Clansman – 13th January 2001

Normal Service sailings – Ardrossan, Brodick, Ardrossan
Charter – Cruise north end of Arran to Lochranza bay
and then return to Brodick 
The following notes were received by the Club Secretary, from Mr W A V Castle, a few days after the charter:
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being on the first winter cruise on ‘Waveriey” and it gave me pleasure to tell Scotships members about it.   I am in no way biased towards any particular ship, and I therefore have pleasure in letting those not fortunate enough to have been on  Clansman yesterday, hear a wee bit about the cruise.
The relieving CalMac ferry  Clansman  was chartered from Brodick, by the Clyde River Steamer Club for a cruise lasting about two hours. Over two hundred people went on the trip. The majority of them had boarded the ferry (incidentally, the longest steamer  ever to sail on a Clyde route) at Ardrossan at 0945, but after the Arran passengers’ had disembarked at Brodick, some Arran residents went aboard tor the coastal cruise.
The entire crew of the ship were very welcoming.  After leaving Ardrossan, many went to the cafeteria for breakfast, but some others visited the attractive and well-appointed bar.  In addition to the warming refreshments usually available from that part of the ship, piping hot coffee in nice CalMac cups ,with saucers (not plastic cups or mugs!) was poured out by a most pleasant and courteous barman,Callum MacLeod.   
Chief Steward Donnie Edwards and the rest of his team were busy all day in the cafeteria and serving well-nigh 200 delicious lunches, in two sittings.
It was fitting that CalMac’s senior Purser and one of the best possible examples of a genuine ‘customer care’ employee was on duty  lt was good to see Donald Maclean, who is usually on the regular Arran ferry, Caledonian Isles, in the same team as Captain Hugh Sinclair.  Their ’partnership’ goes back many years to the Columba,- and maybe beyond.
On the cruise, Clansman sailed near to the Arran coast, the Cock of Arran and spectacularly close to the village of Lochranza (bringing back memories to some of those on board of the calls at the, now demolished, pier by the excursion steamers enroute to Campbeltown where a hoot was given on the ship’s hom.  
After arriving back at Brodick, Capt. Sinclair and his deck officers gave conducted tours of the navigating bridge.   Meanwhile, others in the charter party, took advantage of a “half-island’ coach tour which was specially arranged. The passenger list on this now annual post-New Year cruise, was like a page from the “Who’s who” in the steamer enthusiast world.  Several coastal cruising enthusiasts travelled up to the Clyde specially from England for the event. Much shipping gossip was made and exchanged on board, some of it regarding the announcement the previous day about the new public transport interchange at Gourock.   
Many thought it a strange announcement as no-one appeared to have heard of the decision about the future of ferry services between Inverclyde and Cowal.  Some took it as the green light to the secure future of Gourock as a major ferry port!
Before disembarking at Ardrossan at 1745 at the end of a perfect day for the cruisers, the Clyde River Steamer Club’s cruise convener, Deryk Docherty, gave a vote of thanks through the ferry’s public address system, thanking Capt Sinclair and his entire crew for being so polite and courteous.  
Perhaps it would be nice for those enthusiasts who were on board to also thank Derek for arranging the trip. It was his last cruise, as cruise convener of the Club.   A positively perfect day was had by ail.
Photographs:  Charles McCrossan
 Clansman approaching Ardrossan   Clansman approaching the Ardrossan berth