Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Take a Scottish Cruise in Your Own Yacht...Yeah

This is a yacht similar to that you could rent from Le Boat.  And this is an idea that sounds great to me and I've always liked.  Le Boat rents yachts so that you can take your own trip and do the things that you want to do on some of the most scenic European waterways.  They operate in several areas, but the one that I've always thought sounded like the most fun is to cruise the Caledonian Canal in through the highlands of Scotland.

   Now, the idea of cruising through beautiful scenery in a 2, 3, or 4 cabin cruiser may sound expensive.  It's really not.  The cost of a yacht to rent can be as low as $1,800.  If that sounds like a bit much, remember, that's your transportation, hotel rooms and it's by the boat, not by the person.  All in all, it's a pretty good deal.

Urquhart Castle

 That's right.  Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness are on this trip.  The Great Glen is an amazing place to see.  In summer months you can go swimming with Nessy.  Who do you know who can say that?  There are many amazing things to do and sights to see along the way.
  This is Ben Nevis, the highlands biggest mountain.  What else is there to see in the highlands of Scotland?  Well, there's castles obviously, but there are other things.

This is called the Falkirk Wheel.  What is it?  It took me a while to follow.  There are two canals involved here.  One of which is the Caledonian.  This wheel is actually a type of lift to transfer boats from one canal to another.  It's the only one of it's kind in the world.  The Falkirk Wheel is a big tourist attraction in the area.  From this iconic destination you can kayak, walk, rent a bicycle or even play inside a massive plastic floating ball to explore the area.  You can find out about it all in a massive visitor center where they will help you decide which way you would like to explore the area.  I love the unusual and there it is.
the stunning Jacobite route
Does this look familiar?
The Hogwarts Express
How about this?
That's right, this is also Harry Potter land.  If you're a fan, you'll want to ride the Jacobite.  The Jacobite is an old steam train the runs through the Scottish highlands and you guessed it--that's where they filmed the train scenes for Harry Potter.  You can catch the train most days in Mallaig for a wonderful ride through the lands of Harry Potter.
Here you can see the route that you would be sailing on in your yacht on the Caledonian Canal.  The little towns, the castles, the sights, the trains, and the freedom to decide for yourself where to stop and what to do.  I recommend vacations where you get to choose when and where you go and what you do.  I'm not a fan of guided tours.  Real memories are created by going where you want when you want and with whom you want.
 Rum from Mallaig 2 children cycling along canal towpath

Mallaig Visitor Centre

  No matter how you look at it, the area is quite something to explore.  There's nothing not to like.  For the most part, you get away from the city and see the true highlands.  You get to wander and enjoy the local villages.  You get to meet all the people along the way and learn about the local culture.  There is not reason not to love this idea.  You can rent your boat for a week or a month.  The Le Boat company has many options.  And if you've never captained a yacht, they'll put you through a short course to teach you how to do that too.
Remember, it's the unique that you remember most fondly.  Le Boat operates all over Europe, so you can go to Germany, Italy, France, and other countries, but Scotland is special.  Give it a shot and see what it's like to relax and do what you want with your vacation.

Don't miss out on this one.  It's a freedom you'll most likely never get again in travel.

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