Friday last we went on a little trip down the Tay hoping to see some dolphins.

We didn’t, although we did manage to see a seal and loads of birds… and of course, we saw Dundee and Broughty Ferry from angles we’d never see them before. The guys who were in charge of the ship were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about what we were seeing and it was a really interesting hour (more or less).


We learned that the organisation that runs these trips is a charity and the commercial trips (it was a snip at £10 for an hour) help to pay for free trips for sick kids and their friends. They also work with ex-offenders, teaching nautical skills, and with people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. Pretty worthwhile, we thought.


It was a grey day, and so the photographs are even less stunning than my normal poor camera work, but, although I rarely advertise anything here, it was such a fun experience that I thought I’d let you know about it. (For those of you who aren’t from Scotland, we do sometimes have bright sunny, warm days! It’s not always like this.)


I know that there are quite a few readers in the Angus/Dundee/North Fife area, and if any of you fancy an hour’s excursion and the possibility of some wildlife close up whilst knowing that your fare will be helping folks, it’s well worth getting in touch with these guys and booking a trip. (If you do, remember that once you get out of the harbour and into the river, you lose a few degrees in temperature, so take a coat, and be prepared to get a bit wet. It can be a little rough out there.)


You can contact the guys through this website, or by phoning 01382 542516. (And yes, you ever get to steer the boat, although Munguin was in the first class cabin and declined to do so!)


And especially for Danny, I’ve included a picture of Broughty Ferry Castle (coz he likes castles) which is situated right where you embark.


Apologies again for the quality of the pictures.

46 thoughts on “A TRIP ON THE TAY”

  1. I had a fabulous trip with wife and daughter on the Balmoral some 15 years ago, down the Forth, then up the Tay to Perth. This is home territory to self and wife so the trip fulfilled a long standing ambition.

    It’s a pity that the east coast sailings on Balmoral ended some years ago as they were a better option for us than the Waverley sailings on the west coast (although we have had one or two of the latter.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s certainly interesting to see places and sites you know so well from an entirely different angle.

      I’d certainly like to do more.


  2. Very nice pictures! And what an interesting old castle at the embarkation point!

    So it DOESN’T in fact rain most every day on that island you share with England? Maybe that idea comes from American tourists who want pictures with bright sunny days on every day of their tour. 😉

    Love the beautiful and interesting rivers and other assorted waters around Scotland! I assume that everyone knows that the river Kelvin, flowing near his laboratory at the University of Glasgow, was the source of William Thomson’s name when he was created 1st Baron Kelvin. (And thus the source of the Kelvin temperature scale.)

    And a nice little song I found on YouTube some years ago.


      1. I wonder who that was singing it…

        I’m trying to think of my granny’s favourite singers and the only name that I can think of is Kenneth McKellar?


        Yeah. We invented da rap. we is de cool dudes, innit?


  3. Speaking of water (and therefore on-topic,) radioactive material sensing equipment….especially equipment that senses Plutonium…… is so sensitive that it has to be made of steel that was smelted before 1945, when nuclear weapons testing started spreading Plutonium into the earth’s atmosphere and everything within it. It’s also good if the relatively Plutonium-free steel has not been in contact with air after smelting. So a good source of this so-called “low background steel” is from the ships of the German fleet that were scuttled in 1919, and have been in the water at the bottom of Scapa Flow.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes Tris, above ground nuclear testing in the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, spread a lot of nuclear contamination into the atmosphere. The levels have fallen dramatically since then, but there’s still enough Plutonium in modern metals to make them unsuitable for SUPER SUPER sensitive radiation detectors.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen the Tay dolphins quite a few times. Broughty Castle is a good spotting area, but I think the wee white lighthouse at Tayport is better, At least I used to see them regularly when fishing there. They seem to prefer the deeper channel following the salmon.
    As kids, we used to walk across the tidal flats from Invergowrie to almost the Fife shore. At low water, the river is only a few hundred yards wide at that point. When back on dry land, we had a dook in Kingoodie quarry to wash the mud off. Playing chicken with the trains, seeing who would be last to jump off the railway bridge into the quarry as the train approached. The quarry used to have a bridge across it before it was drained to build a solid embankment.
    There was a wee cottage at the bottom of the quarry, about 100ft down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow Jutie.

