All change for the deep south

Yet another flaker. Our medical consultant, without whom one or two of our more senior travellers feel distinctly vulnerable, also wishes to withdraw southwards after the Orkney sector of the expedition. An urgent need to make small-talk about stethoscopes and sinuses to fellow physicians at some medical dinner, apparently. Not even a railway-related excuse.

The draconian penalty clauses in the pre-sleeper agreement he signed several months ago have failed to dissuade him. Perhaps the threat of a dunking in the Pentland Firth might. But then he has swum in the chilly waters of Loch Alsh, and voluntarily at that, so it may not be much of a deterrent.