Maritime Jewels of the British Isles - Overview

Maritime Jewels of the British Isles

Kathy and I are just back from our Grand Circle Tour (GCT) of the British Isles.  This was a small ship tour that started in London and ended in Edinburgh.  We left on June 12th and returned on June 27 with a two night stay in both London and Edinburgh with the rest of the time on the ship.

Two Happy Traveler.

The idea for the tour belongs to Kathy, she has always wanted to visit the Outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands.  This was the result of watching some of the Scottish PBS series and from the Peter May books, "The Lewis Trilogy",  that take place on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides.

Our tour director Charley
We had 90 travelers who were split into four groups.  Charley, our groups director was fantastic!  We hope to travel with her again in the future.  Groups did tours together, but on the ship we all mingled.  Meals were open seating (and the food was great!)  We enjoy this type of travel and will do it again.

Kathy and I loved Scotland and and hope to return someday.  We would love to visit the highlands and spend more time in Edinburgh.  The history is interesting, the people friendly, the food was good and I enjoyed photographing the places we visited.

In harbor.
Our ship was the MV Corinthian.  The crew did a fine job of getting us from port to port and did a great job with the one "tender" we did (the seas were rough by the time we got back to the ship and it took some effort to tie-up and unload.)  We had two nights of rough seas, one caused me to miss dinner (I can ill afford to miss any meals because I'm so slim.)  All in all it wasn't too bad.  Some folks took drugs or the patch and it seemed to help them.

We were allowed to visit the wheel house and I did so one morning as we came into Stromness in the Orkneys.  It was fun to watch them maneuver the ship into the slip.  The harbor master told me our ship is the the largest they can handle in this harbor.  There is a ferry that docks here, otherwise it is fishing vessels that use the harbor.  The computer maps they used showed some of the World War I and II sites, including the underwater sea wall Churchill had erected to prevent U-boats from entering the area.  It also showed the locations of the German vessels from WWI that the Germans sank at the end of the war to prevent the British from using them or the technology on board.  I was late for breakfast that morning, but it was well worth it.

The wheel house and side steering.
The captain and harbor master.

In the next couple of weeks I will put together blogs on the major stops along the way (with some of my "fabulous" photographs!)  Here is a map of the route we took on our British Isles trip. Click on the blue pins for information on each stop (close the pull out using the left facing arrow.)

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