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Beautiful Bute

A hundred or so years ago when Clyde paddle steamers brought holiday-makers to Bute in their thousands, the masses were landed at the main quay in the little town of Rothesay. Waiting for them conveniently to hand then, just as it is today, is a squat building with a tiled roof topped with ornamental ironwork. Inside was a single room decorated in stunning ceramic tiles, a mosaic floor and fourteen impressive marble-topped urinal stalls, polished copper pipes leading from the glass-sided cisterns overhead. No expense has been spared to restore the Victorian toilets to their original remarkable condition, such that today they feature as one of Bute’s most visited tourist attractions. There is a website to visit and brochures are available in any of four languages full of useful information like ‘How to get there’ and (for those in a hurry) ‘Where is the nearest airport?’. The toilets may be both viewed and used, I might add, and unlike in Victorian times, today a Ladies has been added to make the experience complete. The only flaw I can detect is that in the publicity material there is no mention of the opening hours. To discover this you must stand right outside the building to read the sign, by which time you may be too late.

Bute seems to go out of its way to be as helpful as possible to tourists – footpaths are well sign-posted, information boards are dotted about the landscape and road signs like this one are not uncommon. Here you have a choice of travelling ten or four miles in opposite directions to get to the same place and I have no doubt that this makes perfect sense to someone living on the island.

A catamaran is a rare sight in many of the places we visit so we often find ourselves the centre of interest from other yachties, indeed something of a tourist attraction ourselves. Unlike many other boats the living space inside Cirrus is quite spacious and we frequently find ourselves inviting people aboard for a short tour below decks. In Rothesay harbour we were enchanted by Thomas and his sister Daisy, seen here with their mother, Susan, who explored every nook and cranny on board. Thomas insisted on taking our pictures for his school project so naturally his smiling face appears here as one of our favourite visitors. Hope you had a good holiday Thomas!

Whilst Cirrus is rarely the largest boat in a marina we felt like we were the mothership when a fleet of Cornish Shrimpers arrived for their annual rally (Shrimper Week), more than thirty identical boats all squeezed into the tiny harbour. These are small semi-open sailing boats, modelled on an old fishing boat and ruggedly built with varnished wooden masts and a long bowsprit, not your usual marina-fare at all. These boats can be trailed behind a car, which is how they arrived in Scotland from England, Holland, Germany, even Italy. As they came in they reminded us of ducklings, with their berthing antics providing Rothesay with much entertainment.

And finally…

Don’t you just hate it when this happens.

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