On 3 July employer John MacLachlan of the John MacLachlan Group Oban Ltd, and his son Fergus (15) embarked with the Royal Navy for a sea passage from Oban to Corpach.
For John, a keen amateur sailor, it was his first opportunity to sail in a Royal Naval vessel and one which he and Fergus both said they thoroughly enjoyed.
HMS Dasher – a P2000 Archer Class patrol and training vessel – was conducting a round-Britain deployment with URNU cadets from a number of UK universities, this leg being manned by undergraduates from Bath and Bristol universities.
The students are studying a wide range of subjects, including medicine, engineering and humanities.
The visitors were made to feel most welcome by the ship’s CO, Lt Andy ‘Oz’ Osborne and his small crew as they sailed in convoy with another P2000, HMS Pursuer, to the Corpach Sea Lock.
Following that, the vessels negotiated Neptune’s Staircase, Thomas Telford’s world-famous early-nineteenth century eight-lock staircase on the Caledonian Canal, with Ben Nevis forming an impressive backdrop.
Neptune’s Staircase gave the URNU cadets plenty of opportunities to practice their seamanship and mooring skills under the clear direction and watchful eye of their Captain and with holidaymakers and walkers looking on.
Overall this was a great opportunity to observe the Navy in action, and to see at first hand the skills and team working of the URNU cadets. It also served to give the public a chance to get up close and personal with some serious maritime hardware.
The trip was arranged through Highland RFCA, with Head of Engagement Dai John on hand to meet John and Fergus upon their arrival at Corpach.