Only one word can describe our Centenary Cruise on Saturday 14th August 2004 – PERFECT! The sun was splitting the skies, despite the awful weather earlier in the week; 185 people filled our cruise vessel; plenty of birds were seen; and over £1,345 was raised on the day.
The sailing on board MV ‘Cruiser’ left Largs at 10am in glorious sunshine heading for Lochranza on the Isle of Arran for a 2 hour stop before heading back through the Kyles of Bute to Largs.
Birding highlights of the day included a Golden Eagle (above Lochranza distillery) and a Storm Petrel (between Lochranza and Bute). Although only in small numbers, there were excellent views of Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Fulmars, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and Common Guillemots throughout the journey.
Also at Lochranza, Buzzards, Kestrels and a Peregrine were seen from the distillery grounds. A Dipper was noted on the approach to the distillery and a Common Sandpiper heard at the bay. Other wildlife included upwards of 20 Harbour Porpoises noted throughout the course of our journey, Scotch Argus, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies at Lochranza and an abundance of lions-mane jellyfish, especially between Lochranza and Bute. The non-birding highlight was when we passed the PS Waverley at Tighnabruaich and exchanged salutes!
Throughout the day the new centenary film “The Eagle Odyssey” was shown onboard to the delight of passengers. Commentaries were also given along the route. Mrs Hazel Allan from Saltcoats won a special magnum of champagne to celebrate the day and Group Leader and artist, Duncan Watt, auctioned off one of his unique paintings which went to Jim McDill from Kilwinning.
As a result of the cruise we were delighted to be able to donate £1500 towards the RSPB’s Sea Eagle re-introduction project on the Isle of Mull.