In 2019, Peter and his family chartered the Scottish Highlander from Banavie to Muirtown in the majestic Scottish Highlands:
“This is a picture of our family on a drizzly morning at Glen Coe. Such a beautiful place with a sad history. Here are two sets of brothers and four couples, a great first time family vacation. Our trip during August of 2019 on the Scottish Highlander was magical with our fantastic crew and of course the Scottish scenery. Our tour guide, Sonia really brought to life Scottish history and inspired me to write a poem about our trip. I read this poem to the crew at our captains dinner on the last evening…”
(dedicated to Sonia Patrick, who provided both the inspiration and the first stanza)
“The ice melted
and up popped Scotland,
Wee bonnie Scotland.”
Then came the rains that turned her green,
More shades of which I’ve never seen,
And painted her hills with purple heather,
thistle, broom and clover.
The lochs grew deep, the burns ran fresh
with salmon bright and pink of flesh.
Deer and fox then roamed the land
where mighty forests grew to stand.
Soon came the Celts, the Scots and Picts
and Vikings in their mighty ships.
Their clans began to grow and thrive
and parse the land among their tribes.
Then came the Romans with their church,
their castles built of stone and birch.
Subduing all the peoples,
imposing their own brand.
Reordering life with their God’s demands.
Now here we’ve come, our merry band
of brothers and sisters
and man, with man.
We’ve come to see your lovely glens
with wildflowers profuse,
Your castles, your ruins, canals and lochs,
perhaps even a leviathan.
We’ve seen owls and hawks that fly with strings
And young men playing on musical things,
of loves and loss
and drinks well tossed,
And all the joy Caledonia brings.
We’ve been wrapped up in tunics and in kilts.
We’ve tasted whiskey at Tomatin.
We’ve dodged the rain and swatted the midges.
We’ve even tried some of your gin.
We’ve tasted your wonderful food as well.
And possibly, a wee small dram;
delicious salmon, succulent lamb,
And maybe even some haggis,
Or perhaps just another wee dram.
You’ve treated us fine with (too) much delicious food
and lovely wines (all French) and whiskey too.
You’ve taught us of your life and times
with stories of love and wars and crimes.
Keeping us safe along our way
Through lochs and locks I cannot name.
From Glenn Coe to Culloden,
From Eilean Donan to Loch Ness.
Though if there is a monster there
I surely cannot guess.
And now we’re docked unto our final muir
at lovely Inverness.
Your hospitality has truly been second to none.
It’s been a most amazing trip.
The sites, the food, the whiskey, the wine,
perhaps you’ll have some diet tips.
But sadly, now the time has come
that we must bid adieu,
To the Highlands, and the Scottish Highlander
and to her merry crew.
Mick, our fearless captain,
and Jim our awesome chef.
Charlotte kept the boat tied tight,
and Kirsteen, she poured the whiskey right.
And last, but certainly not the least, dear Sonia,
our trusty guide through Canal Caledonia.
Tomorrow we must take our leave
And begin our journey home.
But though we may live far away,
Wee bonnie Scotland
Will always, in our hearts,