Due to weather and Armed Forces Day commitments, we stayed in Bangor for 5 days. We were not, however, without things to do. A few students attended the Armed Forces Day event, while the rest remained on ship to help host some special guests (and a very special dog) on board. We were also given a day off and so 5 students took a day trip to Belfast where we visited city hall and the titanic museum as well as treating ourselves to a traditional Irish pub lunch.
Saying goodbye to Bangor, we sailed to Carrickfergus where we stayed for only one night, basically enough time for us to do a shop at the local Sainsbury’s. Then after a last minute change of plans, again due to weather, we made our way to Campbeltown where we stayed for a few days and filled those days with charts, PLTs and cleaning.
Now on to Oban where we had the pleasure of a tour of the Oban distillery, a first for many of the students on board. We were given whisky to taste and even given a free glass as a souvenir. It was an enjoyable experience and later that day Lt Botfield hosted some friends from the distillery on-board Pursuer.
On the last leg of our journey, we were joined by HMS Dasher and we made our way from Oban, through the Caledonian Canal, to Inverness. It was then when the Commander of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron joined us, spending a day on HMS Dasher and then a day with us on HMS Pursuer as we made our way through the Canal. During the journey, Mid Walker and Mid Urquhart decided to test their fitness by running alongside the ship from lock to lock.
On our last evening before reaching Inverness, we decided to have a swim in the deepest loch in Scotland. It was not warm. It was however a fantastic experience and the next morning the Loch greeted us with picturesque views which provided the perfect background for Colours at 0800.
Finally, we made it to Inverness where we had our end of phase meal and a night of drinks and ceilidh music. It was the last deployment for many of our senior students and I think it was safe to say it was a good one.