Hebrides to Brodick – 12th Jan 2013


Normal Service sailing – Ardrossan; Brodick; Ardrossan 
Coach tour of north of island, Lunch at Kinloch Hotel,
Blackwaterfoot and return to Brodick via
the String Road 


The main text of this report was submitted by Stuart Craig.  

Neil Guthrie, Andrew Clark, Donald Stirling, Roy Paterson and Charles McCrossan contributed photographs.  
Thanks to all for their assistance and input


Standing shivering, atop a draughty, red sandstone harbour wall, at 0900 on a January morning can only mean one thing – another CRSC excursion to Arran. The popular early-season trip was as well supported as ever this year, maybe because, yet again, there was another Arran newcomer on the route.
In recent years the usual Ardrossan incumbent Caledonian Isles has been relieved by Clansman when the former goes for annual overhaul at the start of each year. Last year it fell to the cherished Lord of the Isles to do the business; and that was a great day out. But this year it was the turn of Hebrides. Apparently the capacity of Clansman had to be retained over the winter at Oban and it thus now seems that her pseudo-sister Hebrides is to be the relief vessel for all the major routes.
It was a day of calm, benevolent weather, with a slight easterly zephyr, as ninety eight Club members and friends gathered at Ardrossan on Saturday 12 January. Up on the harbour wall it was decidedly colder, but never mind, within five minutes at least one chap had been persuaded to join the Club!

 Ardrossan at 9.10am –
 a vision appears from the skyline
Hebrides approaching 

the harbour entrance

Hebrides enters the inside berth
at Winton Pier, sometimes known as
the Newry berth or the Lion’s den

Hebrides came charging through the Hole-in-the-Wall into the inner sanctum, but to our surprise carried straight onwards towards the Irish (inner) linkspan.   This was the first time Hebrides had ever used this berth and everyone can heave a collective sigh of relief that it is now captured on video!

Hebrides takes us all by surprise
by heading for the “Irish berth” 
 Hebrides alongside
 the “Irish berth”
Hebrides alongside
 the “Irish berth” 
380 105 awaits departure
on the service to Glasgow  

Boarding was via the car deck; stopping astride the linkspan to pose for a group photograph. 

The ensuing tail-breeze offered almost balmy conditions on the sail across to Brodick – ‘balmy’ for January, that is. To our delight the CRSC pennant was soon fluttering from the fore mast, although how our cruise organiser, Neil Guthrie, managed to shin up the mast without anyone noticing remains a puzzle.  However Neil managed to get a few “unique shots” from his lofty position.

The CRSC’s blue pennant flies 
from the Hebrides’ foremast
Looking astern across the
top deck of Hebrides
A fine straight wash Unusual shot of the bow

One of the delights of a morning sailing on a CalMac ship is to partake of their hearty breakfast. When all ninety-nine of our fellow cruisers, plus a good number of Hebrides’s “normal passengers” had the same idea,  there was a bit of a wait but it was worth waiting for and we were all fed in good time.  Congratulations to her catering crew on the day.

Once on the berth at Brodick we were able to disembark from the gangway. Interestingly, despite the technology of the modern fleet a wee plank of wood still has its place – at the edge of the vehicle ramp to allow a more gentle bump down onto the linkspan!  However the main priority for a good number of our group was to photograph Hebrides leaving Brodick and the familiar line up could be found along the promenade!  A selection of shots taken as Hebrides departed for Ardrossan, and some of those taking the shots, are showing below.

Many reports and photographs from various Club events
 are submitted by our Magazine Editor, Andrew Clark,
 but he is seldom seen in front of the camera
After Hebrides departured, we climbed aboard a brace of buses for the north-circular drive to Blackwaterfoot. The driver of bus No 2 was Iain (he should join the Club – it’s full of Iain’s). “That’s Iain with two eyes,” he proudly stated. “It means I can see where we are going!” Those on bus No 2 now knew they had a character in charge. On the journey to the far side of the island Iain frequently stopped his bus at the side of the road, and occasionally in the middle of it, to point out interesting features or throw in a few anecdotes. Did you know, for instance, that CalMac once shipped a giraffe over to the island but found the headroom of the ship too low for its comfort? And were you aware that sand from the gravel pit just outside Brodick is sometimes exported to Saudi Arabia? 

Driver Iain aboard the bus at Blackwaterfoot

Although not organised by the Club, Iain has taken Members from these January sailings, around the island
on several occasions when tours were offered to coincide with sailings in the late 90’s and early 2000’s
Shoot out in Glen Chalmadale!
When you get ninety eight participants on a CRSC outing, you can be sure that some of them have interests in other forms of transport.  When you are on a bus in the middle of an island, there are no steamers or ferries to photograph so the bus is the next best thing.  Below are two classic shots of shooting him, shooting me!
You were never going to win this one Andrew – there were two of them shooting at you!
However when the well-meaning Iain pulled up at Lochranza and gave us a short lecture on the history of the steamers that used to call there we had to politely cough and point out that we were the Clyde River Steamer Club!
Robert Cleary and Andrew Clark
 deep in conversation while other 
members stretch their legs at Lochranza

As we travelled southwards down the west side of the island we emerged quite suddenly from the veil of steely grey cloud that seemed to be riveted to the northern half of the island. We were now in the land of the sinking sun and at Blackwaterfoot we spilled out of the buses to enjoy its feeble warmth before heading into the Kinloch Hotel for a rather sumpteous lunch.
The Kinloch Hotel,

The dining room at Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot
A welcome from CRSC Presiden
t Deryk Docherty
The small but delightful little harbour
across from the Hotel
To our delight, and to Neil’s total surprise, some bright, well-informed member of staff had given each of the nine tables the name of a famous Clyde steamer. There were two Duchesses, a pair of Marchionesses, and a Talisman, Jeanie Deans, Juno, Mercury and a Caledonia. This was much appreciated and made us feel very welcome. The food was excellent and seemed thoroughly enjoyed by all. Club President Deryk Docherty gave a short address between mouthfuls of steak pie and duly thanked Neil for all his hard work in organising the day. 
The return bus trip took as over the ‘string’ road, so-called, Iain told us, because from the east coast of the island it ‘….looks like a piece of string.’ I was hoping for a more beguiling explanation.

Back at Brodick a few foolhardy souls perched on the crest of the raised beach above the pier to get a more heightened view of the return of Hebrides. At least one got holes from the barbed wire fence, in his jeans, to prove that he was there. The light was now fading fast but a tequila glow over the hills out to the west illuminated the ship just enough to allow a few pictures.

CRSC Honorary Secretary 
Eric Schofield watching for 
Hebrides’ return to Brodick
 Bay view at Brodick 

CRSC Membership Secretary
Stuart Craig snaps the Hebrides
arriving at Brodick
Roy Paterson choose the safer
option of sea level, and caught 
Hebrides as she arrived

We sailed at 1640 and this time docked at the conventional berth, at Ardrossan.
Hebrides alongside at Ardrossan

This was a terrific day out and on behalf of the committee I would like to thank all those who turned out to support the Club. Thanks to Neil’s careful planning and hard work their day turned out to be a most enjoyable and memorable one. Now, I wonder which ship will be relieving at Arran next January?

A selection of other photographs from the day are shown below
Leaving Ardrossan — Paul Semple,
Paul Flint and James Morris

 Iain Morgan, Graeme Hogg,
Angus Ross and Deryk Docherty

Duncan Wilson, Harold Mills
and Pat Marron

CRSC Cruise Convener Neil Guthrie (top) with Andrew and Gill Anderson
Exit to the limited open deck
on MV Hebrides
Stewart Cameron, Donald Stirling and CRSC Webmaster Charles McCrossan
Tom Roberts and
Lawrence Macduff


 Bus No. 1 reache
d Blackwaterfoot in record time
Tankers Furenas (nearest camera) and Ramira at anchor in Brodick bay Jim Coull and Ian Wilson  Robin Love with Onboard Service Manager Billy Wood

There is another collection of photographs from the day here