A Travellerspoint blog

In search of Nessie


sunny 64 °F

We boarded the Barge Ros Crana at 2:0pm and, after a quick indoctrination and safety brief we got underway to start our adventure towards Ft. William. The first evolution was to transit through four locks to raise us up about 60 meters to get to the level of Loch Ness. It was a beautiful afternoon and many Scots were out walking and taking pictures. After the Lock transit, we cruised for another short time to our moor for the night. We had a nice dinner with new friends, got a brief about our upcoming travels, and enjoyed the rising of the full moon.
Ros Crana was purchased by Caledonian Discovery in January 2012 and then converted to carry her first passengers in May 2013. She has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and up to 6 crew members. The main difference between Ros Crana and her sister barge Fingal is that Ros Crana has an upper deck galley and dining saloon with great views outside.

Length: 44 metres
Beam: 5 metres
Displacement: 200 tonnes with water ballast
Engine: Gardner 6LXB 180hp
Bow Thruster: DAF 1160 200hp
Cruising Speed: 6 knots
Construction: Riveted and welded steel
Originally built: 1962 Tielrode, Belgium
Rebuilt: 2012/13
Registration: Inverness
Capacity: 12 guests and up to 6 crew
Guest accommodation: 6 twin ensuite cabins, large dining and saloon area
Operating area: The Great Glen including the Caledonian Canal, Loch Linnhe from Corran Narrows to Loch Eil, Beauly Firth and Moray Firth to Chanonry Point.


Posted by rpickett 11:58 Archived in Scotland Tagged inverness Comments (0)

In search of Nessie


sunny 60 °F

After a late flight and missed connection, I met my brother in Inverness Scotland for the start of our trip to Ft. William along Loch Ness with Caledonian Discovery aboard the barge Ros Crana.

Inverness is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Historically it served as the county town of the county of Inverness-shire. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird, and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen (Gleann Mòr) at its northeastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Beauly Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim (King David I) in the 12th century. Inverness and Inverness-shire are closely linked to various influential clans, including Clan Mackintosh, Clan Fraser and Clan MacKenzie.


Posted by rpickett 12:27 Tagged inverness Comments (1)

Royal Clipper

Photo Album

sunny 80 °F

I finally had time to edit my photo album of this wonderful trip.

Click Royal Clipper and enjoy!

Posted by rpickett 22:25 Comments (0)

Royal Clipper


sunny 80 °F

After a rather clumsy debarkation both on the part of the port and the ship, and after an antigen test so we could get back into the USA, we boarded a bus for an island excursion that would drop us off at the airport in about 4 hours.

Barbados is a beautiful island, often visited by the rich and famous. We drove by the exclusive resort where Simon Cowell will be married and did a photo stop at one of the high lookouts of the island.


Our first official stop was at the St. Johns Parish Church. St. John's Parish Church is the first church of St. John that is presumed to have been a simple wooden building, but its date is unknown. The parish along with St. George, was carved out of St. Michael in 1640–1641. But successive churches were badly damaged by the hurricane of 1675, the Great Hurricane of 1780, and finally destroyed by the Great Barbados hurricane of 1831. The present church building (the fifth) was built is 1836, and the chancel added in 1876. It is the prototype of the restrained Barbadian version of the Gothic parish church, and a beautiful Westmacott sculpture, commemorating Elizabeth Pinder, on the left of the main door.


Our next lunch stop was Sunbury Plantation. Sunbury Plantation House was built around 1660 by Matthew Chapman, an Irish/English planter, one of the first settlers on the island. He was related to the Earl of Carlisle and through this association, was granted lands in Barbados. Sunbury Plantation House is over 300 years old, steeped in history, featuring mahogany antiques, old prints and a unique collection of horse-drawn carriages.


After a great filling lunch we took the 15 minute drive to the airport and our flight home.

In spite of some Covid hassles, this was one of the best trips to the Caribbean that I have taken, visiting places the bigger ships can't go. I will definitely do this again.

Posted by rpickett 22:58 Archived in Barbados Comments (0)

Royal Clipper

St. Lucia

sunny 80 °F

We arrived at St. Lucia this morning to the beautiful harbor of Marigot Bay. Although the bay is spectacular there is not much ashore so we stayed aboard saving our excursion to the afternoon in Soufriere.

There were large estates run by colonizers of French origin in Soufriere, and their descendants still live in the area. The French Revolution of 1789 resulted in many Royalists being executed and the enslaved Africans were released from enslavement. However, Napoleon reintroduced slavery when he came to power. The British invaded St Lucia shortly afterwards, but the enslaved Africans and French deserters fought them in a guerrilla campaign until 1803 when they were defeated and St Lucia became a British colony. Also, during that time, Castries became the capital of St Lucia. Over the years, Soufrière has had to deal with hurricanes in 1780, 1817, 1831, 1898 and 1980, a major fire in 1955 and an earthquake in 1991. Many of these events have had to result in the town being rebuilt several times. Today, Soufrière is more dependent on tourism rather than agriculture. The Pitons are just south of the town and there are several attractions in the area. Many of the old estates are still there such as Soufrière Estate, Fond Doux Estate and Rabot Estate.

Our first stop was the wonderful Diamond Botanical Gardens, one of the best in the Caribbean, and is home to the Diamond Waterfall. Baron de Laborie, Governor of St. Lucia, built Sulphur Baths in 1785, using funds sanctioned by King Louis XVI of France. Troops and invalids used the baths for medicinal purposes, comparing the waters to those found at Aix-la Chapelle.


We then headed to the volcano caldera - the St. Lucia version of Yellowstone.


We finished the day with a cold drink, high above the harbor, before heading back to the ship for our return to Barbados.


Posted by rpickett 23:02 Archived in Saint Lucia Tagged soufriere Comments (1)

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