AGM Report: ‘We are an active, busy Club’

Eric Schofield (second left) with CRSC president Robin Copland (second right), after Eric was presented with a framed double-portrait of the 1934 Lochnevis — a token of the Club’s gratitude for the many years he has devotedly served as honorary secretary. Sitting on either side are Carrie MacKinnon (far left) and Billy Tomlinson (far right). The Lochnevis double-portrait and its inscription can be viewed further down this page

This was an unusually upbeat annual business meeting for CRSC, with more than a few laughs. Carrie MacKinnon begins our coverage with a summary of the president’s report, the full detail of which can be read at the bottom of this post.

But, as Carrie herself has often said, you don’t get one MacKinnon without the other (or MacKinnii as past president Andy Anderson calls them). And so, below her AGM summary, you can read Iain Cruise MacKinnon’s impressions of the second half of the meeting, which took the form of an entertaining talk by Stuart Craig, titled ‘Bear With Me’.

A video of each part of the meeting can be viewed here in a separate ‘Members Only’ post.

Robin Copland thanked Robert Newth (left) and CRSC vice-president Jim Stirling (right) for coordinating the ‘live’ Zoom transmission

First up was the business of the day, writes Carrie MacKinnon, and it was good to welcome a record number of members to the AGM — 35 in the room and 35 ‘live’ on Zoom. Thanks are due to Robert Newth and Jim Stirling for making the ‘virtual’ dimension come to life.

Our president, Robin Copland, immediately had us laughing when he managed to slip into the Glasgow vernacular, referring to the online platform for our video recordings as ‘Yous-tube’. Overall, you could tell he had really enjoyed his first year in the chair. He spoke of the travels the Club had been on and the meetings we had held, and thanked each person who had been a speaker in the current session.

Robin also mentioned the names of three people who had died during the year — David Parsons, president in 1980-81, Margaret Shutt, an avid supporter of the Club and regular participant on our cruises, and Jim MacFadzean, long-serving and very popular purser of Waverley, who had passed away only a few days earlier. Iain Quinn gave a brief but thoughtful eulogy to the man known as ‘Jimmy Tickets’.

The business of the night continued with Eric Schofield’s (last!!!!) report as honorary secretary. Eric is standing down after more than 30 years in the post. He has also held various other positions in the Club, including curator and cruise convenor.

Eric thanked everyone for their kindness and support over the years he has held office. He was presented with a framed gift of two pictures of the 1934 Lochnevis, described as ‘the friendliest boat around’. Eric indicated that he is happy to continue on the committee as an ordinary member, while recommending myself (Carrie) to take on the role of honorary secretary. As I have been assisting Eric for the past year or so, this was happily no surprise to me!

The framed double-portrait of the 1934 Lochnevis

Our treasurer, Billy Tomlinson, then reported on club finances, running through all the facts and figures. One important issue, he said, was the need — despite strenuous attempts to keep down costs — to raise the annual subscription by £5 to £35, which the committee saw as a necessary step to keep your Club in a healthy financial state of affairs.

This was put to a vote in the room and on Zoom, and carried unanimously. The introductory rate for new members will also change — to £15.

Apart from Carrie taking over as honorary secretary, it was confirmed that the following would continue in their roles: Billy Tomlinson (treasurer), Stuart Craig (membership secretary), Neil Guthrie (cruising coordinator), Colin Smith (publicity manager), Andrew Clark (magazine editor), Douglas Allan (Review editor), Graeme Hogg (auditor). The president and vice-president are elected every two years, so Robin Copland and Jim Stirling continue in their posts until April 2024.

As Alex Forrest had decided to step down from the committee, and Carrie MacKinnon had now taken the role of honorary secretary, this left two Ordinary Member vacancies. These were filled by Allan Smith and Eric Schofield.

With the serious business of the evening over, I will hand over to Iain to tell you about Stuart Craig’s adventures, in a presentation with the title ‘Bear with Me’.

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Stuart outlines his theme

After an upbeat AGM Stuart Craig took us back for a moment to that time, just three years ago, when nobody was going anywhere, writes Iain Cruise MacKinnon. Stuart’s first photo showed a deserted Glasgow Central Station. ‘Stay at Home’, ‘Respect the Islands’ – but bear with us, for we were soon catapulted to 2022 and Stuart was off on a new adventure with an old friend, Ted (the family teddy bear).

