Saturn – 29th June 2011

Nominated excursion
Last day of the Gourock – Dunoon Car Ferry service
Normal service day but many members sailed
throughout the day and in particular on the
last round trip from Gourock to Dunoon to Gourock 

This was not only a farewell to a favourite car ferry, Saturn, but the end of the Gourock to Dunoon vehicle ferry service. 
The event turned out to be not so much a nominated excursion, but more a farewell party.  Some enthusiasts spent the day sailing back and forward between Gourock and Dunoon but the vast majority were aboard for the final sailing from Gourock and the return service from Dunoon.
Notes and photographs:  Charles McCrossan
                       Saturn arriving into Gourock
Seabus on the
Kilcreggan Ferry service
Where steamers once came
and went about their business
 Clyde Marine’s Clyde Clipper
Saturn at Dunoon waiting
for her next load of cars

With the second of Argyll Ferries’ vessels not ready to start the new service, Clyde Marine’s Clyde Clipper was chartered as a stop-gap solution.  During the crossing to Dunoon, Clyde Clipper was seen returning to base after carrying out berthing trials at Dunoon.

Ali Cat had been on charter for sometime to provide the extra passenger-only ferry service at peak times.  On the 29th June she was still on charter to Caledonian MacBrayne but had already had her new ArgyllFerries livery applied when she operated the peak time sailing.  So fresh was the paint scheme that passengers were advised not to sit on anything blue on the top deck!!
As the afternoon turned into evening Saturn continued with her scheduled sailings but even the weather seemed to sense that history was being made that evening.  Heavy black clouds brought rain showers but Saturn sailing off into a rainbow seemed a bit surreal.


When Saturn arrived at Dunoon for the last time her decks were packed with enthusiasts, regular travellers and CalMac staff.  There was also a good turnout of local people on Dunoon pier to witness this final arrival and departure.
It wasn’t long, however, before Saturn had unloaded her last load of cars for Dunoon and loaded her very last load of cars.  With horn blaring she pulled away from Dunoon pier for the last time.

Saturn’s last load of cars
As most will like to remember her –
 a versatile and very popular member of the fleet
While most of her last passengers were still milling around at Gourock, Saturn slipped her ropes and headed off for lay-up at Roseneath.
Photographs:  John Crae

A well packed Saturn 
on her final run to Dunoon  
Saturn on her final
returning sailing from Dunoon 
Saturn on her final

returning sailing from Dunoon 

Saturn alongside at Gourock
for the last time