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Caledonian cruising: a boating break in scenic Scotland

A novice sailor finds herself at the helm of a 43ft motor launch cruising up the Caledonian Canal to Loch Ness, fuelled by single malts, mountain views and hearty meals

Hours into captaining a boat for the first time, I’d notched up some nautical vocab. Cleat, cast, half-hitch. Loop, line and, er, zigzag. I did a lot of zigzagging as I willed a motor cruiser up, down and perpendicular to the banks of the glorious Caledonian Canal in the Scottish Highlands for a few memorable days last month. The vessel in question was the Elegance, a 43ft, three-stateroom, three-head beauty. She had two dining tables, a microwave and a mind of her own.

‘Are you two hens all alone?’ said a fellow sailor, off walking her dog on the towpath. ‘Good on you’

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