Inspired by the story of a garden gnome that went missing from a Gloucestershire garden and was later returned with an accompanying travel diary, Stuart had the idea to take Ted on a series of trips, photographing him on as many CalMac ferries as possible during 2022.

CalMac’s overhaul schedule provided opportunities to travel on boats close to home while they were displaced from their usual routes.

Caledonian Isles was the first ferry to appear fully photographed in the journey with Ted. She was soon followed by Isle of Arran, which has been ever more the reliable stalwart of the fleet. In March they went to Harris, but neither bear nor human were in tweed. Then onto the Bute ferry Argyle, where Ted trespassed onto a crew-only area on the top deck.

It appears a ferry enthusiast can get away with the odd thing or two while travelling with an unusual companion. On Largs slipway the crew of Loch Portain were bemused by, but tolerant of, a bear posing on the car deck.

Ted on MV Lochinvar

Sometimes taking a Ted selfie without being noticed could be just a little bit difficult. On Lochnevis a kind lady remarked “Oh no, a wee lassie has forgotten her Teddy bear.” Bashful-in-the-moment Stuart stooped to pick him up with a muffled “he’s mine!”.

For CalMac passengers it was becoming clear on many a ferry that, if you went out on deck that day, you could be in for a big surprise: a teddy bear’s picnic perchance. On Hebridean Isles Ted pinched the favourite seat of a past president. Next time they are on board they’ll have to ask — who’s been sitting in my seat?

It was all too inevitable that when Stuart was photographing Ted at a road sign in Lewis, Club member Mark Nicolson should appear over the horizon and say hello, no doubt wondering why Stuart had suddenly appeared in his neck of the woods.

On Finlaggan Ted decided to sit next to the ship’s lounge decoration, the one which resembles a Tardis control console. Was there a glimpse into the future there? Perhaps an avid Dr Who fan has just joined the committee? Stuart and Ted didn’t leave the committee out of the fun. Our membership secretary, who never misses an opportunity to poke some fun at his colleagues, showed images of Ted dressed up to resemble most of the office bearers. It wouldn’t be right to say which committee member Ted impersonated best, but all took the joke in good spirit. They are human after all!

We don’t know if Ted got on to all of the boats during his adventures. It appeared as if he was looking a bit wistful at LOTI in James Watt Dock. Was that a boat that got away from the bear? We’ll have to wait till the end of the year to find out from Stuart’s next book.

One thing we know for sure: we are a ‘people organisation’ in the CRSC. And we’re not all grizzly. So, when you travel, do it with friends. From the Club that likes to sail together.

Below: Ted on Carvoria, Loch Portain, Loch Ranza, Argyle — and posing as the bald-headed CRSC magazine editor! Click on each image to enlarge






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Presidents report: Robin Copland


Meeting, Sailing and Talking – that’s what our Club sets out to do each year, although that remit has been expanded upon, so that members now research, produce two excellent magazines, run an up-to-the-minute website, engage with members on social media and try to maintain links with ferry and ship operators – especially with our friends (and in some cases, members!) at Waverley Excursions and CalMac. So, it’s a broad remit, and though some of our activities suit some but not others – and vice versa – we do our level best to please as many of our members as we can.

Immediate past-president Andy Anderson drew the short straw when he became president of the Club as Covid ravaged everyone. He led us through the tough times, and we introduced the idea of the remote’ meeting, one of the benefits of which was that, suddenly, our monthly meetings became available to a much wider audience. We decided to maintain that initiative after the Covid threat receded, but we also realised that the Zoom platform had its quality limitations. The platform is not designed for our type of meeting, so we reluctantly decided to use YouTube for our recorded presentations. I say ‘reluctantly’ because we gave up that ‘live’ element of the meeting. And so one of the first decisions your committee made was to ensure that there were at least three presentations a year delivered in the old Zoom format – this meeting tonight and two summer presentations. For the rest, we are keen to revert to in-person meetings though we have undertaken, where presenters allow, to record these professionally, and then make them available to members a few days after the meeting. I hope that the improved quality of the recordings – without the door-slamming and earnest requests for a cup of tea from the odd inadvertently unmuted audience member — makes up for the inconvenience of the recording.


