Eric Schofield finds himself in the right place at the right time to capture the magnificent arc left by Waverley’s wake off Lochranza on Sunday 16 July 2017.
In this age of political and commercial spin, here is a picture that gives both sides of the story. For those who take a negative outlook, “Waverley is just going round in circles”, but I favour the more positive spin: “This puts a lie to those that say Waverley does not answer the helm in a satisfactory manner.”
What does one do on a summer Sunday when faced with another day of wall-to-wall TV and radio coverage from Wimbledon (my wife is an avid tennis aficionado), especially when some of the commentary, a pet hate of mine, plumbs the depth of incomprehensible drivel?
The answer is simple — get as far away from TV and radio as one can.
With an improving weather outlook, I set off for Ardrossan and Caledonian Isles’ 0945 sailing to Brodick. Quite by chance I met up with fellow CRSC committee member Roy Paterson, who was headed for Lochranza to join Waverley on her sailing to Campbeltown and then to return to Ardrossan on board Isle of Arran.
Having done that very trip a couple of years ago, my plan was somewhat different, and one that would take me to a peaceful spot well away from being in earshot of any Wimbledon commentary. I too was headed for Lochranza, but with the express aim of climbing the hill on the north side of Lochranza Bay, and hopefully getting a picture or two of Waverley on her arrival.
This is a photo spot I have used on a number of occasions but, as it involves a good 20 minutes’ walk from Lochranza, much of it quite a steep climb, it is understandably not used by many.
As we left Ardrossan, incidentally from the inner (Irish) berth, a brisk and steady force 5 was blowing from the north-west and we were not sure that either of our plans would come to fruition, but at least the AIS on Roy’s mobile showed that the paddler was on her way from Glasgow.
Once up the hill at Newton Point, I sat on a bench to partake of my hastily prepared sandwiches and juice, enjoying in almost total isolation the fabulous view to be had away to the north, the clear air even allowing me to pick out the faint white line of Isle of Cumbrae’s hull as she crossed from Tarbert to Portavadie.
Suddenly Waverley hove into view close to the shore almost beneath my feet and I quickly telephoned Roy, as I had promised, to say the paddler was on her way.
Waverley was moving so swiftly that, as I spoke, Roy was able to say he could already see the tops of her funnels behind the Newton Point shoreline.
Having taken a batch of photos showing the steamer approaching and leaving the pier, I stood viewing the scene as Waverley moved astern well out of the bay.
As she started moving forward I began to wonder whether the run to Campbeltown was going to happen, as she steamed towards my vantage point as if about to head back the way she had come.
But she continued swinging round to eventually point south for the Kilbrannan Sound and so presented me with a view of a rather splendid circular course, and the idea for the opening paragraph of this piece.
Waverley’s usual berth at Lochranza is on the narrow end of the pier, as illustrated below in Eric Schofield’s photos, taken from the hill above Newton Point on the north side of the bay:
On Waverley’s return to Lochranza at high water later the same day, Captain Steve Colledge canted her round to the side of the pier before putting Arran passengers ashore — apparently the first time this manoeuvre had been achieved since Lochranza’s concrete pier opened in 2003:
Also by Eric Schofield: