Hebrides – 17th January 2015

Ardrossan, Brodick and return – normal service sailing
Coach tour on Arran via String Road
to Blackwaterfoot and then via
Pirnmill and and Catacol to Lochranza
Lunch at Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot
View arrival and departure of Lochinvar at Lochranza
Optional tour of Arran Brewery
Hebrides swings through the harbour entrance at Ardrossan (RP)
With thanks to Stuart Craig for the report and the following for photographs:
AC – Andrew Clark; CM Charles McCrossan; GL Gordon Law; JN John Newth; NC Norman Crawford;  RP Roy Paterson
That great comic actor Rikki Fulton once performed a sketch as an inebriated weatherman where he forecast that ” gales were coming from the north and a shower from the west, and when they meet there’s going to be a helluva party!”  Well during the week preceding the Club excursion on Saturday 17 January 2015 both of these meteorological elements arrived on the Clyde with a vengeance. However, the weather moderated on the Friday night and the CRSC did indeed have a party. Oh, it snowed, but the wind and seas had moderated obligingly for the trip and the 59 members and friends enjoyed a smashing day on Arran.

A snowy Maxwell Park on the way to
the Ardrossan boat train (CM)
A bonus find at Glasgow Central on country end of sleeper from London –
DB owned class 90 034 in specially applied DRS livery for
operating a special Virgin trains diagram, but now returned to DB
(Confusing things these modern railway operations!) (CM)

 Hebrides arrives at Ardrossan
prior to taking us to Arran (RP)
Off we go: Harry Silvers,
Charles McCrossan, Eric Schofield,
Angus Ross and Ian Wilson (AC)
Ferry queue: Neil Guthrie (right), assisted
by John Newth (second from right),
hands out tickets at Ardrossan ferry terminal (AC) 
Bow door boarding: John Newth,
Harry Silvers, Andrew Gilmour,
Robin Copland (AC)
Our two small, hired coaches joined us aboard relief vessel Hebrides for the 0945 crossing. It was a busy ship, under the command of Captain Alastair Campbell, as CalMac were still clearing a backlog from the previous days’ storms.

Meeting of minds: Robin Love
and Ian McCrorie (AC)
 Romantic escapade:
Eric and Sharon Smith (AC)
Coffee Cabin: Peter Gifford
and Craig Osborne (AC)
Mariners Restaurant:
Ken and Elsie Hinshalwood with
Mike MacKenzie and Angus MacRae (AC)   
 President’s forum: Angus Ross with
Val and Colin McNab (AC)
A pleasure shared:
Valerie and Colin Galbraith (AC) 
 Sailing and smiling:
Charles McCrossan and Billy Tomlinson (AC)
All wrapped up:
Dorothy and Derek Peters (AC) 
Up on deck sunshine, snowy squalls and a stunning rainbow arc formed the backdrop on the way across on a calm sea. Not that these added features were necessary, for the white-capped mountains of Arran gave as stunning a vista as anyone would want.

Generation change:
Lawrence Macduff (left)
with Allan Smith and Lee Gallagher (AC)
Brodick Castle:
Ken McLaren and David Stirling (AC) 
Prepare to disembark: Bob Begg,
John Newth and new CRSC member
Peter Hall from Chesterfield (AC)  
Hebrides: John Beveridge
and Craig Osborne (AC)
Snowy Arran behind the rainbow(NC)  Hebrides at Brodick (RP)  Hebrides at Brodick (GL)  Our transport on Arran (RP) 
Cruise convenor, Neil Guthrie, had arranged a tight itinerary so there was not much hanging around at Brodick. The buses had us spinning our way across The String towards Blackwaterfoot in time for an early 1145 lunch. Driving with great care on the snow-covered road our driver seemed very interested in our day-trip.
“Are you a walking group?” He asked.
“Yes”, someone replied, “we walk from the ferry to the bus”.
Outside, as we crawled onwards and upwards, the snow was still falling. I’ve never seen as much of the white stuff on the island, most of it outside the bus.

 On the bus, two of which were specially
transported from the mainland
for our trip (AC)
Breezy Blackwaterfoot:
Colin and Arthur Sales  (AC)
Ready for lunch:
Tom Roberts and Dan Hendry (AC) 
At Kinloch Hotel: Eric Harcus,
Graeme Phanco and Michael Beglan (AC)
Presidential welcome:
Angus Ross (left), Eila Handyside
and Pat Marron (front right) (AC)
Dinner companions:
Graeme Hogg and Robert Cleary (AC)
“The Largs table”  (AC)
Bard of the Clyde Steamers:
Ian McCrorie sings the Grace (AC)
At the Kinloch Hotel lunch was served promptly, efficiently, and with not inconsiderable charm, by a cohort of smartly turned-out young ladies. The coach drivers joined for lunch and when Ian McCrorie sang us the Selkirk Grace I spotted one of them raising an eyebrow in incredulity.

