familiar with it.
We met the other two couples, Ken and Char and Dick and Pat, who were friends and were from the Chicago area. We were
then met by Kirsten, who would be our driver and guide during the trip.
The trip to Fort
William from Inverness was to be about 2 hours, so we broke it up in the middle by visiting Urquhart Castle.
When Sally and I toured the castle over 10 years ago, there was just a little trailer that sold tickets and a paper
guidebook. There was now a visitor center, with elevator, and a large gift shop. The castle was as we remembered, and
I toured the various parts of it, including the tower.
We were then take to Fort William to board the Scottish Highlander. We were greeted by Geoff the skipper, Davina the
housekeeper, and last but certainly not least, Tommy our chef. After our champagne welcome, I was presented with a
bottle of Oban 14 year old malt, my lockkeeper competition prize.
After getting settled in our cabin, which was more spacious than I had expected, we had a briefing from Geoff
about our plans for the next day. He had a super map of the canal, and being a collector of maps, I was greatly
interested in it. He explained where we would be going the following day, and what we would see.
We then sat at
the dining area table for dinner, and Tommy came out and explained what he had prepared, and the wines that would
accompany the meal. I also noticed that they were carrying some 10 single malts, and never having tasted some of them,
I planned to sample them during the cruise.
morning we set out with Kirsten driving and acting as our guide. Our first stop was at Glen Coe, called the "Vale of
Weeping" because of the massacre of the MacDonalds while they were sleeping. The worst part of this was it happened
after they had given their hospitality to the people who killed them.
From there we were taken to Loch Sheil, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard to unite the clans against the
English. There is a monument in the form of a tower with a figure of him at the top. We then climbed a hill on a 30
degree footpath that reversed itself half way to the top. Upon reaching the top, there was a great view of the
Glenfinnan Viaduct! Unfortunately, we had to leave before the Jacobite steam train would pass over it.
We then returned to the barge for a great lunch and dinner. Before every meal Tommy would come out of the
galley and tell us what the appetizer, main course, cheeses and wines would be. At the end of the cruise we were
presented with a paper that listed all the meals, wines and cheeses that we were served!
Later, we went to
the Commando Memorial in Spean Bridge. This was an area used during the war to train commandos. There was also a
Commando Museum nearby where the Victoria Cross citations were displayed. The Victoria Cross is the equivalent of our
Medal of Honor.
Too soon, on Saturday, after our last meal on the barge, (sob) we were taken to the Inverness train station.
Sally summed up the trip by saying," I am only sorry I do not have this trip to look forward to".
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