Month: August 2016

A day of contrasts

Leith is where I worked as a ship’s agent a long time ago. Nowadays, the port is busy with North Sea oil support vessels, but it is also home to the Royal Yacht Britannia which was the purpose of my visit. This elegant old ship has lain alongside Leith’s Ocean Terminal since 1998 having been decommissioned the previous year amidst much nostalgia and the shedding of Royal tears. And only yesterday did I get around to joining the tourists from around the world on board her. It was one of those situations when you know something’s on your doorstep so you never quite get around to doing it.             Research prompted my visit. I wanted to get a feel for a ship like this. In Dark Ocean, the second Angus McKinnon novel I’m working on, a dilapidated old presidential yacht plays a big part in the story and I want to give it a character of its own. The contrast between the Britannia and my old tub couldn’t be stronger. The Britannia is immaculate and it was a pleasure to wander around soaking up her Royal atmosphere and history. Even the ship’s hospital smells of surgical spirit. Then I walked back towards The Shore, a favourite pub of ours that featured in Sea of Gold. Between Ocean Terminal and The Shore you pass the Dazzle...

Read More

Awaiting orders

Procrastination (I should be back at my desk writing, not out taking photos) or the germ of an idea for another Angus McKinnon thriller? There are four of these fully laden tankers lying several miles off the coast of Dunbar awaiting orders. Having loaded at BP’s Hound Point Terminal in the Firth of Forth, it’s down to the oil traders and the fluctuating price of Crude now to determine their destination, and the length of their delay. You can imagine the boredom of the crew. Some of these ships are there for...

Read More