River Tay Boat Trip

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I heard there was a boat leaving Newburgh and heading up the Tay towards Perth and back. A surprisingly unusual event. What I didn’t realise until I was on board was that the boat trip was organised by and for party members of the LibDems. It was fully booked but luckily, as I was trying to persuade them they could squeeze on another little (!!!) one, a chap came to my aid saying his wife had decided not to come and I could have her ticket so I jumped aboard. Sir Menzies Campbell is the local MP but sadly he couldn’t make it. There was homemade food including scones and jam (of course), a take-away quiz which I declined and a raffle. And guess who won? Yes. Me. A huge box of Ferrero chocolates – I’d have preferred a bottle of wine but didn’t get the choice!

Newburgh used to have a thriving harbour which helped build the town’s prosperity. There was a reasonable sized local weaving industry and until the late 1970s a huge linoleum factory (now the park). In the past, boats heading to Perth would often stop here and await the tide or unload their cargoes for onward land transportation. Now all the quays are overgrown or crumbling but there are discussions underway to rebuild them and make more use of the river again. The Tay Salmon Fishing Co are also planning to renovate the derelict salmon bothies that line the Tay for holiday lets. I understand they own all of them the length of Tay which is quite some way – it’s the longest river in Scotland and still the most important salmon river in the UK.

This section is not the most dramatic part of the Tay but from the boat you could glimpse Elcho Castle, several fishing bothies (as yet still derelict apart from one), fields of crops, tunnels of soft fruits and vegetables as well as the temporary homes of the Eastern Europeans that work in them. There wasn’t exactly a commentary but occasionally someone would point out things of interest. So, the unpleasant comments re foreign workers were soon countered by someone who is obviously hoping to win the next by-election. We didn’t get right up to Perth but did pass the youth detention centre and the storage site of Scotloo (portable toilets) – now I know where to go! We also went under the motorway which started talk about heading the other way so that we could go under the Tay road and rail bridges. But that’s for next year.

It was good to see Newburgh from the water and to see Mugdrum Island – the largest island in the Tay. As I walk along the shore around Newburgh that’s what I’m looking at rather than the opposite side of the river. It used to have a farm growing potatoes, turnips, cereal and even cattle used to be ferried across but now it’s home and breeding ground for various birds and covered with reed beds. This area is the largest reed producing area in Britain (15% of the total). Sadly my ornithological knowledge is minimal but I did recognise geese, swans and ducks. Apparently there are sand martins, red shanks, marsh harriers, swallows, and more. Sea eagles have been re-introduced into Fife and can sometimes be seen on Tayside. I see and hear lots of birds on my walks and maybe one day I’ll be able to recognise them.

Unfortunately the cloud cover made it a bit of a drab day but at least it didn’t rain. And fortunately they were LibDems and not Conservatives or worse still a coalition.

~ by marysia on 13 June 2010.

3 Responses to “River Tay Boat Trip”

  1. Like the pics, but i am SO excited i have a new image pink Sponge Bob person! did you make them to suit us all?!

  2. I just knew you would be the first to respond to your new image. They’re generated automatically. I just pick the theme and I was a bit bored with the other ones. It’s a shame you’re not orange or turquoise – pink isn’t quite you but the style is better. Actually Nellie’s would have been quite good for you. Fenby’s is great – he looks like a Christmas pudding with legs. And Tina’s actually looks like her when we were at college and she was bored one evening and dressed up and put on crazy make-up. People will have to comment now to see what they look like!

  3. An excellent illustration of why it is better to put the jam on the scones first and the clotted cream afterwards. I am from Devon so you can be sure I am right. I’d expect the Scots to get it wrong, but the Lib Dems? Hmm.

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