On the Spot: Barbara Craig

Barbara Craig on Waverley

For the latest in our ‘On the Spot’ feature, the gentlemen have had to step aside and let one of our lady members take centre stage. Barbara Craig has become a regular face at our meetings and on Club cruises. Here she willingly steps forward to answer Stuart Craig’s probing questions.

What is your earliest memory of sailing on a Clyde steamer?

Until I was 12 our family spent every school holiday at Millport. We lived on the south side of Glasgow on a main road beside traffic lights. Millport had few cars in the late 1940s and 1950s, so my parents obviously felt we were safer and could have more freedom there. Depending on which train we got, we either sailed from Fairlie, Largs or Wemyss Bay. We preferred Wemyss Bay as we had a longer boat ride.

What was the last sailing you took?

Apart from our recent Round Arran sail on Isle of Arran, it was on the Thames in October on board Waverley. Before that it was the sail on Balmoral on 25 September, a very foggy afternoon, when Captain David Howie wisely aborted our Round Bute trip. I really take my hat off to Captain Howie for his skill that day in returning us safely to Largs when visibility was so limited.

Holidays: Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran?


Talisman was a family favourite’. Copyright David Scott

What is your favourite steamer?

Talisman was a family favourite, but I didn’t really have a personal favourite. Now, it has got to be my lovely, precious Waverley.

Which was Waverley’s best livery — LNER, CSP or CalMac?

I love her present livery.

What was your favourite ‘Maid’ (if old enough) or ‘streaker’ (if young enough)?

I didn’t really have a favourite. I thought they were all the same, apart from one having its name in a different position on the hull!

Jeanie Deans or Waverley?

Waverley, as I don’t remember sailing on ‘Jeanie’.

A new turbine has been built on the Clyde: what would you name her?


Barbara Craig with Captain David Howie at Campbeltown during Balmoral‘s visit there on 21 September 2017. Copyright CRSC

What would you like to see happen on the Clyde ferry scene over the next few years?

Keeping as many ships and piers open as possible. I know this depends on people using them, but if we lose any, then they may be lost for ever.

The best point-to-point route you’ve sailed on?

I love the sail to Tighnabruaich. The Narrows get me every time!

Which pier would you like to see re-open?


What inspired you to join CRSC?

My younger brother, Calum Sim, as a young boy, was an ardent member of the Club in the late 1960s. He spent his school holidays sailing all over the Clyde on as many boats as possible. I think he even won a Club competition for how many piers you could visit in a day. I have older brothers too. So I think that, between Millport holidays, the memory of my late young brother and somehow or other, on retirement, helping with winter maintenance on Waverley, and recently on Queen Mary’s restoration, ships have worked their way into my life!

If CRSC had loads of money in the bank, what would you spend it on?

Keeping Waverley alive for future generations to marvel at that wonderful engine, poetry in motion! I would also like to see Maid of the Loch sail again, and QM restored and sitting proudly on the Clyde. It seems such a shame that Glasgow and the Clyde do not make more of a truly amazing shipbuilding heritage.

What makes you continue your membership of the Club, year on year?

I enjoy our winter meetings, our outings and just being a part of it.

What could the Club do better?

You do a good job — just keep it up. I do not know how, but if there was some way of getting young blood involved?

Chief Officer Iain MacKenzie (far left) explains navigational equipment to Barbara Craig (third from left) on the bridge of Isle of Arran during the CRSC charter on 13 January 2018. Copyright CRSC

Best point-to-point route: Waverley in the dogleg channel of the Narrows en route to Tighnabruaich. Copyright CRSC

Favourite steamer — Waverley, of course. Copyright CRSC

Previously ‘On the Spot’:

Robin Urie

Lawrence Macduff

Iain Dewar

Derek Crawford

Cameron Shaw

Graeme Dunlop

Andrew Anderson

Why not join CRSC? It costs just £10 for the first year, and there are many benefits. Click here.