Greenock's Custom House Quay

Glasgow 2014 flotilla: in pictures

I’ve arrived in Glasgow many times but never before to waving, cheering crowds. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have brought people out in their thousands to watch events both ticketed and free – and to launch it all, on Saturday July 26th 250 boats sailed up the Clyde from Greenock to the Glasgow Science Centre.

I was lucky enough to be one of the guests onboard CalMac‘s MV Lochinvar, which led this flotilla – the largest ever seen on the Clyde – up the water from Greenock. The MV Lochinvar is CalMac’s newest vessel and was built at Ferguson’s Shipyard in Port Glasgow – which we would sail past on our voyage. It is also one of the ferry company’s two hybrid ferries, which use innovative technology, including battery banks that supply a minimum of 20% of the energy consumed on board.

We set out from Gourock to join the flotilla, departing from this scenic town at the mouth of the Clyde and making our way up the river that was once the heart of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry. I was expecting heavy industry but instead saw geological anomalies, such as Dumbarton Rock, a fortress that has a longer recorded history than any other in Britain, the grand neoclassical Custom House at Greenock quayside, and thousands of flag-waving locals lining the river’s banks.

Here are just some of the many pictures I took along the way.

 

The MV Lochinvar at Gourock

The MV Lochinvar at Gourock

Leaving Gourock

Leaving Gourock

Arriving at Greenock to join the flotilla

Arriving at Greenock to join the flotilla

Greenock's Custom House Quay

Greenock’s Custom House Quay

An empty car deck aboard MV Lochinvar

An empty car deck aboard MV Lochinvar

Keeping watch from the bridge of MV Lochinvar

Keeping watch from the bridge of MV Lochinvar

Dumbarton Rock

Dumbarton Rock

The MV Lochinvar passes Dumbarton Rock

The MV Lochinvar passes Dumbarton Rock flo

Leading the flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow

Leading the flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow

Passing Erskine Bridge

Passing Erskine Bridge

The flotilla passes underneath Erskine Bridge

The flotilla passes underneath Erskine Bridge

A plane flies overhead as we near Glasgow airport

A plane flies overhead as we near Glasgow airport

The flotilla nears Glasgow

The flotilla nears Glasgow

The BAE shipyard, where the nation's new aircraft carriers were recently built

The BAE shipyard, where the nation’s new aircraft carriers were recently built

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Greeting the crowds as we enter Glasgow

Greeting the crowds as we enter Glasgow

Hundreds of spectators lined the waterfront at the Glasgow Science Centre

Hundreds of spectators lined the waterfront at the Glasgow Science Centre

Greeting the crowds at our final destination, the Glasgow Science Centre

Greeting the crowds at our final destination, the Glasgow Science Centre

The yachts finish their journey at Pacific Quay

The yachts finish their journey at Pacific Quay

St Kilda

St Kilda: the islands on the edge of the world

I have just returned from my most epic trip of the year so far – sailing out to the UK’s most isolated islands, the St Kilda archipelago with Hebrides Cruises.

Just reaching these abandoned islands is a feat in itself. Read all about my journey through three days of Atlantic waters and Hebridean islands to reach land on Hirta here.

I was also lucky enough to spend a full day walking on Hirta. Read my article on this here.

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Cape Greco Cyprus

Alternative Ayia Napa: my piece for the Guardian

Ayia Napa doesn’t exactly spring to mind when you think of relaxing beach breaks but this resort on the eastern end of Cyprus is popular for a reason – it has some cracking beaches. I headed out to Cape Greco, just outside the town, to explore this rarely visited rugged cape on the edge of Europe.

You can read my article on discovering Cape Greco on the Guardian website here.

 

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The best of Cornwall: guides to the north and south coasts for the Guardian

One of my favourite trips in recent months has been the week I spent exploring Cornwall for the Guardian. I saw shiny new hotels, much-loved local restaurants and more perfect beaches than you could shake a beach towel at.

It was tough to narrow these down to my top picks, but you can read about my favourite places on the northern Cornish coast here and the southern coast here.

 

 

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Wieliczka salt mine: my piece for Rough Guides

Last winter the British Guild of Travel Writers had its AGM in  Poland. As part of this we visited the Wieliczka salt mine, which dates back to the 13th century and features the famous underground salt chapel.

We also did the Miner’s Route tour of the mine, finding out what life was like for the people who mined salt here. You can read my article about this tour for Rough Guides here.

Travel writer, editor and broadcaster