IT was sea sickness tablets at the ready for a pair of Duns teenagers last month as they were given a last minute opportunity to board one of the famous Tall Ships.
Berwickshire High School students Stephen Crawford and Skye Jefferson were enjoying a similar summer holiday to their school mates when they got a phone call from Steven Wright, manager of Duns Youth Centre asking them if they fancied boarding a ship from Lerwick just two days later.
The opportunity arose after grant giving trust, the Rank Foundation got in touch with Steven and offered to fund the travel and insurance costs for two youngsters to take the trip.
Knowing it was too good an offer to turn down, Steven got in touch with Stephen and Skye and told them to get their bags packed.
And before they knew it they were setting sail not really knowing what to expect. But back on dry land and having a few weeks to let their trip sink in, both teens were in firm agreement that it was a fantastic experience.
“After Steven first got in touch with me, I went onto the website and saw that what we were being offered was worth £1000 each so there was no way I was going to turn it down,” Stephen said.
“I’d never done any sailing before but I was really excited to see what it would be like.
“Unfortunately as soon as we got off the plane in Shetland the weather was awful. The parade on the Sunday was cancelled due to high winds which meant we actually ended up staying an extra day.
“It was such a great experience to be part of a huge event ;even in the bad weather Lerwick was heaving with people out in force in their ponchos.
“There was just one day when it was nice enough to wear shorts but I didn’t really mind the weather too much.
“I took some sea sickness tablets with me just in case but thankfully I didn’t need them.”
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Skye who fell ill the first day on board their ship, The Lord Nelson.
She told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “I was glad of the tablets as I got really sick on our first day in port. That was a bit disappointing but I wasn’t too bad after that and it was just great to be part of it.”
Skye and Stephen shared their new home with around 50 other people, including 10 permanent crew members and a number of disabled people who they worked with over the course of the week.
Stephen continued: “There was a really good mix of people on board, there were people of a similar age to myself and Skye,then there was someone who was 80!
“It wasn’t just people from the UK, someone from Germany was on board too. We all got green crew passes which meant we could get into everything that was going on in Lerwick and have a look round some of the other ships.
Skye added: “It was great to work with people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities and I definitely think I can bring some of the skills I learnt on the ship into my everyday life.
“I definitely think I’ll find it easier to work in groups now and I’ve gained a lot more confidence.
“It was certainly a different way to spend some of my summer holidays.
“A few of my friends have been to Tenerife while I got to go to the north of Scotland in the pouring rain- it was worth it though and I’d love to do it again.”
As a keen photographer Skye was hoping she’d have more than wet clothes to remember the trip by and despite the inclement weather she managed to get some good shots.
“We had one really good day of weather where I managed to take some good pictures but I was always a but scared I’d drop my camera in the sea!”