Our 60s Up meetings are always well attended, and today was no exception. We bought raffle tickets, paid our fees for next month’s trip, and found ourselves seats for the meeting. After the usual announcements, those having birthdays this month were presented with a Scratchy ticket. I’m an October birthday girl, but sadly, my Scratchy didn’t win me a fortune, big or small.
The speaker for the meeting was Jim McIntosh, who talked about his Arctic Cruise experience. He was ably assisted by our caravan club buddie Selwyn, who provided technical support by operating the slide show. Jim and his wife did their Arctic Cruise with G Adventures, an adventure travel company offering a selection of affordable small-group tours and expeditions.
Departing from Scotland, the adventure commenced with a visit to Skara Brae, on the Orkney Islands. We knew all about the discovery of the ruins of a Neolithic village through watching the History Chanel on TV. These were discovered in the winter of 1850, when wild storms ripped the grass from a high dune to expose the ruins of ancient stone buildings. The discovery proved to be the best-preserved Neolithic village in northern Europe. What a thrill it must have been to see wonderful ruins from such a long time ago.
Excavated Neolithic village of Skara Brae
The tour continued on to the Shetland Islands, through Norway and the Arctic region, with days full of beautiful scenery and wildlife spotting. This wasn’t an expedition for the faint hearted. Thermal clothing and tramping boots were the clothing of choice, quite necessary for tramping over rocks, climbing up to view glaciers, and checking out the wildlife. As the trip took them further north, it became a game to see who would catch sight of the first polar bear. The trips ashore then meant that the tourists were accompanied to with armed guards for safety! Much safer to encounter a polar bear in a museum setting – there is no danger there of being eaten alive.
Onboard entertainment on adventure tourism trips is quite different to what is offered on the huge ocean going liners. No theatres, dances, shuttlecock competitions or dining with the captain. The entertainment onboard this tour was a series of interesting lectures about the terrain and wildlife, people and places. The food was excellent too, we were told. The Arctic cruise must have been an amazing experience.