The United Kingdom

We left Mermaid on the hard in Grenada and flew to LA for five days to get passports renewed and visit with David and Kathy in Pasadena. It’s always a hoot there and all had a fun playing Big 2, going to the movies and attending a MLS game in the new LAFC stadium near downtown.

Next, it was on to London where we stayed at the Cruising Association’s guest quarters in Limehouse. We found it convenient to the tube and all the attractions. We wore ourselves out visiting museums, palaces, The London Eye and other attractions. Our friends Tony and Hazed of SV Longbow joined us for a few days and it was great seeing them again.

We took a bus from London to stay for a few days in the Cotswolds with Richie and Claudia. Claudia has converted an old barn into a chic and comfortable home. Its a laid back place with sheep and horses grazing contentedly in verdant fields that cover the low, rolling hills.

Next it was off to Scotland to see our good friends James and Charlotte. We took a train and spent a day in Edinborough to see the sites. After a few days of fun with them we rented a car before heading out to explore Scotland on our own. James outdid himself gathering information for us as our tour guide with maps and information on sites not to be missed.

We headed north and west on the very narrow windy roads with Mike still getting used to driving on the left. Much of our route was along the North 500 loop and we were awed at the sites. Everyone had warned us about the weather in Scotland and told us to bring rain gear, boots and sweaters. We did but found ourselves in shorts and short sleeve shirts every day. The weather during our stay was spectacular. Robin really wanted to see the puffins so on the Isle of Skye we hopped on a tour boat on Isle of Skye and were not disappointed! It was a pleasant sunny day and motored out to a small island with a puffin rookery where we got up close and personal with the colorful birds bringing sand eels they had gathered back to their chicks. We also had quite an adventure up on the north coast at Dunnet Head up on the north coast where Robin leaned out over the edge of a 300 foot cliff to get puffing photos while Mike held on to her belt loops to make sure she didn’t go over. A highlight of the journey was the afternoon we spent hiking out onto a large peninsula near Durness. The peninsula was undeveloped and had spectacular beaches, sand dunes and sea cliffs. We trekked out through the dunes then along the very narrow paths that ran along the top of the cliffs enjoying the dramatic views of the sea and the abundant sea birds then back along the pristene beach. Of course, you can’t visit Scotland without visiting a few castles and sampling a wee dram of the local distiller’s creations so we did our bit.

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