Back to the bus:
Stuart Craig and Duncan Wilson (AC)
Son and father:
Graeme and Gordon Law (AC)  
Our buses outside the Kinloch Hotel (RP)
“I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day,” our waitress said to us as we climbed back aboard the buses a mere 80 minutes after getting off them.  She omitted to tell me that I had left my camera tripod behind – an omission that I have indulged in with uncanny regularity over recent years.  Looking across the Kilbrannan Sound, Davaar Island suddenly materialised out of the gloom, followed by the remainder of the Kintyre peninsula, as we headed northwards up the coastal road towards Lochranza; it was a stunning view.

 Lochinvar arriving at Lochranza (RP)  Yes!  Definitely a CRSC outing (RP) Lochinvar on the slip at Lochranza (NC)   
The next event on Neil’s itinerary was up at Lochranza where the arrival and departure of the daily ferry from Tarbert was imminent. This was a ‘new’ vessel: Lochinvar was serving on this route for her first season. A few in our party had never seen her before and the surge of photographers  racing off the coaches as we pulled up above the pier resembled scenes normally encountered at a pre-Christmas sale at Tesco.

Lochinvar on the slip at Lochranza (RP)
Lochinvar at Lochranza  –  An unusual view
which took some effort in the conditions (AC)
After a very quick turnaround
Lochinvar gathers up her skirts
and is off back to Tarbert (RP)
Lochinvar is now the usual incumbent on the Portavadie-Tarbert route, but the ferry on this route takes a daily sailing to the north Arran slipway once a day during the winter schedule. Her crew, and particularly the occupants of the three cars disembarking, must have wondered why they were receiving such a reception, as 59 cameras clicked away.

 This is how you get unusual photographs!
The elusive Andrew Clark up the hill (JN)
Watching you watching Lochinvar
Andrew’s better side!  (JN)

Lochinvar departed and so did we. The snow started to drift downwards again as the buses crawled their way up Glen Chalmadale. Next stop was the Arran Brewery where a guided tour and tasting session had been organised for those of an ale-swilling disposition.  

 Snowy hillside from the bus (CM)
CRSC cruise conveners of the past 50 years:
Neil Guthrie, John Newth, Eric Schofield and Ian McCrorie (AC) 
I decided to walk into Brodick and duly set off. After a few hundred yards I had the distinct feeling that I was being followed. Glancing over my shoulder I discovered a posse of former ‘cruise-convenors’ had come up with the same idea. The only logical conclusion from this is that those who organise  cruises  don’t like beer.  So we set off for Brodick. On the way one of our party stopped to ask some workmen labouring over a house renovation if they could recommend anywhere in Brodick for a coffee.  “Wrong island, pal, we’re from Barra. But there’s a great place in Castlebay.”  A welcoming coffee-shop was located and before we could say tall skinny latte our ship was on her final approach to Brodick pier. Hebrides looked a fine sight as she glided purposefully onto her berth. 

 Hebrides arrives back at Brodick (NC)
 Hebrides berthed at Brodick (RP)
Return journey:
Roy Paterson, Davie Wright and Eila Handyside (AC) 

Our day was all but over – just time for Andrew Clark to click off another batch of photographs, from as lofty a position as he could find without actually climbing up the funnel. This ensured that the day would be well recorded.

 Homeward bound: David Scott, Robert Cleary,
John Beveridge, Eric Schofield, Angus Ross,
Graeme Hogg, Norman Crawford (AC)
A last look at Arran as we head home (CM)
A gentle passage in the dimming light ended our trip. This was another great day out for the Club and those who came along for another New Year excursion experience.  All thanks are due to Neil for organising such an interesting and full day. Many of us had been concerned by the Rikki Fulton forecast during the days leading up to our trip. But ‘fortune favours the brave’ and we were well rewarded. I am sure the Kinloch Hotel staff were also very relieved that we turned up –  there would have been an awful lot of steak-pie for those waitresses to eat otherwise. As for my tripod?  I’ll just have to go back next week and do it all again!

Journey’s end: Hebrides at Ardrossan (AC)    Journey’s end: Hebrides at Ardrossan (RP)