Roaming Around Britain – August 22nd – 31st
We really enjoyed our first experience with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, joining a group of 11, including my husband and me and our wonderful leader Alex.
The Delights of the Ship
We were on the Fred Olsen ship, Black Watch, so had the luxury of all the ship’s amenities. This included delicious buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, where we sat with our fellow rambler friends to enjoy a many-course meal. In the evenings, the ship’s cabaret included a wonderful comedian, Barnaby, a clever magician, Tensai, and a talented troupe of dancers. Then, on days at sea, there was a full range of activities to enjoy and when we were ashore, we completed five rambles of 5-8 miles.
The Orkney Isles
One of our stops was in Kirkwall, in the Orkneys. What a surprise! On a beautiful sunny day, we left the ship, and were taken by bus to the Kitchener Memorial. Kitchener died in the sea nearby in 1916, when his ship the HMS Hampshire went down.
The countryside was lush green with herds of very healthy Aberdeen Angus cattle, sturdy sheep and many fields of barley.
Our walk took us along the NW coast, where waves pound on the bare sandstone strata, forming dramatic cliffs with tiny coves and offshore island ‘stacks’. There was a wealth of sea birds, but we did not have the good fortune to see any seals or sharks.
After passing old fishermen’s’ huts, a hide for bird lovers and several locals, we arrived at the first sandy bay and the World Heritage Site of Skara Brae, a neolithic village inhabited even before the Pyramids were built. We had a fascinating hour wandering around.
Our cruise ship was guided into the deep ria estuary of Fowey, Cornwall, and on a wonderful, sunny Bank Holiday Monday, we were taken ashore in a tender boat. Our ramble was through the quaint town of Fowey, and along the coastal path to Gribbin Head. Our route took us through several charming, sandy bays, climbing up and down some steep slopes. Out at sea, a race was in progress, and on land many tourists were enjoying being outside.
We walked through a tiny village of Polridmouth, which was the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s Mandalay and then having reached the beacon at Gribbin Head, we turned north along more breath-taking cliffs to view the landscape around St Austell. After a steep descent into Polkerris we took advantage of a cold drink at the busy Rashleigh Inn.