We loaded everyone aboard and went for a sail on the Moray Firth. As we passed under the suspension bridge the men working on the scaffolding called out to us asking for rum to be sent aloft as it was happy hour and each of the crew had drinks in hand! The lock keeper had said we must be back by 1700hrs latest in order to lock back into the Seaport Marina Basin. We docked around 1800hrs and fare welled Garth and Vicki who were travelling to Edinburgh together and then we were four.
The next morning Graham hired a Hyundai 4×4 and captan and crew headed for Aviemore and the whisky distilleries in the area. We had lunch at the Cairngorm Hotel opposite the railway station in Aviemore. It was a trip down memory lane for Paul and myself. Paul had spent two seasons as a ski patroller in Aviemore back in the seventies when the place was humming. While working on the rigs in the North Sea as a roughneck, myself and three other workmates had decided that to spend our shore leaves in the Speyside caravan park was a far better deal than hanging around Aberdeen in bars as we could go skiing and ice skating and still enjoy the craic in the bars at night.
We managed to visit three distilleries during the day and sample their product- Tomatin, Glenfarclas and Aberlour. We tried to find Glenlivet but were unsuccessful. We did however have a marvellous drive through the Scottish countryside.
That evening we dropped Paul at the bus depot in Elgin where he was to catch a train to Aberdeen – and then we were three! We drove the short distance from Elgin to Lossiemouth to take a look at the harbour and entrance as we expected to enter the harbour the following night. It has a very narrow entrance and can be dangerous in certain sea conditions because of the shallow entrance and the nearby surf.
The next day, Wednesday 18 June we went downtown Inverness for a look around and picked up a few essential items. I had a pair of jeans with holes in both pockets caused by nails and screws . It is a pain in the butt when you put coins into your pocket and have to retrieve them from your sock or shoe! I walked into a sewing alterations shop, dropped my trousers in the change booth and waited until the pockets were sewn up and pulled them back on – 10 minutes tops and problem solved. I also found the Butcher Shops in Scotland to be very traditional with well presented meat in the display case and all of the staff in clean white uniforms with hats and ties on plus great product.