Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Festive Cruise 2012

The Scottish Branch's annual festive cruise successfully took place on Saturday after some initial concerns about weather. Leading up to Saturday the forecast was not good but in the end the wind dropped for a few hours allowing the cruise to take place as planned.

As usual M.V. Cruiser was provided by Clyde Marine Services Ltd. Cruiser was built for the Gosport Ferry Company in 1974 and was originally named Southsea Queen. Her arrival in Gosport saw the end of the last three traditional ferry boats working between Gosport and Portsmouth across Portsmouth Harbour; Vita, Ferry Queen and Vesta. In fact Southsea Queen only lasted 4 years at Gosport before being sold to White Horse Ferries for use on its Hythe ferry service. In 1995 she was chartered to Brownsea Island Ferries Ltd for service in Poole Harbour eventually being sold on to Blue Funnel Cruises in 1997 and renamed Poole Scene. It was in 1999 she was sold to Clyde Marine Services Ltd and renamed Cruiser.

Cruiser departed the Victoria Harbour, Greenock and first headed across to Blairmore to receive the usual warm welcome complete with mulled wine and mince pies. The picture below shows Cruiser at Blairmore Pier.

Passengers rejoin Cruiser before heading up Loch Long.

It was noted that a plaque to the late Dr Joe McKendrick has now been installed at Blairmore Pier in recognition of Joe's long associated with the pier and Waverley.

The plaque on Blairmore Pier in memory of Dr Joe McKendrick.

After leaving Blairmore Cruiser headed up Loch Long and into Loch Goil while passengers enjoyed the buffet lunch. To add interest each table on-board was named after a Clyde Pier of yesteryear and tables were called up to the buffet one at a time. Favourites of the past such as Craigendoran, Arrochar, Lamlash and Whiting Bay were all included.

Passengers on deck.

With some time in hand after cruising Loch Goil and Loch Long Cruiser provided an unadvertised bonus with a quick circuit of James Watt Dock and then into East India Harbour before returning to the Victoria Harbour. It was of interest to see Hebridean Princess in the James Watt Dock.
Hebridean Princess at Greenock.
As in recent years a small profit was realised and many thanks are due to Branch Chairman Peter Reid for once again arranging the cruise.
All pictures provided by Gordon Wilson.
Paul Semple