Recollections of Graeme Hogg, Junior Purser of Glen Sannox in 1973
This deck view of Glen Sannox takes me back to my time working on her in 1973, when she was the principal Dunoon ferry.
Built in 1957 for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company’s Arran service, the ‘Sannox’ was a fine ship to work on with a friendly crew, but she was probably too big for the upper Firth runs, to which she had been transferred in 1970. Her capacity on the Gourock-Dunoon crossing was needed only on peak Saturdays, and she really came into her own at Cowal Games: she could swallow up the traffic. Otherwise it was like sailing on a ghost ship at times.
By 1973 her Sulzer engines were giving a lot of trouble. They had never been ideal for short ferry work and the 20-minute crossings from Gourock were too much for her, so she had several bouts of engine trouble through the summer.
The feature of the photograph which really chimes in the memory is the yellow funnel. That year, 1973, was the first of Caledonian MacBrayne, as the Clyde and Western Isles fleets were brought more formally under a single umbrella than had been the case since the formation of the Scottish Transport Group in 1969.
However, owing to the timing of winter refits, Cowal and Glen Sannox continued to sport the yellow CSP funnel throughout the 1973 summer, rather than the new red CalMac funnel colours. They both looked anomalous and a bit old fashioned. It felt as if they were clinging to their CSP identity as Clyde ‘steamers’. In Cowal’s case, she was thirled to the Clyde throughout her career but Glen Sannox was to become an important and much loved member of the Western Isles fleet.
Glen Sannox was withdrawn in 1989 and, renamed Knooz after her sale to Arab owners, operated as a pilgrim ship on the Red Sea until she was beached there and left to disintegrate in the early years of this century.
See also ‘Photo of the month’ for