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.
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.
ALL TICKETS PLEASE
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