      I had heard that at low tide at some points of the year there was a way across.

      I bet your parents didn’t know you were doing all that dangerous stuff though.

      I love these lighthouses. There are the two white ones, and one small one just in the river. It was abandoned (the guy on the boat said) 100 years ago, because it was not robust enough. Imagine…100 years ago it wasn’t robust enough, and it’s still there, looking solid today!


      1. One summers day, I went out to play as usual first thing in the morning, and didn’t go home till about 9pm.
        When asked where I had been all day, I told them I had followed the big boys down to Invergowrie and had been swimming in the quarry. I was 5 years old and wondered why I got a leathering! LOL!
        I never told her I had been jumping on the railway coal wagons at Elmwood Brae Station, and jumping off again when the train stopped at the Lino Works on South Road! (where B&Q is now)
        It’s a wonder we survived to adulthood!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Danny,

    “So it DOESN’T in fact rain most every day on that island you share with England?”

    This summer seems to consist of one somewhat sunny day, one rainy day. It is genuinely confusing.

    Today is a rainy day. It is actually quite chilly.

    Tomorrow? Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. douglas…..Well, you’re at least hitting 50% this summer. I have talked to people who visited there and despaired of encountering bright sunny days for photographs. It’s hot and often fairly dry here in summer in the center of the continent. Arctic cold in winter with furnace heat in summer. Nothing over 100 (degrees F) so far this summer. We’ve had extended days of 105-110 some summers. So you just don’t venture out of the air conditioning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “douglas…..Well, you’re at least hitting 50% this summer.”

        Perhaps not, I am wrong about something, when did that ever happen before?

        The next seven days are forecast to be at the very least rainy, and probably worse.. Perhaps we should be selling this as a feature rather than a liability?

        I am glad you clarified the 100 degrees. In Centigrade that would be serious shit. If it ever hits Fahrenheit 212, you gotta worry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes Douglas, 212 Fahrenheit would be a serious problem…..LOL. We usually have some temps in the low 100’s…..an extended period of 105 F or more (40 C or more) is not uncommon here in the Mississippi Valley, out in the Great Plains states, and across the Southeast. The REALLY hot summer weather is in the desert Southwest, where temps up to near 120 F (49 C) are not uncommon in the summer in Phoenix, Arizona. The hottest official temperature ever recorded on earth was at a place called Furnace Creek in Death Valley (on the Nevada/California state line, not too far from Las Vegas.) A temperature of 134 F (56.7 C) was recorded on July 10, 1913. Temps above 120 are VERY common in Death Valley.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Of course, this afternoon in Dundee the temperature was around 20C (68F) and it make you sweat, because of the humidity. Last year at the is time I was in Budapest where it was 35 C 95 F, and it was comfortable. It’s not so much the heat as the humidity that counts.


            1. Yes Tris, I know exactly what you mean. The high summer temps (110 – 115, even 120 F) in Las Vegas are legendary. I’ve been there in late summer and very early Fall when the daytime temps are still in the mid – 90’s, and the dry desert air is amazingly comfortable for that temperature. A temp of 95 in humid Missouri makes the sweat just pour.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. True.

      I’ve just been reading a novel that takes place in the Florida panhandle. They talk about a winter day when it is too cold to do stuff, and then someone mentions that it is 60 F…15 C.



      1. Yes Tris, all of Florida is usually warm in the winter, even as far north as the Panhandle. Occasionally a cold snap from Canada will reach down as far as the Panhandle and screw up the citrus crop, but even in the coldest of winter blasts, truly tropical Florida (considered to be south of Tampa I think), freezing temps pretty much never happen. A lot (maybe most) of south Florida houses don’t have even a small furnace for winter heating. (Or so a relative told me who lived in south Florida.) She just had a small electric space heater for use on the rare occasions when the weather got slightly brisk there in the dead of winter. (Probably in the 50’s F….LOL.)

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep…..the Caribbean hurricanes don’t strike a particular spot too often actually, but when they DO, it really tears things up.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Please don’t call the cliche cops but if we had reliable sunny warm weather in Scotland our amazing coast line would be covered in hotels and resorts. Imagine the white beaches on Mull with main road access and some multi storey hotel blocks surrounding it. Or what about an all exclusive resort on Tentsmuir? I bet the seals would love playing with the jet skis.

