In the latest of his trips down memory lane, prompted by a superb collection of tickets, Eric Schofield takes a nostalgic look at the ‘Day Sea Rover’.
In any series of articles about Clyde steamer tickets it would be remiss of me not to consider a day trip ticket that was, if not unique, quite rare in offering the purchaser a remarkable variety of options.
The topography of the Firth of Clyde, with its unrivalled number of piers in relatively close proximity, coupled with the interaction between basic ferry services and pleasure cruises, provided the perfect setting in which the holder of a Day Sea Rover ticket could experience many and varied days out on the waters of the Firth. With timetable to hand, the day’s sailings could be planned in advance or substitute itineraries be quickly considered if, say, a vessel ran late, thus missing a connecting sailing.
Introduced in 1963 the Day Sea Rover ticket, initially priced at 15/-, was available up until 1972, by then costing £2.10. Twelve of the ‘Rover’ tickets I used have survived in my collection: they were issued on the following vessels:
19/7/65 Duchess of Hamilton
6/8/66 Duchess of Hamilton
2/6/67 Maid of Cumbrae
14/9/69 PS Caledonia
27/3/70 Maid of Argyll
5/7/70 Queen Mary II
27/9/71 Queen Mary II
25/9/72 MV Caledonia
Writing this piece during the Covid-19 lockdown makes the restrictions on freedom of movement seem even more abhorrent when the subject matter is about the wonderfully relaxed and carefree pleasures to be had when in possession of a Day Sea Rover.
At the start of the period when such tickets were available, the Clyde fleet had four paddle steamers, three turbine steamers, seven passenger motor vessels and four car/passenger ferries. This was gradually whittled down to one paddler and one turbine steamer, three passenger motor vessels, five car/passenger ferries plus a further five small bow loading car/passenger ferries by 1972.
Rather than focussing in on just one of my Rover ticket days, I felt that this was an opportunity to give a ‘highlights’ programme — a selection of images obtained on the above listed occasions, all apart from my 1972 trip when camera failure intervened.
Hopefully this glance at past glories will help to fill the void until such time as we can get back aboard a CalMac Clyde ferry or, more tantalisingly, a reboilered and revitalised Waverley.
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Published on 21 June 2020