Cruising in the world's last working paddle steamer

When I was much younger, my Grandma treated me, my mum and herself to a cruise aboard the Waverley, the Clyde-built paddle steamer and the last seagoing vessel of her kind.

I can't remember how old I was, or very much about the trip.  I do remember that I wanted to wear a bodywarmer because I thought it looked nautical and couldn't find it anywhere in my room.  

And I remember the engine room vividly - it seemed enormous to such a small child and the constant thump and rhythm of the incredible mechanisms were hypnotic.

Because my Grandma lived in Glasgow, I didn't see her as often as I would have liked so days out like this were very special - and the Waverley always conjured up fond memories for me.

So I was keen to see her return to service after a four-year-long absence, during which extensive work was done to make her seaworthy.  

Sadly, my Grandma died last year and was unable to accompany me.  

Skye is home to many boat tours, many of which are aimed at tourists and visitors.  The Waverley felt a little bit different.  

Most of the people I spoke to were Scottish.  Many of them had friends or knew people who had worked on or even helped build her.  All of us felt connected with a shared love of the vessel, her incredible history and our own heritage.  

I was struck by the idea that generations could enjoy her - grandparents, grandchildren and then the grandchildren's grandchildren!  

I wanted to include my grandmother somehow, so I photographed a photograph.  Sadly, I didn't have any pictures to hand of the trip we all took on the Wavelery (and how I wished I'd taken more photographs!) but I had a lovely one of both my grandparents together, with the incredible engine room forming the backdrop.

Welcome back, Waverley!