The squirrel is believed to have joined Majestic’s Heritage and Wildlife of South Argyll cruise on Sunday night. It is thought that he had been either frightened by a bird of prey or been involved in a territorial despite with another squirrel forcing him into the water and then up the anchor chain and abroad the traditional wooden vessel. He was discovered very early on Monday morning by Canadian guest Steve Boyton who is a professional photographer. He had risen early to capture the stunning sunrise of Loch Riddon where the Glen Massan had anchored overnight. He tried to capture the squirrel and the resulting commotion awoke the other 10 guests and 4 crew. Further efforts were made to capture the illusive stowaway which only resulted in the Glen Massan’s bosun being bitten on the finger!
The squirrel has been on board since and has clearly enjoyed his cruise. Cruise guests and crew have left both food and water out and he has been spotted on numerous occasions, especially at dinner time when he scampered around the dinner table on the stern sun deck.
An exhaustive search was made of the vessel this morning (Friday 10th September) which proved fruitless. Martin McWhirr, Glen Massan’s skipper said ‘There are 2 possibilitie - either our furry stowaway shinned back down the anchor chain and swam ashore, or he enjoyed his cruise so much, he’s decided to stay for another week!
However, the latter theory is the most likely as there have been no sightings since Wednesday night despite both food and water being left in various positions aboard. As the Glen Massan was moored in a secluded bay close to shore overnight, the most likely scenario is that he has made his way home. A close watch will be continued over the next week and the food and water will be replenished. Martin McWhirr concluded ‘If he is still aboard, our new guests are in for a real treat. He is a real character and if he is back where he belongs, we’ll certainly miss him’.
As a result of the world wide publicity surrounding the uninvited cruise guest, The Majestic Line this morning announced a new cruise ‘The Taste of Autumn’ which will run in October. This will include talks about Scottish wildlife and guests being taken to places ashore where numerous red squirrels live. They are considering building a hide for the sole purpose of red squirrel watching. The phones in the Edinburgh office have been ringing off the hooks with enquiries coming from all 4 corners of the world. Berths are selling rapidly.
The Majestic Line runs a total of 9 different cruises on the west coast of Scotland including “Around Mull: Inlets and Islands” and the hugely popular “Heritage and Wildlife of South Argyll”. Both 3 night mini breaks and full 6 night cruises are available. The 2 boats are based at the Holy Loch and Oban and are wonderfully converted traditional wooden vessels. They can accommodate a maximum of just 11 guests at any one time in the 6 fully en suite cabins. Both boats have a large lounge area where freshly prepared meals are served in a relaxed and informal setting and a sundeck at the stern which is ideal of wildlife spotting or simply watching some of Scotland’s most stunning coastline slowly slip by. Daily shore excursions are varied and include historic castles, gardens and remote villages and hamlets. Exact itineraries depend on which route is chosen.
It has been a record year for The Majestic Line with best ever number of bookings for the 2010 sailing season. Bookings for 2011 are also buoyant, currently approaching 50% occupancy. The Majestic Line also broke another record this year – almost 25% of its business was as whole boat charters where families celebrating a special occasion, groups of friends looking for the holiday of a lifetime or the odd well known celeb looking to get away from it all have all enjoyed hiring their own cruise ship.
The Heritage and Wildlife cruises are the most popular for both the Glen Massan and Glen Tarsan routes, offering unrivalled and unique vantage points to see some of the abundance of animal and marine life that thrives along the shores of the remote cruising areas of The Majestic Line. Red squirrels are commonly seen on shore walks but to date, never actually on board!
Notes to Editors
1 The Majestic Line was awarded Best Visitor Experience in the Highlands and Islands 2009 Tourism Awards.
2 The Majestic Line was recommended by Conde Nast Johansens international travel experts in 2010. They commented ‘we loved the magical and memorable experience that only a Majestic Line cruise can offer’.
3 Cruise itineraries and on shore trips are weather dependent.
4 Prices are fully inclusive with the exception of spirits which can be purchased from the well stocked bar. Malt whisky is a specialty.
5 Stunning high resolution images are available.
6 A spokesperson is available for comment/interview.
7 Bookings and additional guest info is available via www.themajesticline.co.uk or 0131 623 5012.
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