Several times today, many of us wondered if we were experiencing déjà vu.

Yet another beautiful sunrise greeted us in Tobermory. The reflections of the boats and yachts in the harbor were stark in the calm waters. The ferry sleeping alongside us departed early, allowing us to leave earlier than expected. We were underway for Corpach, take two.

During the morning, numerous birds, seals, porpoises, and dolphins were sighted by those of us enjoying the balmy conditions on deck. We had the opportunity to listen to Charlie’s presentation, “Married to the Massive Mysticism of Stone: Scottish Megalithic Sites and Dry-Stone Walls.”

After the presentation, we sailed by the valley of Glencoe in the distance. At this site on February 13, 1692, 38 members of the Clan of Donald were massacred by government forces. A little farther, we passed by a very pretty little lighthouse and headed into the final stretch for Corpach. Just after lunch, we left the sea loch and began our ascent through the different locks that mark the start of the Caledonian Canal. James Watt was commissioned to investigate the feasibility of a canal. In 1794, he issued his report that it was possible. In 1801 and 1802, Thomas Telford was brought in to look at the project as well as to attempt to tackle social problems such as emigration and loss of employment. In 1803, an Act of Parliament was passed. Shortly afterwards, construction of the canal began. Remarkably, it was completed in 1822.

We reached Neptune’s Ladder and disembarked for Glenfinnan Monument and Viaduct between the 3rd and 4th locks.

Our bus took us to Glenfinnan, where we had ample time to visit the monument commemorating the Highlanders who gave their lives during the Jacobite uprising. We enjoyed the impressive, 380-meter-long viaduct that transports a railway line across the valley. Some of us climbed the short distance to a viewpoint to await the “Harry Potter” steam train passing by. Just after 15.10, we all got to see the train and its deep red carriages make the crossing. Some of us were sure that we caught sight of Harry, Hermione, and Ron!

The more adventuresome then proceeded to take a longer hike above the viaduct or go kayaking. Whatever the choice, we all returned delighted with the afternoon’s activities. Our coach took us along a very scenic route to Laggan, where our ship was waiting for us and where we would spend the night.

There was lots of excited chatter as we enjoyed dinner, which was followed by a highly entertaining presentation on plaids and kilts by Anthony and Ian. Off in the distance, the skies turned a menacing dark gray, and the breeze picked up. Near the end of the presentation, the skies opened, and we all rushed into the lounge to avoid a soaking. The expected Scottish weather had finally arrived!