Monday, 9 July 2012

A wild account of an expedition cruise to Scotland

The Wild Scotland 2012 adventure surpassed my wildest expectations!

Sure, several of the places we visited are popular tourist destinations, accessible by local commercial travel choices. However, there's so much more to be gained by an all inclusive, extended Aurora adventure to the enchanted Scottish isles. Many of the stops were to remote and uninhabited islands. Stunning Hebridean scenery could be seen from the bridge in between the 2-3 landings per day (thanks to the Polar Pioneer open bridge policy).

At £300 for a day trip to St Kilda alone, I doubt there could be any economical advantage to doing it on your own.

Fingals Cave
One of the highlights of our afternoon on St Kilda, for example, besides exploring the World Heritage village, was zodiac drifting in a calm sea in the lea of Hirta and finding the grotto where a school of fish were hiding from circling, hungry gannets. A zodiac ride deep into Fingal's Cave was nothing short of thrilling (try to get a regular Staffa ferry to do that!)

The morning in one of the "most wild" places in Scotland was unforgettable. "Most wild" because signs of human habitation have yet to be found.

I'll never forget a magical, sunny day at Rubn'an Dunain, a site with Neolithic, Iron Age and Viking remains. Scenes of humanity through the millenia and how life in these ancient civilizations was so vividly brought to life, thanks to Carol, our onboard resident archeologist.

Rubn'an Dunain

My thought at the end of each day was, "..how could tomorrow possibly come close to topping this incredible day!?" But, it did!

The knowledge and experience of the expedition staff showed in their professionalism, care and attention to passenger needs. A great team!

Life aboard Polar Pioneer was comfortable, though most of the time it was back to the ship in time to eat or sleep. Meals were excellent, family style, simple and wholesomely gourmet.

Fellow shipmates, strangers from all corners of the globe, soon became freinds as our shared, extraordinary "Wild Scotland" adventure unfolded. The voyage of a lifetime!

Amy Cort, Wild Scotland, 2012

View a photographic account of Amy's voyage here!