Eagle eyed European Waterways guests are treated to magnificent demonstrations of the art of falconry as part of the company’s growing programs of “insider experiences” on its hotel barge cruises in Europe and the U.K. The demonstrations are currently available on The Spirit of Scotland and Scottish Highlander in Scotland and Shannon Princess in Ireland. These demonstrations feature a striking display of aerial acrobatics from birds of prey that include falcons, hawks, eagles, owls, and vultures – set against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands or the walled gardens of a stately manor in Ireland. Guests are then invited to get “up close and personal” with the birds as they perch and take off from their arms to swoop high above the countryside.
According to Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, experiential opportunities like these, among many others, are driving record bookings for the company, which continue to pick up since the pandemic.
“It’s an incredible experience to watch these amazing birds and interact with them first-hand,” said Banks. “The birds come from all over the world, with many of them on the endangered list. People rarely get to see them in-person, let alone hold them. Our guests leave the demonstrations with a greater appreciation for their unique and magnificent beauty and the importance of ensuring their survival.”
The eight-passenger Scottish Highlander and 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland cruise the Caledonian Canal through the celebrated highlands of Scotland, past famous castles, historic battlegrounds, and spectacular wildlife, glens and lochs, including Loch Ness, where the falconry demonstrations take place.
In addition to the demonstration, excursions include a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Eilean Donan Castle – filming location for the James Bond thriller, The World is Not Enough. Guests will also enjoy tours and private whisky tastings at renown distilleries, among other excursions. The sweeping beauty of the Highlands is a constant source of fascination, punctuated by frequent sightings of the diverse wildlife that calls the region home. Tailored golf, whisky trail, honeymoon, and family charters are also available.