Holy Island tides force changes to cruise ship’s Eyemouth plans

TIDES off Holy Island have spoilt Eyemouth’s first opportunity to welcome passengers from the cruise ship ‘MS Island Sky’ due to visit this Sunday, August 19.

Passengers on the 13 day Noble Caledonia cruise were due to arrive in Eyemouth harbour at lunchtime on Sunday, going ashore for three hours, and rejoining the ship later that afternoon to head up to Leith.

Prior to arriving in Eyemouth the 114 passengers are visiting Holy Island, and the ‘Island on the Edge’ tour of the British Isles has had to be reorganised as the tides off Holy Island mean that it is not possible for them to reboard the ship on Holy Island. Instead they will travel from the north Northumberland island by coach for a visit to Floors Castle at Kelso and rejoin the ship at Eyemouth.

And while they are ashore the ‘Island Sky’ will travel up the coast, anchor off Coldingham Bay during the afternoon and passengers will rejoin it there after being picked up from Eyemouth Middle Pier pontoon.

“It’s disappointing but we have to stay positive,” said Christine Bell, of Eyemouth Harbour Trust.

“The trust spent months working towards gaining the harbour’s passenger ship registration and despite this setback they remain positive.

“Because we are on the IMO (International Maritime Organsiation) register we are now receiving other enquiries and it’s looking very positive,” added Christine.

Eyemouth Harbour Trust chairman Grahame Sinclair is also optimistic that Eyemouth will become a stopping off point for other cruises off the UK coast: “The harbour trust’s staff have trained to handle this kind of business and have seized the opportunity with both hands. We aim to prove that Eyemouth is a town of great interest to visiting passengers and that this is the beginning of more cruise ships making a stop-over in the bay.”

An official welcome for the ‘Island Sky’ that had been organised at Eyemouth harbour has now been replaced by a farewell committee instead - with representatives from Visit Scotland, Eyemouth Chamber of Trade, Eyemouth Town Council and Eyemouth Harbour Trust.

The ‘Islands on the Edge’ tour leaves Tilbury on Friday, August 17, and stops off at Whitby, Holy Island, Eyemouth, Leith, Orkney, St Kilda, Skye, Iona, Rathmullen, Arran, Scilly, Sark and Alderney on Channel Islands and Portsmouth.