Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Fort Augustus to Inverness

    After an exciting morning of making our way through the canal lochs at Fort Augustus, we triumphantly ventured into the beautiful, panoramic surrounds of Loch Ness. As we cruised along, Carol gave a fascinating talk on the Jacobite rebellion and explained how this eventually led to the dark period of Scottish history, the Highland Clearances. About halfway down Loch Ness, we encountered the ruins of Urquhart Castle, a historically strategic military fortification, set on a promontory which extends into the loch. While we enjoyed the castle and sunshine, we also scanned the loch for freshwater species and took in the rich landscapes.

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  • Corpach to Fort Augustus

    After a tranquil night in the Caledonian Canal at Corpach at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, there was no sight of the mountain this morning as the view was hidden behind a veil of cloud and mist. Berthed close to us was the Vic 32, built in 1943, a rare survivor of a Clyde Puffer, a coal-powered workhorse that once plied the west coast of Scotland. But soon we were sailing in stately fashion along the canal to Banavie, where first the railway bridge, then the road bridge swung open for us to pass, before we began our ascent of Neptune’s Staircase. This flight of eight locks is one of the most spectacular features of Telford’s Canal, which was completed in 1822, although we were as much a curiosity to the canal-side onlookers as the historic engineering was to us.

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  • Oban to Corpach, Scotland

    Waking in the west coast port town of Oban, we were met with beaming sunshine—setting the mood for our day. We sailed inland through Loch Linnhe where we were met by not one but two white-tailed eagles, one of which soared majestically above us for some time. We also spotted several groups of harbor seals, hauled-out of the water on rocky skerries enjoying the sunshine, and then a group of three porpoises—the smallest member of the whale and dolphin family found in the Northeast Atlantic. 

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  • Iona and the Isle of Mull

    We slipped away from the quay in Tobermory early in the morning and made our way through the Sound of Mull to the ferry port of Craignure. From there a bus took us on single track roads the length of the island to a local ferry to the island of Iona. We passed numerous folds of Highland cattle grazing in the bracken or paddling in the shallows. Grey herons and oystercatchers dabbled along the edge of the sea-lochs as we traveled westwards over impossibly narrow humpbacked stone bridges and through picturesque coastal fishing villages.

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  • Inverie, Eigg & Tobermory, Scotland

    As we woke in Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, the sunshine broke through the clouds, painting the wonderful mountainous surroundings in dappled rays. As we left the region that morning, we spotted a majestic white-tailed eagle overhead, Britain’s largest bird. 

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  • Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye, Scotland

    What would our first day of exploration in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland bring? Our ship, Lord of the Glens, was berthed at Kyle of Lochalsh, once the ferry port for the Isle of Skye and the Western Isles. It is now the home of the Skye bridge, which formed an elegant sweep across the view on our port side. Here, Skye and the mainland are separated by 250 yards of foaming sea loch.

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  • Isle of Skye and Kyle of Lochalsh

    Rain, rain, rain. It is the generous annual rainfall that gives Scotland its lush, green landscape, and today we experienced it for ourselves. Slipping away from our berth at Inverie in the early morning, Lord of the Glens sailed north through soft mist to our final berth at Kyle of Lochalsh, under the shadow of the Skye Bridge. Soon our bus was carrying us over the bridge, completed in 1995, and across the Sleat Peninsula to Armadale Castle, the spiritual home of the MacDonalds.

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  • Isles of Mull and Eigg

    We had bright sunshine all day! It was a real treat. In the morning, we explored Tobermory with it’s pretty, colorful houses. We strolled through the varied and fun shops in town, hiked to a lighthouse, and went for a history walk.

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  • The Isle of Mull and Iona

    After our sail to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, we boarded our coach for a stunning drive across the island. Sheila, our driver, entertained us with her commentary. As we drove, we all spotted a sea eagle! It was just a few hundred yards from us, and it flew up and away, landing behind some rocks. It was an amazing sighting—so close!

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  • Corpach to Oban, Highlands of Scotland

    Oystercatchers dabbling along the shore at the mouth of the Caledonian Canal witnessed our passing through the sea lock at Corpach, past the last “pepperpot” lighthouse and out into the open waters of Loch Linnhe. Exquisite Highland scenery—heather-covered hills and mountainsides; emerald green islands; Stalker Castle, an Iron Age stronghold more than 2,000 years old; and scattered coastal hamlets—slipped by on our passage southwest to Oban. We glimpsed a juvenile white-tailed sea eagle, as well as eider ducks and gannets, and soon we were rounding the headland into the deep haven of Oban Bay.

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