A couple on a sailing trip around the UK thought they had seen the last of their pet cat ‘Captain Buxton’ when he jumped ship last week in Lossiemouth harbour.
But there was a happy ending as Buxton was back on board in Loch Ness – after a week ‘on the run’ in the Moray town!
Buxton was part of a crew skippered by Steve Neal and his wife Helena on their yacht ‘Amelia’ undertaking the trip of a lifetime. They started out at the start of July on the Thames estuary, heading up the east coast and arriving in Lossiemouth last Thursday.
However, there was a major setback when they awoke in the Moray harbour to discover that Buxton had vanished overnight. The couple wrote on a blog tracing their trip around the coast: “We awoke at 5am, to an alarm that I should have cancelled on my phone, and Buxton was not there.
“We searched the boat, and then the marina for him but he was nowhere to be found. A fellow sailor saw him overnight sitting on top of another boat, and then walking along the pontoons, but there have been no more clues to his whereabouts.”
The alert went out around Lossiemouth and beyond, with the Moray Cats Protection group alerting people on their social media page while posters were put up around the town. Several sightings were reported but nobody could quite track down the missing sailor.
While ‘Amelia’ had a timetable to keep and had to sail on, the Neal’s never lost hope that somehow their missing shipmate would turn up – and sure enough he did almost a week after he had gone missing.
Mr Neal reported: “We received a call late yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) from Graham and Lynn, a Lossiemouth couple saying that they had a cat in their kitchen that looked very much like the one in the lost cat posters.
“After a short conversation we became quite convinced that it was him, and they said that they would be happy to drive the 75 miles from Lossiemouth to Loch Ness to return him to us.
“Before long Buxton was also tucking into a bowl of his favourite cat food followed by one of his treats. He has lost a little weight, and was looking a bit sorry for himself but has settled straight back into his routine of eating and drinking before snoozing under the saloon table, and occasionally looking around the boat to see what’s going on.”
Helped by guests on board the boat a special welcome had been laid for Buxton including welcome home banners – and a special lunch for Buxton’s rescuers!
However, Captain Buxton might find it a little more difficult to make any further midnight wanderings ashore, Mr Neal saying: “We’ve made a long lead to prevent him from jumping ship in the night again.”