For my 70th Birthday Sue took me on the Glen Etive, owned by Majestic Cruise Lines. The cruise was called “Mull – her inlets and islands”. It is a small ship – usually sailing with maximum 14 travellers in 7 cabins – yes, it’s intimate. Owing to Covid-19 regulations, we sailed with just 10 passengers in total, plus 4 crew.
We were due to sail from Oban but decided to break the journey by staying at Duck Bay next to Loch Lomond. I had used this hotel before when on business in Scotland. As we were due to sail late afternoon the following day we planned to visit a viewing platform at Inveruglas and also the Falls of Falloch on the way up to Oban. Fate decided this wasn’t to be.
The next morning we set off and within 20 minutes I got a warning beep from the car telling me we had loss of pressure from my left rear tyre. We decided to make for a garage to get some air and/or change the wheel. The nearest one was a filling station at Arrochar only 2 miles away so we headed for that. It was an automated filling station so I filled up then went to the air machine – it was out of order. I thought I’d try and change the wheel but after having jacked the car up and got the wheel nuts off, the wheel wouldn’t budge. I called The AA – joined and asked for a call out. They said they’d get someone there at 12:30 which would have allowed sufficient time to get sorted and up to Oban by 3:15. At 1pm he hadn’t shown up and I got a text from the AA saying they were still trying to contact their breakdown service. At 1.30pm I got a call from their engineer saying he was in traffic. By this time, panic was starting to set in. A group of bikers came into the station and even if the AA guy arrived he’d have no space to park. I wondered if any of the bikers had a foot pump or something to hand and went over to ask. One guy patted his jacket down and said in a heavy Glaswegian accent that he hadn’t got it with him. He must have seen the despair (I’m gonna miss the boat) and asked what the problem was. As soon as I explained we were trying to get to a boat and I couldn’t get the wheel off he and his biggest mate came over and asked for the brace, jack and spare. He couldn’t get the wheel off either but his large pal said “will I give it a kick” – and he did – the wheel fell off and was changed in 5 minutes. It was a spacesaver wheel so we had to limit to 50mph and got there around 3:20.
Some of the cruise was spectacular, we saw dolphins, White tailed eagles, heron, seals and a golden eagle flying so high it was impossible to get a decent image. The small Lochs we went in were beautiful, especially Loch Spelve and Loch Aline. Unfortunately, because of bad weather, we were unable to get a tender into Staffa for Fingal’s Cave and onto Lungha to see if there were any puffins left – two main reasons for wanting to go on the trip. The crew were really excellent and the food from Gordon, our chef, was fantastic. The cabins are very small but are decently equipped.
We probably won’t go on such a small ship again but Majestic are a very accommodating Cruise Line and we’re pleased to have been on this trip. Thanks to our fellow passengers as well – we enjoyed their company.