March 2014 Meeting – Kyles Kaleidoscope

CRSC honorary secretary Eric Schofield
was in vintage form for his illustrated talk
There was a noticeable ‘start of spring’ atmosphere at the CRSC’s March meeting, reflected not only in a bumper turnout of members and friends but also in the sense of light and life throughout Eric Schofield’s illustrated talk, titled “Kyles Kaleidoscope”. The meeting was also brightened by the presence of Captain Robin Hutchison, former commodore of CalMac’s Clyde fleet, who signed copies of his new book before and after the talk. 

Caledonia In the East Kyle – Tighnabruaich-Rothesay     Jeanie Deans at Tighnabruaich pier
Eric subtitled his presentation ‘my 50 years of cruising in and around the Kyles of Bute’, which he described as the most attractive part of the Firth of Clyde. No one would quarrel with that — especially after viewing his kaleidoscopic array of photographic evidence.
Waverley passing through the Narrows channel
Eric is known in Club circles for the ingenuity with which he seeks out unusual vantage points, a reputation substantially enhanced by this latest selection of pictures. 

 Duchess of Hamilton arriving at Tighnabruaich Pier   Queen Mary II arriving at Tighnabruaich Pier

Covering an area from the “Ard triangle” (Ardyne, Ardbeg, Ardmaleish) at the east end of the Kyles, through the Narrows and on to Ardlamont Point to the west, his talk showed how one beauty spot can be characterised in a multitude of forms and captured from the most unexpected angles — from the top deck of a steamer, from an apparently inaccessible part of the shore, from a remote field, from beneath a pier. Whether from the bird’s eye perspective of ‘the new road’ overlooking the Narrows or a perch next to the Maids of Bute, Eric has long had the knack of being in the right place at the right time — mostly on sunny days, always with camera at the ready.

Portree at Colintraive Slip     Pioneer at Tighnabruaich Pier

His story began with a family holiday in 1950 at Kames: the return journey from Tighnabruaich was on Saint Columba as far as Dunoon, and then by paddler to Craigendoran. In his teens, twenties and thirties, Eric was to be lured back to the Kyles many times, summer and winter, as testified by his vintage 1960s and 1970s photographs.

 Talisman arriving at Tighnabruaich    Cowal leaving Tarbert Pier

Through his lens we viewed the Narrows over the bows of Duchess of Montrose, snow-clad hills from the railings of the 1931 Lochfyne, Tighnabruaich pier from the top deck of the 1934 Caledonia, the primitive old Colintraive ferry Eilean Dhu from the comfort of Queen Mary. From Jeanie Deans to Ali Cat, a succession of ships was recorded at Tighnabruaich pier — not forgetting special outings to Ormidale, Kames cargo pier and (exceptionally, in black and white) an old family shot of Talisman at Auchenlochan in 1935.

 Lochnevis at Tarbert   Lochfyne at Tighnabruaich Pier 
Eric’s love of the January 2 MacBrayne mail run through the Kyles to Tarbert was well documented, and we were treated to superb shots of all five Maids — the fifth being Maid of Bute on the end of Tighnabruaich pier, dwarfed by Caledonia at the main berth.

Maid of Argyll at Tighnabruaich Pier     Maid of Ashton at Tighnabruaich Pier  
Maid of Skelmorlie in Kyles of Bute
on a Queen’s Park Camera Club charter 

 Maid of Cumbrae passing Colintraive 
Maid of Bute and Caledonia

at Tighnabruaich Pier 


Less likely visitors to the Kyles — King George V, Glen Sannox, the 1970 Iona, Sealink’s Southsea, WSN’s Balmoral — made fleeting appearances, and Eric ended with a succession of evocative shots of Waverley steaming round Buttock Point and out of the west Kyle towards the hills of Arran, silhouetted against a panorama of sun, sea and sky. Pointing out that Waverley is now the only passenger ship passing through the Kyles on a regular basis, he posed the question “What would happen if she was no longer running?” 

 King George V and Portree
in Kyles of Bute
Glen Sannox at Inveraray Pier 
 Southsea arriving Largs
Balmoral passing off Rhubodach 

In his vote of thanks, Billy Tomlinson paid tribute not only to the skill with which Eric had caught the Kyles of Bute in every mood and season, but to his four decades of devotion to the CRSC, during which he has served as president, convener of cruises, curator and, since 1993, as a tireless honorary secretary.
Captain Robin Hutchison (second from left) signs his “Top 10 Ships of the Clyde”
for Club member Mike Tedstone (left), with John Whittle and Captain Hutchison’s daughter Kay on the right
The final meeting of the 2013/14 winter session will be the Annual General Meeting of the Club which, due to Easter Holiday dates, will be held on the FOURTH Wednesday of the month on Wednesday 23rd of April at 7:30 pm in Jury’s Inn Hotel in Jamacia Street, Glasgow.  The AGM will be followed by an Audio Visual presentation by Roy Paterson.
Details of all Club meetings can be found on the Club Syllabus
Special thanks are due to Eric who very kindly allowed the use of any images from his presentation for inclusion in this report.