As many will know, Largs pier has been undergoing demolition of the old pier and construction of a new pier over the winter. Plans were that the new pier would be ready by 1st week in July with a contingency plan built in that "arrangements" would be made to allow Waverley to berth and transfer passengers, should there be any delay in finishing the pier.
After her very successful start to what was always going to be a very difficult season, with a magnificent weekend in the Western Isles followed by good loadings during her period on the Bristol Channel, Waverley is today on her way home to the Clyde for the start of her 2009 Clyde season and the disastrous news that the completion of Largs pier has been delayed until end of July and that CMAL have announced, in conjunction with their project partners, that they cannot accommodate Waverley at Largs Pier until the end of July.
The extent to which Largs pier is critical to Waverley's season is immense and this news is a major blow. Largs pier offers a major catchment area of residents and holidaymakers who provide good numbers for Waverley. Largs pier is the most convenient intermediate calling point for potential passengers travelling long distances who cannot connect with the first departure on a particular day but can catch up at Largs - this often includes passengers travelling from south of the border. As well as a later start point, it provides an earlier finish point for the long distance traveller as well. Largs has good rail and bus connections which many use to connect with Waverley. Waverley Excursions also offer coach connections to Largs from Glasgow City Centre on "non- Glasgow departure" days and its not unusual to see 3 coach loads of passengers being unloaded as Waverley hoves into sight around the south end of Cumbrae. A lot of time, effort and money have been invested in planning and advertising Largs sailings and this cannot be recovered and potential passengers will be disappointed if they turn up to find no sailings.
Largs Pier is just so important!
While the safety of passengers and public must remain a priority at all times and, as outside observers, we are not in a position to make any comment on the technical problems associated with the pier reconstruction, as potential passengers and Waverley supporters we can appeal for all involved to proactively seek a way to provide a solution which will allow Waverley to call at Largs and transfer passengers in this most critical season of her 2009 operation.
Please see further details and ACT TODAY - You CAN make a difference!
It is interesting to compare the rather negative image that CMAL chose to illustrate their Press Release on the subject with the photograph above taken in early June. The above photo shows the pier head relatively complete, still needing the final top surface and fitting out but with a small coaster alongside (which I think had delivered the hard core filling for the pier head area). Obviously still much work to be done on the leg leading towards the shore but that was two weeks ago.
Please help by doing your bit and use the link to try and influence the parties involved, particularly Scottish Goverment ministers and local council members who have vested interests even bigger than Waverley's, and who are the people most likely to be able to influence the parties involved to develop a viable alternative solution to the problem.
Waverley's planned first call at Largs is Sunday 28th June - this now seems extremely unlikely at this late date. However, every single day that can be recovered from the month of July is going to be a critical bonus and may just be the one day that makes or breaks the season.
YOUR SHIP NEEDS YOU NOW!