All tickets please (4)

Having arrived at Ardrishaig aboard Waverley, Eric Schofield watched her depart for Tarbert — which he reached by bus in time to photograph her arriving there, before sailing on the return leg of her cruise as far as Millport. Copyright Eric Schofield

The date was 26 September 1970 — a Saturday offering a paddle steamer charter to Ardrishaig and the last visit by a turbine steamer to the Millport Illuminations. Thanks to some nifty working of the timetable, Eric Schofield took it all in, and has photographs and a ticket to prove it.

No. 4  Millport to Gourock single

This ticket, issued on Saturday 26 September 1970 to cover the journey from Millport Old Pier via Largs, Rothesay and Dunoon to Gourock, seems quite straightforward. But if I tell you the timing of the run, 2045 to 2300, you will quickly realise that it is a bit different from the norm.

It was in fact a return journey from the Millport Illuminations. But how did I first get to Cumbrae – surely I would have bought a return ticket? Well, yes, I did have a return ticket, but covering a somewhat different journey.

The PSPS had a charter of Waverley on this same day, and I sailed on her from Princes Dock in Glasgow to Gourock, Dunoon, Tarbert and Ardrishaig. In company with a number of other passengers, I managed to make the return journey a little bit more unusual, photographing Waverley leaving Ardrishaig, then travelling by bus to Tarbert, there in time to picture her arrival.

The return sailing from Tarbert was by way of Garroch Head with a stop at Millport, where I landed and duly photographed Waverley leaving and shortly afterwards Cowal arriving on the evening run from Wemyss Bay and Largs.

After a couple of hours ashore, sampling the intoxicating experience of the Illuminations, I boarded the CSP’s special Illuminations Cruise vessel, Queen Mary II, for the return to Gourock. This was the turbine’s first and only occasion, I believe, on this long-standing annual excursion, covering the gap left following PS Caledonia’s withdrawal from service at the end of the previous year.

Waverley at Ardrishaig on 26 September 1970. Copyright Eric Schofield

Waverley arrives at Tarbert on the PSPS charter of 26 September 1970. Copyright Eric Schofield

Waverley leaves Millport on 26 September 1970. Copyright Eric Schofield

Cowal arrives at Millport on the evening service run from the mainland on 26 September 1970. The padella lights have already been lit on the Inner Eilean in preparation for the Illuminations. Copyright Eric Schofield

Queen Mary II and Keppel make a picturesque sight at the Old Pier on the evening of the 1970 Millport Illuminations. It was to be the veteran turbine’s only visit to the Illuminations. Copyright CRSC J.T.A. Brown Collection


Excursion to Ardrishaig with return journey up-river to Glasgow

Helensburgh to Holy Loch Cruise

Ardgour to Nether Lochaber (Corran)

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Published on 14 April 2018