The mist and low clouds that ended the day yesterday were there to greet us in the wee hours of the morning. Those of us who chose to get up early for a wee wander were certainly rewarded with a beautiful dawn chorus from the many birds and atmospheric scenery.
By breakfast, the Lord of the Glens cast off her lines and headed along the Caledonian Canal. During the morning, we enjoyed presentations on Thomas Telford and a little about each of the people who have decks named after them.
The early morning’s low clouds and mist were soon replaced by glorious sunshine, some clouds, and blue skies. The colors popped, a result of the heavy rainfall the previous day. There was no wind at all, and this allowed many of us to spend a lot of time on deck taking in the beauty around us. The canal became very narrow for quite a stretch, the ship nearly touching the banks. Two common buzzards and an osprey were observed, and they joined the list of the other birds, sheep, and cattle spotted along the way. At one point, a pair of sharp eyes spotted a couple roe bucks along the bank of the canal. During the morning, we reached the highest point of the canal.
As always, we had a delightful lunch. By the end, the ship had made it to the top of Neptune’s Ladder, which is a series of locks that we went through as we continued our descent to Corpach.
Just before reaching the lowest lock, we got off the ship to board our coach for an afternoon excursion to Glenfinnan. We took a short ride, and our driver pointed out matters of interest along the way.
Once at Glenfinnan, we split into two groups: an adventurous group that headed out for a longer and more demanding hike to the Glenfinnan Viaduct and then up to the top of the viaduct and on over the hillside to the railway station. The other group enjoyed an easier walk to the Glenfinnan Monument, which was built in 1814 to commemorate the Highlanders who gave their lives during the Jacobite uprising. Atop stands a Highlander to represent those who fell. From this spot, we retraced our steps and headed for the bottom of the viaduct. Some of us ventured a little higher to get a different view of this impressive 380-meter-long structure with its curve. Even fewer made it up to the viewpoint behind the coffee and souvenir shop.
Certainly, one of the highlights for us was to see the Harry Potter train go over the viaduct. It is called the Harry Potter train as it was here that several of the films were shot.
During recap, we enjoyed an excellent presentation from Captain Tony on the history and evolution of the Caledonian Canal.
After dinner, Alastair Gibson, Glenfinnan Estate Manager, gave us an excellent presentation on his many years working on the estate and how they manage their resources, particularly their red deer herds. Of course, being a typical Scot, he laced his talk with a number of wee stories.
Under the lovely pastel shades of evening, we headed down for a night’s rest and to recharge our batteries for the next adventure that awaits us.