April A-Z: J is for Jacobite Cruises

I can’t take you for a trip round Inverness without there being some mention of Loch Ness, but of course with all non-essential tourist trips being decidely out of bounds for everyone for the forseeable future, all I can do is share an image of the Jacobite Maverick, one of the four tourist boats used by Jacobite Cruises for trips on the loch, rather than actually take you out on the water as intended.

Luckily for me, the Jacobite Maverick is moored in Muirtown Basin at the moment, so I walk past her regularly when on my one permitted outdoor exercise a day. She is the newest of the four cruise boats, and according to their website she is a 200-seat custom-built catamaran, 21.34m in length and with a top speed of 17 knots. And I love the way the ‘LN’ logo for Loch Ness is made to look like a Nessie with a tall neck and a sea-serpent hump – very clever design!

I’ve been kayaking on Loch Ness (long ago, in my mid-teens) which was a great experience, but have never actually been out on the loch on a tourist boat – so I’m really looking forward to being able to take my camera out on a wee cruise as soon as the world opens up again 🙂

PS My bucket list of stuff to do once this corona virus crisis is over is growing by the day – but the good thing is it’ll no doubt keep me busy with future blog posts for a while! 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

A Beautiful Sight

Walking along the path by the Caledonian Canal yesterday afternoon I came across this beautiful sight – it was partly the way the light hit the boats that caught my eye, the bright highlights of the white masts and the softness of the pastel clouds reflected in the stillness of the water. There’s a slight curve in the canal at this point, so I came round the corner and there they were, all these beautiful boats sitting moored in the Muirtown Basin just waiting to be captured by my camera… it felt like one of those immediate photographic moments that was just meant to be… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: ‘ght’

Muirtown Swing Bridge

After any boats travelling along the Caledonian Canal have descended through the system of locks to reach the ‘natural’ water level on their way out to the Beauly Firth at Inverness, they then have to go through the Muirtown Swing Bridge.

Whenever necessary, the traffic is stopped, and the bridge swings smoothly open on a pivot to allow the boats to go through. Once the boats are safely through, the bridge swings closed again and the traffic too continues on its way 🙂

Muirtown Locks on the Caledonian Canal

Muirtown Locks in Inverness are on the Beauly Firth end of the Caledonian Canal, and comprise four closed chambers bordered by five lock gates. By increasing or decreasing the level of water within each chamber and opening and closing the gates in order, it is possible for boats travelling along the canal to be raised or lowered to the height of the next chamber, then the procedure is repeated – a bit like a water staircase for boats.

We were walking along the canal side the other day as two boats were descending through the system of locks, so I took a few pics with my camera phone. By the time we arrived, the boats had already gone through the first chamber and had started their descent towards the Beauly Firth.

The first image is taken from the middle of the first lock gate, which when closed creates a narrow pedestrian ridge across the canal, looking towards the Beauly Firth. The second is taken from the next lock gate along, looking down on the boats as the water level reduces to the level of the third chamber, shown in the third image. The fourth image shows both boats in the third chamber, and the fifth shows them in the fourth chamber with the lock gates closing behind them. The last image is of the boats waiting to descend through the last chamber to the lowest water level below 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Middle