I’m back!

I really enjoyed our trip to Norway, it was something I’d wanted to do again for donkey’s years, and often when you’ve looked forward to something so much it can be a wee bit of a disappointment. But Norway lived up to my expectations, I don’t suppose the fjords ever change, except when some more scree falls down the mountains, just making it even more scenic than before.

As ever, the food on the cruise was excellent, but luckily we were able to go for long walks when we got off the Black Watch, we were just about the only ones to do that, although one couple did hire bikes to travel up to the lakes at Flam.

Queensferry Crossing

The cruise started off from Rosyth though and we were lucky enough to be the first cruise ship to sail under the newly completed Queensferry Crossing which was being officially opened by the Queen the next day. It had been closed to traffic to allow 50,000 people to walk across the bridge over the weekend, it’s not a pedestrian bridge normally. There was a lottery for the tickets so as you can see there were people waving at us as we sailed under the bridge. The bridge isn’t open to pedestrians at all now so that was a rare opportunity for them – and for the passengers who were out on deck waving back to them, quite emotional really.

Queensferry Crossing

All going to plan tomorrow’s post will be in Norway!

The Forth Bridges – floodlit

Forth Bridge

Back to our October 2016 cruise and I woke up in the dark, realising that our ship Black Watch must have entered the Firth of Forth because there was almost no movement at all and very little engine noise.

Forth Bridge

I shot out of bed and luckily managed to locate the camera in the dark, Jack was still out for the count. The two photos above are of the Forth Bridge which is for trains only. It’s the one on my header.

I was just in time to take these photos of the bridges as we went under them, I took lots but most of them didn’t come out.

These ones are quite atmospheric though, certainly if you know what you’re looking at anyway.

The new road bridge is still under construction, but it’s not far off being finished.

new bridge the Queensferry Crossing

new bridge

If you want to see more photos under construction have a look here.

Cruising from Rosyth, Fife

We chose to go on a cruise leaving from Rosyth in Fife because it’s fairly handy for us, in fact we even looked at a house in Rosyth when we were looking for a new home a couple of years ago. Rosyth is by the River Forth and for me it meant that our trip would be exciting from the very start as we would be sailing under the bridges – all three of them, and getting up close to the third one – the Queensferry Crossing, still under construction. We checked in at 4.30 pm on September, 30th – as we were asked to and by 6.00 pm the Black Watch set sail. The photo below was taken from the ship, looking over to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh

The photo below is of one of the islands in the Firth of Forth, Inchcolm.

Inchcolm

The photo below is of the new bridge called the Queensferry Crossing, still under construction.

new bridge 1

The photo below is of Kirkcaldy where we used to live until a couple of years ago.

Kirkcaldy

If you look closely at the photo below I think you can just about make out all three bridges.

anew bridge 4

The week previously had been wild and windy but the weather had taken a turn for the worse as far as I was concerned as the North Sea that we sailed into was a flat calm. What a disappointment, I’ve always loved heavy seas, ever since going on an incredibly rough voyage to Scandinavia as a schoolgirl. Anyway, we sailed along at an average speed of 16 knots and after sailing from the North Sea into the English Channel I was a bit happier as the sea was quite a bit choppier there.

I was still wondering if we had done the right thing in going on a cruise though as I’m not really a people person. I’m fine once I get to know folks but a shipful of around a thousand strangers was a bit daunting to me. For the first few days I did a lot of reading in our cabin, apart from meal times. I must say the food was really delicious, but going out for fancy meals has never been my top way of relaxing, although I did get used very quickly to having everything done for me. The evening meal was five courses but we usually just had three courses, I think we were unusual in that.

Just about the first thing that struck us was that everybody seemed to be so much older than us. I reckon that the average age was about 80. To be fair we deliberately booked up a cruise that was for adults only, mainly because I thought it would be a nightmare if there were a lot of badly behaved kids rampaging around. It never occurred to me that going on a cruise is actually cheaper than paying for a care home – but it is, and I’m sure the care is better on board too! We did find a few people who were younger than us, some folks who were maybe only around 40 or so.

The ship seemed to be full of people who were more or less addicted to cruising, loads of them had booked up for their next cruise before this one came to an end. They claim that the sea air makes your clothes shrink!

When I started to explore the ship a bit more I noticed that there were loads of people reading books, a few using Kindles. John Grisham was very popular but I didn’t see anyone reading the sorts of books that I tend to go for. There were a fair few knitters around too. I had thought about taking some knitting as it’s getting on for my knitting ‘season’ but I really thought that I would definitely be looked on as being a bit eccentric – knitting on a cruise.

So the first few days I was a bit down and that song about Camp Granada kept running through my mind. But then we made friends with the people at the next door table, and we discovered some old friends were on the cruise, old in both ways as we’ve known them for 30 years or so and they are both over 80 and still going strong. So by the time we got to the first port – Lorient in Brittany on Monday I was feeling a lot more optimistic. Tomorrow I’ll show you some photos of that port.

The Queensferry Bridge from Fife, Scotland

It’s all go at the construction site of the new Queensferry Crossing, which is what I believe the new bridge spanning the River Forth is being called. You can just see a bit of the garden of a house on the right hand side, they have a great view of it all.

North Queensferry

The new bridge is reaching out over to Fife, they seem to be getting on with it quite quickly. In fact they’re way ahead of schedule and well under budget too – how often does that happen?!

North Queensferry

I think it’s going to look quite elegant when it’s finished.

North Queensferry

On one of our many recent night time journeys over what I suppose must now be called the old Forth Road Bridge, we took a detour down to the edge of the Forth so that I could take some photos by night.

New Queensferry  Bridge at night 1

It’s all well lit up as you can see, I think they’re working round the clock on it but there should be no danger of any vessels bumping into it. It’s quite a sight I think.

New Queensferry Bridge at night 2