The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are not the only Royalty expected to visit Orkney this week.
While Prince William and his wife Kate made their first official joint trip to the county as part of a Scottish tour, the Tall Ship Royalist will also be calling into Orkney waters on Thursday. (27 May).
While there will be no trainees on board, it is hoped that some members of the local Sea Cadets will be able to enjoy a Covid-19 secure “taster” visit during the ship’s short stay with all safety protocols being adhered to.
Royalist Commanding Officer Roy Taylor said: “TS Royalist is a 34m sail training brig, owned and operated by the Marine Society and Sea Cadets. She was launched in 2015 and normally provides life-changing six-day residential voyages for young people aged 13-18 from around the United Kingdom.
“This year, owing to Covid-19, we are unable to offer residential activities so instead we have developed Covid-19 secure day sail activities called “Taster Days” which are being delivered on weekends and in the school holidays so as not to affect critical education catch-up.
“These Taster Days began in Newcastle in April and have continued up the East Coast of Scotland as far as Inverness. TS Royalist now needs to move to Oban on the West Coast of Scotland and then onto Northern Ireland. The safest way to attempt this journey is by diverting North as far as Orkney.”
The ship expects to be in Orkney for one night on 27 May (subject to weather) and intends to offer an evening visit to the local Sea Cadet Unit who will have to comply with Covid-19 secure procedures, including limited numbers visiting, the wearing of face masks, social distancing and hand sanitising onboard.
There are no trainees onboard this year, only the permanent crew who have formed a “household bubble”. After each taster activity all communal areas of the ship are disinfected with a fogging spray.
Jim Buck, Orkney Islands Council Head of Marine Services, Transportation and Harbour Master said this week has been quite something in terms of Royalty calling.
“I have no doubt the visit of TS Royalist will be as welcome sight as our Royal visitors, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I am sure our young Sea Cadets will grasp the opportunity for a glimpse on board the ship and a taster session of what’s involved which will all be done following health and safety protocols.”
(Image courtesy of Max Mudie/ASTO).