Western Isles tours

Royal Family during the last Western Isles Tour in 1997

Royal Family during the last Western Isles Tour 1997

Following the Cowes Week Regatta, The Queen and members of the Royal Family would sail to the Western Isles of Scotland for their annual holiday cruise in the summer months. Landing on remote beaches gave Her Majesty private time to relax with her family, away from her official duties. Many family picnics were enjoyed on beautiful remote beaches on islands such as Colonsay, Skye, Eigg, Rhum and Isle of Harris. Another favourite was a visit to The Queen's cousin, the Earl of Granville, at his home at Callernish on North Uist.

Relaxed protocol

During the Western Isles cruise, the usual strict protocol on Britannia was more relaxed. However, Britannia's Officers did create a booklet, 'Western Isles Without Tears,' to ensure everything went perfectly. Particular attention was paid to ensuring everything was remembered for the beach barbeques. The Royal Family would also be entertained by the Royal Yachtsmen, with informal concerts that were planned and rehearsed in advance. These Concert Parties were very much enjoyed by all concerned, and it was not an unusual sight to see one or more of the Royal Family in the cast.

The Queen Mother

Another tradition was to visit The Queen Mother at the Castle of Mey, just west of John O'Groats. Then Britannia would berth at Aberdeen for The Queen to travel to her private residence at Balmoral Castle.

Racing Yacht Bloodhound

In the 1960s, Racing Yacht Bloodhound would accompany Britannia in the Western Isles. It was during these times that the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne learned to sail on Bloodhound.

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