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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday 22 June 2024

Britannia and the Falkirk Wheel

 Lovely and peaceful at the car park, we both slept well and felt better for it. After a lazy breakfast, it was time to head for Edinburgh. One attraction we had seen before but were rushed when last there was seeing the yacht Britannia and with time to spare wanted to do it again for a good look around.

Parking was almost non-existent, the two car parks near Britannia, one was closed and the other was underground with a height barrier. We couldn't find a park and ride so we drove around with the hope of finding somewhere roadside instead.  We found one, cost £12 to park for 4 hours and was a good 20 minute walk from Britannia. Anyway, a lot has changed since we were there last in 2019. For a start, the entrance is now through a shopping mall, and there is an enclosed tea room on the second floor which was the Royal Deck where games used to be played.

The cost for this was £20!

A lift took us to the bridge and from there you slowly make your way through the Royal quarters and then down to Captains, Royal Marines, and crew quarters.
On the first floor deck was the sick room and laundry and into the bowels of the ship was an engine which looked like new. During her 43-year career, the yacht had travelled more than a million nautical miles around the world to more than 600 ports in 135 countrie and not a drop of dirt or oil seen.  

 Ian was green with envy at how it gleamed and wished our engine looked as pristine as that.


Top was the Queens sitting room and bottom Prince Phillips

Top L is the late Queens bedroom, R was Prince Phillip. Bottom L was the honeymoon suite and the double bed was requested by then-Prince Charles when he honeymooned with Princess Diana in 1981.R is the sun lounge where Queen Elizabeth would often take her breakfast and afternoon tea 

Drawing Room

State Dining Room. Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, and many other world leaders dined here with the royal family

I would love to think the Queen named this bar! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Top L & R Admirals Cabin. Below the Royal Land Rover

Sick Room and operating Theatre

Royal Marine Band and Mess Room. Bottom R chief petty officer quaters

And who's that handsome chappie?

Top L Officers Ward Room. Bottom L & R crew sleeping quaters.



, All the clocks on Britannia were stopped at 15:01, the time Queen Elizabeth II was piped ashore for the last time.

Britannia Engine. Not a dust partical or cobweb to be seen.

Having finished the tour and walked back to MB, 15 minutes was left on the ticket. That was unexpected, had we really spent all that time there? It wasn't that busy so we could take our time, no one to jolly you along and a good look was had at everything. So with the time nearly 2 pm, our next destination was the Falkirk Wheel. Overnight stays are permitted for a fee of £15 and apart from no electric hook up, there are all the facilities one could want so we made full use of standing under a running hot shower for more than 2 minutes, heaven!

The wheel was in use as we arrived and walking down to the visitor center to pay the fees, more boats turned up for their turn. It's a marvel of engineering, very clever, and does away with locks although in the past a flight of 11 locks that once stepped the Union Canal down to the level of the Forth & Clyde, more than 100 feet below was the only way up or down.

At the visitor centre

view from MB

Wheel in action

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