I hope you have enjoyed the varied selection of speakers over the past 12 months – I know that I have. We try to get a mix of presenters and subjects. This year, we have gone all the way from the enthusiast talking nostalgia, through an entertaining talk on two of the Club’s founders in our 90th anniversary year, to the professional, whether that’s at management level or seafaring, talking about matters maritime. In more detail, we have had the following presentations:

• After the last AGM in April 2022, Iain Quinn gave a talk on LNER steamers from 1948 to 1972.
• In August, magazine editor Andrew Clark introduced many of us to Leo Vogt and George Stromier in a fascinating and well-researched talk titled ‘Stromier and Vogt, Co-Creators of a Club Culture’.
• In September, past president Roy Paterson entertained us to ‘A 90th Anniversary Dip into the Digital Archive’.
• From me in October, a madcap tour round the CalMac network.
• November saw Captain John Gillies tell us about his career with CalMac on both the small ferry fleet as well as the large ferries.
• At our December Members Night, we were entertained by Allan Comrie, who told us about his family’s connections to the Clyde steamers, including Waverley; James Fisher, an Ayrshire sheep farmer who identified his favourite ship as the 1934 Mercury and, thanks to youthful connections with Loch Lomond, wanted Ardlui to be reinstated as a pier; and Gordon McNeil, who spoke nostalgically about Ayr and wondered whether he had sailed on the pioneer turbine King Edward.
• In January, Gavin Stewart gave a presentation on the shipping of the river he loves – not just Clyde steamers, but some of the other regular and erstwhile visitors.

That’s 11 speakers on a wide range of topics. My thanks to them all, and I am pleased to report that all the talks are available for viewing on our website.

90th Anniversary Dinner

After careful consideration, your committee decided to have a celebratory dinner at Loks Bar & Kitchen in Newlands. The website report on the evening starts with ‘Wow! The evening of 14 October 2022 certainly beat our expectations. Plenty of people came. Conversation flowed. The speeches were a hoot. There was more than enough to eat and drink — and a lot of laughter. 

OK – maybe a wee bit biased, but I think that summary captures the atmosphere rather well! Why did it all go so well? Well,

• Waverley Excursions General Manager Paul Semple toasted the Club.
• Stuart Craig replied on the Club’s behalf.
• Club curator Billy Tomlinson arranged for a small display of the Club’s collection of artefacts.
• We honoured nine Club luminaries by naming tables after them.
• The chat and craic flowed all night!

I would like to put on record my thanks to Vice-President Jim Stirling and committee member Alec Forrest, as well as treasurer Billy Tomlinson, for their help organising the Dinner. It was a great event and much enjoyed by all who attended.

Causing and Sailing Together

Our Cruising Coordinator Neil Guthrie has been busy and we have been lucky in being able to return to the water and sail together.

On 7 May 2022 19 intrepid members boarded Lady of the Lake at Trossachs Pier for a sailing to Stronachlachar. They were delighted to find out that former Waverley chief engineer Ken Henderson was their skipper, and he allowed the group some time ashore at Stronachlachar for a group photograph.
• On Sunday 28th August, more than 85 members sailed on the CRSC nominated sail on Waverley to Ardnagal pier near Arrochar –described by Stuart Craig on this website as ‘one of the most enjoyable sails we’ve ever had.’

The only disappointment on the sailing front was the weather-related cancellation of our New Year nominated sailing to Brodick. 

But – we have another nominated sailing to Campbeltown on Sunday 4th June 2023 and we have a nominated cruise on Waverley on Sunday 30th July. Details under ‘Forthcoming Events’ on this website’s home page.

Club Website

Our website goes from strength to strength with interesting articles, pictures and videos – some for all to see and others limited to members only. Many thanks to Neil Guthrie, Andrew Clark, John Newth and Stuart Craig who look after the site and ensure that it is constantly updated and refreshed with new content. Please take some time to look through News and Reports and enjoy the articles, pictures and films available. I cannot recommend it highly enough.


