Log #16p Repairs & Touring Scotland

October 25, 2000 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 16 Scotland, The Logs

Log #16p Repairs & Touring Scotland

Written at Lagny-sur-Marne, France
Oct. 25, 2000
Covers the period August 1 to 11, 2000

Snug in Kip Marina at Inverkip, just outside Glasgow, we had several things repaired and checked out for us. The damage done to the rudder in Scalpay turned out to be minimal, and Veleda did not have to be taken out of the water for it to be assessed. The technician who looked at it said it would not get worse. He also identified that our steering quadrant needed to be tightened up, and that helped the tracking problem with our autopilot. A welder came down and was able to weld our stern rail without removing it from the boat. He even left the piece of rebar inside, and said that the weld and rebar would be stronger than the rest of the stern pulpit. The technician who looked at our GPS (as it was periodically going out with the message “Poor coverage”) replaced our antenna connection as the original was showing signs of corrosion. We have not had any problems with the GPS since. He also helped Judy by soldering the connections for the bilgewater alarm she was making from a smoke alarm. The Mariner mechanic identified a faulty idle/enrichment bracket as being the problem, but did not have a replacement in stock, and indicated it would be a couple of weeks to order one in. We decided to go on and order it from a marina to which we would be going later. (That was the start of a long two month saga associated with the poor Mariner supply systems!) More about this aspect in a later log.

With all these repairs out of the way, I was free to go to London for a few days to get a medical at the local clinic near Limehouse Basin, as the CA house there is my UK address. I got the checkup OK, and am now covered by the NHS in England and throughout the EU. Judy as my dependent is also covered. This was possible as I took out British citizenship (as my father was born in Wednesbury, England), and I subsequently taught at a local high school in the Tower Hamlets for February and March while living on board Veleda at the CA House marina  in Limehouse Basin.

When I returned, we bought a four day rail pass which we used to go to Hadrian’s Wall, near Carlisle. It was an enjoyable trip, walking and bussing half the length of this historic structure and visiting several forts and outposts in varying states of preservation. We made no prior arrangements, and were fortunate to find an enjoyable B&B at a local farm within walking distance of one of the forts. After having afternoon tea there, we wandered around the farm and local countryside which bordered the Wall. We had our evening meal with the owners, as we were the only visitors at that time, and they prepared a lunch for us to take with us the next day. The cost for such personal service was very economical. The total cost for bed, breakfast, tea, supper, and a picnic lunch for the two of us was less than £60.00. Very nice people!

The next day we continued our hike along the Wall to another fort and museum, from which we then took the Wall bus back to Carlisle. While there we went through Carlisle Castle, an extremely enjoyable well-preserved fortification dating back to Edward I. It played a crucial role in the Civil War, and the border wars with Scotland, and houses the museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders military unit. Going through such military museums of famed British regiments is a lesson in history, as they have been involved with wars and skirmishes all over the world for the last four or five centuries or longer. The Indian Mutiny, Boer War in Africa, Boxer Rebellion in China, the American Revolution, the Plains of Abraham, Louisburgh, Waterloo, WW I, WW II, Bridge on the River Kwai, Korea, Cyprus, Suez Canal, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kuwait, and other UN “Peacekeeping Missions” – artifacts, pictures, medals, gifts, weapons, – the many things that recreate the historical missions of these units, and serve as a memorial to the regiment and the people who valiantly dedicated their lives to it.

After leaving the castle we caught an evening train back to Glasgow and over to Inverkip and Veleda. Handy having a pass for unlimited train travel for a few days! The next day we were off to Stirling, the ancient Scottish capital before Edinburgh, and the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, at which in 1314 Robert the Bruce defeated a larger English army to gain 300 years of independence for Scotland (with continuing wars and battles to retain such independence of course). Stirling Castle itself was an extremely well preserved castle depicting its battles, strategic location, and significance in Scottish history. Then back to Veleda by evening train.

We spent three glorious days in Edinburgh, at a B&B for the second night. We enjoyed Edinburgh Castle of course, a tour of the underground streets (vaults or caves beneath the old city), Holyrood Palace, and had tickets for the Tattoo. It was a great spectacular display of military music, marching, bagpipes, and special presentations of Maoris from New Zealand, Aborigines from Australia, and Mounties from Canada, a great Commonwealth festival. At the end, the lone piper spotlighted on the ramparts was a heartrending finale to a fantastic colourful military musical festival.

We took in several performances of the “Fringe Festival”, for me, Shaolin Martial Arts, Japanese Taiko Drumming, and an American high school musical group presenting Broadway hits, and for Judy a reworking of the Iliad, and another called “Britannicus”, and a “Breakfast with Shakespeare” for both of us, before leaving to return to Veleda. I understand the Espanola Little Theatre group has been invited to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh next year. I lived in Espanola, up in Northern Ontario  for several years, and in fact that was where I met Judy. While there we participated with the ELT and enjoyed their camaraderie. Old friends Sharon and Bob Sproule and Walter Maskel are continuing to gain provincial, national, and now international recognition (They performed in Latvia this past summer.) for this amateur group of thespians. Well done Espanola! (population 5,500, 50 miles west of Sudbury, 300 miles north of Toronto, a paper mill town)

Thus, after 12 days in the same place (with a couple of days sail in the middle over to Rothsay on the Isle of Bute and up to the secluded Caladh Harbour in Loch Riddon), we headed down the Firth of Clyde in the late afternoon of August 8 for a short sail to a mooring buoy at Rosthey. The next day, in rain and force 8 gale we worked our way 8 miles to a refuge mooring in Kilchattan Bay further down Bute, where we stayed for the rest of the day and night on a rolly buoy. Then another 13 miles the next day to a pleasant little community of Brodick Bay, noted for its exquisite Victorian Toilets on the waterfront. We were working our way out of Scotland, and our last stop was Stranraer, a ferry terminal for the Belfast high speed ferries. We wanted to stay there only one night, but were forced back into port by force 8 gales the next day when we tried to leave. We didn’t feel like crossing the Irish Sea in a force 8 gale. The next day it had settled down and we had a pleasant sail and motorsail the 38 miles across the Irish Sea at this point to Bangor, just outside of Belfast. Goodbye Scotland! Hello Ireland!