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57° 18.627’ N 005° 47.081’ W. Just an area of sea – no marker. No feature. No transits. Just co-ordinates. A point on the water South of the Crowlins and North of the Skye Bridge. But from Sunday 4th of April onwards, a place for Penguins to remember and to pay their respects as they pass, for here was scattered the Northernmost quarter of Kevin Walton’s ashes. It was a beautiful Easter Sunday – one of those quiet days before a storm. Six yachts rafted up together in calm sunny windless conditions for a few words by Jonathan Walton with a minute’s silence after the scattering of the ashes.

It only seemed right to conclude with an appropriate toast – for some, Laphroaig, for others ‘Penguin Wine’. We were there for more than an hour relaxing in the sun – long enough to be seen from the mainland, we discovered later when sheltering from the expected gale in the Hotel Bar at Plockton. And also long enough to see the pod of dolphins playing where Kevin had been launched as we sailed away.

The Kevin Walton Memorial Cruise was not all as poignant, however. Isle Of Skye Yachts did us proud, having not only borrowed the ferry signal flags to string a banner proclaiming ‘PENGUIN’, but also in preparing a pad for the plaque produced by Robin Pocock. They also provided the memorial bottles of wine seen above and presented at the unveiling. Penguins now feature on their website

The sailing itself was enjoyed by all – the weather varied from still and sunny to gales, and did not stop us visiting many of Kevin’s favourites – Isle Ornsay, The Crowlins, Poll Creadha, Acarseid Mor, The Shiants, Scalpay, Canna, and Scavaig. The 39 crewmembers included many younger sailors who certainly saw some brisk action, especially from The Shiants to Scalpay and from Scalpay down to Canna on a 65 mile beat! All the boats rose to all the challenges, and it was wonderful to see so many boats all grouped together. There may have been a little ‘racing’ – my boat had the ‘privilege’ of having Badger and his sailing bears aboard and Captain Horatio Scampblower helmed with determination lashed to the wheel while the crew sat out to windward with the backup of the autopilot. This circumnavigation of Skye could maybe be better described as a circumlaughigation but with well judged planning by the able Commodore Jonathan Walton.

Our thanks must go to Jonathan for his skills, to Ian Rose for his exceptional organisation, to Robin for the plaque, and to IOSY for all their help.

I’m promised the Kevin Walton Memorial Lecture at The Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge on the 15th April was the last official KW tribute. An eclectic mix of FIDS, BAS, Penguins, friends and family gathered to hear tributes, stories, and memories before fascinating presentations on Antartican life with special emphasis on the Huskies. Kevin’s medals were then presented on loan to The Scott Polar Research Institute before buns and tea. It was a fascinating day that opened up even more of Kevin’s life to me.

Finally, back to club matters – next off is Julia’s Menorcan exploration. A different beast altogether to the Hebrides at Easter, with gentle winds, hot sun and great sailing all promised. Jackie’s Scillies trip follows in September – I hope now with 3 boats though the poor girl seems to have a constant stream of organisational changes!

I’m already looking at next year’s cruises – leading contenders are a Summer trip to St Kilda, and then The Broads again, though the Lofotens are always tempting! Do email your interest or suggestions to me – feedback really helps to determine the shape and size of future cruises. I suspect my crew from Easter will fill one boat to St Kilda, though – and as we need to reserve boats early, do let me know!

Happy Sailing and try not to pinch too much

Jonty Pearce, Club Commodore.