Classics from the Archive (2)

Columba at speed c1984. One of three pioneering MacBrayne car ferries financed and initially owned by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Columba was built by Hall, Russell of Aberdeen in 1964 and spent her early years on the Oban-Craignure-Lochaline run, before moving to the Mallaig-Armadale crossing in 1973-74. After the withdrawal of King George V at the end of the 1974 summer, Columba returned to Oban to give excursions to Iona and service runs to Coll, Tiree and Colonsay, all of which were marketed as a three-day cruise package for tourists, utilising the vessel’s overnight cabins. Columba was sold in 1988 and remodelled as Hebridean Princess, a luxury cruise ship. She remains a familiar sight in west coast waters — still powered by her original Crossley diesels

This occasional series of photographic delights from the CRSC Digital Archive is designed on one hand to brighten spirits during the current health crisis, and on the other to give exposure to CRSC’s rich repository of images from the past 150 years.

Like the first post in the series, this second one is open for everyone to enjoy. The remainder of the series will be ‘Members Only’ — available exclusively to those who have paid the annual subscription that keeps CRSC going and covers the cost of this website.

You can join CRSC here for £10 and enjoy all the benefits, including two new publications — the 2020 edition of Clyde Steamers, the Club’s 54-page colour magazine, and Review 2018, a detailed and lavishly illustrated record of all ferry activity in the west of Scotland during that year. These highly prized publications, packed with fascinating information and pictures, are sent free of charge to paid-up members and are not available on the open market.

The four images in ‘Classics from the Archive (2)’ come from the Leslie Clelland and John Smith Collections.

The next extract from the CRSC Digital Archive will include a much larger number of images — including previously unpublished colour photos of King George V off Staffa (with red ferryboat), the 1978 Claymore at Tiree, the CalMac car ferry Caledonia approaching Craignure pier, Iona with Sound of Gigha at Port Askaig, Pioneer at Ardrishaig and Brodick, DEPV Talisman off Gourock (lovely shot!) — and more…..

Arran at Port Ellen in 1973. Built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1953, she was the first purpose-built Clyde car ferry, with a hoist (car lift) and side-loading ramps that enabled her to use existing piers. She became a MacBrayne vessel in 1970, succeeding the crane-loading Lochiel on the Islay run. Chastened by the success of Western Ferries, the Scottish Transport Group saw Arran as a short-term fix for its Islay problems, switching her from the Clyde in order to take account of the rapidly increasing volume of vehicle traffic on the run. As a result of a truce between the STG and Western Ferries in 1972, the state operator decided to withdraw its Islay service, but objections from islanders resulted in Arran’s retention. Early in 1973 she was converted to end-loading, with all her aft superstructure removed and a ‘fireman’s helmet’ cowl added to her funnel. In this form, pictured above, she ran between West Loch Tarbert and Port Ellen until Pioneer’s arrival in 1974

Juno approaching Gourock c1978. Built by Lamonts at Port Glasgow in 1974, Juno was one of the fast-turn-around ‘streakers’ that speeded up CalMac’s Gourock-Dunoon service. By the time of her debut, a link span had been installed at STG-owned Gourock Pier, but Juno (like her sister Jupiter) was built with additional side-loading ramps for Dunoon Pier, whose owner, Argyll County Council, had not yet subscribed to the roll-on/roll-off revolution. Juno was broken up in 2011

Morvern, second of the ‘Island’ class of bow-loading ferries, is captured here in hardworking mode on her approach to the Iona slipway c1985. Built at Lamonts in 1973, she inaugurated the Fishnish-Lochaline route on 1 May that year and the Oban-Lismore car ferry service in October. Like the seven other members of the ‘Island’ class, Morvern has enjoyed a flourishing late career in Ireland. She alone has been lengthened by her new owners


One Thousand and One Gems from the CRSC Archive: Sou’West Steamers

One Thousand and One Gems from the CRSC Archive: MV Glen Sannox

One Thousand and One Gems from the CRSC Archive: MacBrayne’s Steamers

Treasures from the John Goss Collection (1)

Fab photo donations for benefit of CRSC members

Highlights of 2019 captured on CRSC media

Join CRSC here to stimulate your shipping interest during the current layoff.

Published on 29 March 2020