A Ceilidh to Remember!

Classic Malts Cruise 2002

Lagavulin, Islay Saturday 27th July 2002

A traditional piper played for the guestsCrews from almost 70 yachts made the difficult journey to the remote distillery of Lagavulin on Islay, for the final party of the 2002 Classic Malts Cruise yesterday and were rewarded with a ceilidh to remember. The central courtyard of this historic distillery was crowded with upended casks and happy crews enjoying a sumptuous buffet of local meats, seafoods and salads before the dancing and singing got underway.Cruisers enjoy a dram of Lagavulin

After a welcome dram of smokey Lagavulin fine malt whisky, distillery manager, Donald Renwick greeted the sailors, and thanked them for making the effort to visit this quite Island at the far south of the Scottish Herbridean chain. Although poor weather with strong winds over the preceding two days had prevented some of the yachts from reaching Islay, it was still one of the largest gatherings at Lagavulin for many years.

By Friday the winds had eased off making Lagavulin Bay a comfortable anchorage for the 27 yachts there, although the majority of the fleet had opted to berth at nearby Port Ellen, making use of the newly opened pontoons. The new pontoons, which are a great boost to tourism in the quiet village of Port Ellen, were a lovely sight, full of Classic Malts Cruise yachts dressed overall with flags.Skippers Jamie Robinson and Stewart Roberston do a double-act opening oysters

Since Lagavulin Distillery is the final stopover for the Classic Malts Cruise, it was a great atmosphere ashore amongst the Cruisers, distillery staff and a host of local visitors gathered for the ceilidh. The evening began with a traditional piper before the ceilidh band struck up a tune and the floor was soon crowded with dancers. As the evening drew to a close, the tunes became faster and the dancing wilder, to the obvious enjoyment of those watching. There was complete silence when Islay farmer Robert Baker took to the stage and sang traditional unaccompanied songs or "mouth music" in Gaelic, to give the band a rest. Other cruisers took their cue from this and there were renditions of Irish tunes, folk songs and sea shanties with pipes and accordions for backing. Dancers enjoy a Scottish Reel

As midnight came there were fond farewells amongst friends old and new as crews came together for an emotional rendition of Auld Lang Syne - a perfect end to a perfect Classic Malts Cruise

The Classic Malts Cruise is organised by
World Cruising Club, 120 High Street, Cowes, PO31 7AX, England

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