Wednesday, 11 July 2012

PSPS & CRSC Ormidale Charter

On Sunday 8th July the joint Charter of Waverley organised to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Clyde River Steamer Club took place. The weather was kind compared to the recent pattern in that very little rain fell with virtually no wind which allowed for perfect conditions to ferry land in Loch Riddon using the 1938 Denny build The Second Snark. The charter was arranged to help the CRSC celebrate the occasion of the first outing to Ormidale. It is now also 40 years since the PSPS chartered Waverley to ferry land at Ormidale so the charter this year was a double celebration. The Second Snark was chartered by the Coastal Cruising Association and their involvement was vital to ensure that landing at Ormidale was possible. Waverley is too large to berth at Ormidale although Balmoral has berthed at the small (grassy) pier.

Many photographs have started to appear on various websites but it seems appropriate that some are shared on this blog. Some of the following photographs were taken by Roy Tait and David Shirres.

Waverley arriving at Greenock having sailed light from Glasgow. (Photo P Semple)

The Second Snark passing Waverley at Greenock at the start of the special sailings. (Photo S Cameron)
The Second Snark departed from the Victoria Harbour Greenock before Waverley departed from Custom House Quay to allow those aboard The Second Snark to view Waverley's departure. (Photo P Semple)

After departing Greenock Waverley headed for Helensburgh, Largs and Rothesay before making her way through the Kyles of Bute and into Loch Riddon.

Waverley entering Rothesay Bay. (Photo D Shirres)

Those lucky enough to be aboard The Second Snark had the unique opportunity of photographing Waverley as she sailed through the narrows and some excellent shots were to be had as shown below.

Waverley passes through the narrows. (Photo D Shirres)
A bow shot as she starts the enter Loch Riddon. (Photo D Shirres)
Note: unusually the Pilot Exemption pennant is flying from the jackstaff as the houseflags of the two chartering organisations, the Clyde River Steamer Club (CRSC) and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Socety Scottish Branch are accommodating its usual position above the wheelhouse

The veteran motor vessel The Second Snark sailing abeam of paddle steamer Waverley as they proceed up Loch Riddon towards the stone quay at Ormidale Lodge. The Second Snark is the oldest passenger carrying vessel now in regular service on the Clyde and she links together two venerable Clyde institutions and families i.e. that of the Denny family of Dumbarton, world renowned and the most prodigious (at least in terms of the number of ships built) of the many famous Clyde shipbuilding firms; and the Munro family of Greenock, tugmasters, ferry and excursion operators and her current owners through their long establised Clyde Marine Services (previously Clyde Marine Motoring) business. The Second Snark was built by Denny in Dumbarton in 1938 (Yard No 1327) to replace the SS Snark (Yard No 255) of 1882 as the builder's own yard tender, tug, yacht and expeimental vessel.  Denny's had long been one of the most innovative shipbuilding firms in the world and the 1882 Snark had participated in the trialling of their many maritime inventions over her 56 year lifespan. Her successor continued in that traditional albeit not for her entire career as things turned out. The Second Snark was launched into the River Leven at Dumbarton on  27th June 1938 taking up full service as the company's multi-purpose yard vessel just four days later. During the 1950s Denny's entered into a collaborative innovative development with the renowned marine equipment specialists Brown Brothers of the Rosebank Foundry in Edinburgh. Their aim was to devise a means of reducing the adverse effect of large rolling sea waves on the motion of ships. The result was, of course, the famous Denny-Brown ship stabiliser system and The Second Snark played a role in the experimental work undertaken during the development of of that product. In 1963 the Clyde shipbuilding communities, and indeed the whole of Scotland was shocked when the Directors of William Denny & Company announced that they were placing the firm into voluntary liquidation  - it was, arguably the most dignified 'retirement' of the the many shipbuilding closures that took place during the 1960s. Brown Brothers took over the ownership of The Second Snark and she spent most the 1960s on the Firth of Forth. However, in 1969 she was purchased by Capt Munro of Greenock and returned home ro Clydeside. She has now been part of the Munro fleet for more than half her life and, recently, she has been employed in conveying passengers across the Clyde from Govan to the new Riverside transport museum at Pointhouse in Glasgow - surely there can be no more appropriate vessel for that task. Now in her 75th year, MV The Second Snark is trully a gem of the Clyde's long and illustrious maritime heritage and a great credit to her owners and her crews. (Photo: S Cameron)

The Second Snark at Ormidale allowing those who had sailed out on her to land. (Photo R Tait)

The Second Snark coming out to Waverley to embark the first party to land from the paddler at Ormidale (Photos S Cameron)

The Second Snark's skipper, Neil White, checks that he is happy with the safe mooring before the passenger transfer commences. Many thanks to the crews of both vessels for their efforts in making this a wonderful day (Photo: S Cameron)

The Second Snark made 3 return crossings between Waverley and Ormidale pier to allow passengers the option of about 25 minutes ashore. (Photo R Tait)

Some of the passengers in this shot were aboard Waverley on her previous PSPS charter to Ormidale. The Second Snark can be seen alongside Waverley, she provided a perfect transfer from Waverley's sponson. (Photo P Semple)

Waverley rests at anchor. (Photo P Semple)

With a combined age of 139 it was enjoyable to witness two historic Clyde built vessels working together.
(Photo P Semple) 

Paddle box and banner. (Photo P Semple)

Waverley lifts her anchor. (Photo R Tait)

Heading back through the narrows and towards Rothesay. (Photo R Tait)

Throughout the day both the CRSC and PSPS flags were flown above Waverley's bridge meaning the Pilot exemption flag was unusually flown on her bow. (Photo D Shirres)

The Second Snark, waiting off Craigmore for the paddler to pass after her call at Rothesay to re-embark passengers that had landed there earlier in the day. In the background, off Largs, is the departing cruie ship Ocean Countess, which we had passed when departing Greenock earlier in the day (Photo S Cameron)

Heading for Helensburgh passing the Cloch lighthouse. (Photo R Tait)

Overall the day was memorable and unlikely ever to be repeated (the same may have been said in 1972!). Sincere thanks are due to Iain Quinn (CCA) and Neil Guthrie (CRSC) for showing their commitment to organising the event. Thanks must also go to the crew of both Waverley and The Second Snark for ensuring the day ran as per the original plan although passenger numbers were probably affected by the recent weather pattern if not the tennis. If events such as this are likely to be arranged again in the future the support of the PSPS membership is vital to ensure success.

P Semple

and the sincere thanks of the PSPS Scottish Branch Committee to Paul Semple without whose input, this great day out would not have happened

S Cameron