Saturday, 30 May 2009

The New Season Gets Off to a Great Start - Glasgow to Oban

First thing Friday morning and a queue of over 200 wait to board PS Waverley
on a rather grey and overcast morning -
but the forecast for the weekend was good!

By now with well over 400 on board, following her calls at Greenock and
Campbeltown, Waverley rocks and rolls her way around the Mull of Kintyre.
This far it has remained grey and overcast during the voyage, despite reports from home of
loads of blue sky and sunshine back in Glasgow since we left.
With a stiff (cold) breeze,
passengers remain wrapped up but
Waverley is heading for that spot of blue in the distance.

A few miles can make all the difference!
Soon all the coats were coming off, the bottles of suncream were being dug out
of the bottom of rucksacks, and the cream was being liberally applied as we
enjoyed the last five or so hours of the voyage in the most idylic sailing conditions.
If only we could "bottle" such a Waverley experience!

Looking back down the sound of Kerrera as we approached Oban Bay

A sun drenched Oban Bay with Calmac's Isle of Mull and Clansman at their linkspans.

Despite all the suncream, it was a very colourful, but very satisfied, load of passengers who streamed up the gangway onto Oban North Pier, just after 20:00 hrs. It was quite amusing to hear the conversations on the pier along the lines of "Does anyone know where such and such hotel or B&B is?". However, the vast majority are seasoned travellers who stay in the same places year on year, and for these ones you had to be careful not to be trampled in the rush as they made their bee lines with trolleys and bags.

For approximately 200 of Waverley's passengers, the journey still had a fair bit to go
with return coach travel to Glasgow. The "Dodds of Troon" convoy was soon assembled
and set off back to Glasgow where we arrived just about on the dot of timetable time at 23:00
One of Dodds buses is seen here heading along the shore of Loch Etive

An advantage of the later than originally planned visit to Oban, is more hours of
daylight with the return trip to Glasgow being almost all in daylight, and through some
really lovely scenery - which compensates greatly for the necessary coach journey -
as seen above and below.

Many of the passengers returning to Glasgow on Friday night still have plans to go
back sometime over the weekend to sail again on Waverley in the Western Isles.

The Sunday evening sailing from Oban to Fort William and back has been arranged
as a Ceilidh Cruise with entertainment being provided by Oban Gaelic Choir
The cruise is intended to raise funds for both PS Waverley and
the annual Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival.

Details are below - the weather looks really promising and it
should be a great night of traditional Scottish entertainment.
Please come along and support the evening cruise
if you can be in Oban on Sunday night

Charles McCrossan

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