• Our Calendar came out in September: thanks are due to the calendar convenor, Gordon Law, for continuing his work on this production, in cooperation with the West Highland Steamer Club. It keeps the Club’s name to the forefront throughout the year.  
• Many thanks also to Review editor Douglas Allan, who has edited and published two Reviews this year – the 2020 edition, published last September, and the 2021 Review that came out earlier this month.  
Clyde Steamers — the Club magazine edited by Andrew Clark — continues to provide members with a much-needed fillip around this time of the year and, as always, it contains articles of interest to the steamer and ship enthusiast
• Talking of Andrew Clark, I hope that many of you have enjoyed reading his book The Making of MacBrayne. The intellectual effort put into writing this history of shipping on the west coast is matched by the heft of the book. It is a magnificent publication that should grace every enthusiast’s library.
• For the past 20-odd years Stuart Craig has delighted us all with his videos and DVDs of ships in the Clyde and Western Isles. He has indicated that the CRSC DVD review 2022 will be the last in this series, and I am sure that members will want to join with me in thanking Stuart for all his work producing these DVDs.
• Photographs continue to be a valuable source of income for the Club, so thanks to Iain Quinn and Stuart Craig for their continued work in making these pictures available to club members.

Ship Ahoy!

Talking of Iain Quinn, allow me to quickly remind members of the Ship Ahoy one-day exhibition that he helps organise and which is taking place this year at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine, KA12 8BT. CRSC will be represented at the exhibition, and committee members Billy Tomlinson and Stuart Craig will be manning the Club’s stand. The exhibition will be open from 10.00 to 16.00 on Saturday 22nd April and there will be much of interest – models, books, photographs and interesting people to meet. For those who are watching this furth of the firth, you may want to consider making a weekend of it. Saturday at Ship Ahoy, followed by the CRSC nominated cruise to Islay the following day – that’s Saturday 22nd and then Sunday 23rd April!


In addition to members of the committee that I have already mentioned, I would like to thank 

• Colin Smith for his help in publicising the Club. Colin also serves on the Waverley Excursions board, and it is great that the Club has forged such a good relationship with that organisation through his good offices as well as with Paul Semple.  
• As well as being curator of the Club’s Collection, Billy Tomlinson is the Club’s treasurer, in which role he plays an active role not only keeping the numbers in check but as a most active committee member.  I value his input and occasional critique. Thank you, Billy.  
• Club Secretary Eric Schofield will give a review and summary of committee meetings as part of his report, but it would be remiss of me not to mention that he has acted as the Club’s honorary secretary for well over 30 years. This has been a huge task and, lest we forget, is only the latest among many jobs he has undertaken as a committee member. He has truly given his all to the Club and feels that it is now time to move on and let someone younger take on the task of secretary. He has put himself forward to stay on the committee, not least because he has an office in his house which is ideally set up to help with Club mailings, but we would like to honour Eric at this stage by making a small presentation to him, to thank him for all of his work and to remind him of his friends and extended family here at the Clyde River Steamer Club.  
• The future of the Club is in safe hands as we of the older generation begin to pass the responsibility to those younger than we are. I am delighted to say that, subject to members’ approval at the appropriate time, Carrie MacKinnon has agreed to take on the important role of Club secretary.

I should also like to mention three ‘non-committee’ people who have been incredibly helpful this past year.

• John Newth for editing Ferry News
• Graeme Hogg for his work as auditor
• Robert Newth for his help with the technical side of things to do with YouTube and Zoom.


This is an active, busy Club, with something for everyone who has even a passing interest in the shipping around Scottish waters and on the west coast particularly. It engages with its membership; it organises; it cajoles; and it has come through these past few years stronger than ever. It has a committed committee anxious to do their best for the Club’s membership. We have another great year ahead of us. Make sure that you spread the word and encourage others to join us and take part.

Meeting, Sailing and Talking – it’s what we do! It’s in our DNA.

Robin Copland

President, Clyde River Steamer Club

Inscription on the framed double-portrait of MV Lochnevis, presented to Eric Schofield at the AGM

At the end of the meeting, Eric (third left) was thanked individually by (left to right) Carrie MacKinnon, Robin Copland, new committee member Allan Smith, longstanding member David Docherty (now resident in southern England) and Stuart Craig

All photographs on this page are © CRSC. Published on 25 April 2023