    Better weather would be nice but there is a downside and anyway this summers been pretty good so far. Relatively speaking of course.


    1. It wouldn’t all be bad though, there would be business opportunities too. You could for instance make a fortune opening a factory making the saggy, lumpy mattresses that 99% of Scottish hotels have. This would of course require investment in R&D to ensure that the dips and lumps were in just the right places so tourists could still have the obligatory full Scottish hospitality back ache during their holiday. It’s also something they would take home providing fond memories of the Scottish hotel experience.


      1. Yes, I suppose there are down sides to good weather… but a few weeks would be really nice.

        I have to say that compared with many places out hospitality does seem to be a bit lacking. Although I think it’s getting better, possibly because of the Eastern Europeans working in hotels. They teach them good customer skills there, and manners too.

        One of the things that is lacking is Scopts’ inability to speak anything other than English/Scots.

        I was in Netherlands not long ago and a girl working in a fast food restaurant spoke in Dutch, German, French and English during the time I was there. Image a Scot doing that!

        Don’t spend much time in hotels in Scotland, but I reckon they are quite expensive and once I stayed over night in Edinburgh and the bed was OK, but the breakfast…. YUK. Inedible.

        A similar breakfast in Dublin was fantastic.

        We need to work on that!


        1. I can’t say I’ve ever had any bother with Scottish hotel staff, Easter European or not.
          I use hotels and holiday lets because I just love the highlands. Particularly the west coast. The beds almost without exception have been slept on by the population of a medium sized country and they have to be falling apart before replacement. Its a lack of investment that’s sure to put people off. I usually take a blow up mattress to cottages as a precaution and it almost always gets used. The furniture usually consists of family home cast offs. These are not bargain basement places btw and are usually pretty well booked up.

          There was a tea room in one of our most picturesque and famous glens that’s owners were so surly that my wife and I always made a point of going into it for a laugh. It was almost like eat yer scone I baked in 1962 drink yer tea gees yer money and f**k off. The couple who ran the place treated customers as an inconvenience.

          Compared to when Ive been abroad the Scottish accommodation is generally pretty grim. The tourist industry cries into its pint bemoaning its misfortunes but for some of it, they’ve only got themselves to blame. Our countryside sells itself and that’s why I keep going back for more. Sucker you may think but when the only other alternative is a tent in midgie country that’s not one my wife would put up with and I’m none too keen either.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep I agree with that.

            That said, there are nice people working in the tourist trades, some lovely wee cafés and some great guest houses.

            And to be fair the last time I stayed in my beloved Paris (I must admit I did it on the cheap) the hotel was awful (although the staff were lovely, especially the Tunisian student night porter…merci Jamal pour toute les conversations interessantes), the beds were horrible and it was so hot the window had to be open all night and the noise was horrific. I hardly slept all week.

            So it’s not just Scotland!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Greig, Tris…….Didn’t our Mr. Trump attach some nice overnight accommodations to his posh Scottish golfing resorts? Sounds like he maybe needs to expand his service industry into the Highlands. I’ll speak to him about that the next time we chat. 😉

              Liked by 2 people

            2. One of the main issues regarding hospitality staff further north is that the season is so short. You basically get taken on from May until the end of August then you’re back on the dole for winter (I worked in hotels on Lewis, Skye etc). Consequently you develop a “couldn’t care less” attitude as it doesn’t matter how good you are, its all about who you know.

              I’ve never actually met a decent hotel owner, most of them are the dodgiest scum you’re ever going to meet, although I guess decent owners must exist somewhere.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. I hadn’t really thought of that, Vestas. Outside of the industrial towns, hotels must have a very long down season.

                It’s not much of an excuse for Edinburgh though!


  7. Strange how we are attracted to the sea. Every time I go out fishing a crowd of kids turn up complete with life jackets on without being press-ganged and totally believe my stories about surviving the Titanic, the day a man-eating shark jumped into the boat and how I was Nelson’s first mate! I often wonder what their parents think when they get home with their stories! We sometimes catch fish as well! Incidentally the vessel in the photos seems more like a boat rather than a ship – heh heh!

    Liked by 1 person

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