On the Spot: David Scott

David Scott’s favourite steamer: Talisman leaving Largs for Millport in 1965. Copyright CRSC J.T.A. Brown Collection

David Scott is the latest subject of our On the Spot’ series. David was President of the Club during the 2001-02 session and never misses a CRSC meeting. He is also a regular face on excursions. Here he gives very frank replies to our series of questions.

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

David ScottOne of my earliest memories is of sailing on Duchess of Fife from Wemyss Bay bound for Millport. I remember sitting on the after deck of the ‘Duchess’ looking at a collection of steamer postcards, which my mother had bought for me at the bookstall in Wemyss Bay station, when a gentleman sitting next to me told me to cover up the steamer names and he would identify them. He got them all correct: I was impressed and I believe that started my interest in steamer recognition. That must have been post 1948 as the postcard of Talisman was the ‘doctored’ Valentine’s one showing her in pre-war condition with a BR funnel!

What was the last sailing you took?

My last sailing was on 15 November 2017 on board Maid of Glencoul from Ardgour to Nether Lochaber. I was with Eric Schofield and we were on our way back from an expedition to Lochboisdale from Uig on board Hebrides with Angus Ross.

Holidays: Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran?

I have never holidayed at Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran, though I have worked in the two former, and camped in Glen Rosa one Glasgow Fair weekend with fellow post graduate students. No — childhood holidays were usually in Millport, much of my time being spent cycling between the Old Pier and Keppel Pier to watch the arrival and departure of the steamers.

What is your favourite steamer?

My favourite steamer was always the Millport steamer. Firstly, Duchess of Fife, then briefly Marchioness of Lorne, and finally Talisman. I was pleasantly surprised to see Talisman in 1954 as she looked much better than she did in my Valentine’s postcard.  Since her demise I haven’t adopted a favourite — I liked them all!

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

I think the four post-war LNER steamers looked best in the old NB colours — the red, white and black funnel colours really set them off to advantage.

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

Maid of Skelmorlie and Maid of Argyll were my favourite ‘Maids’ and I’m glad I was able to sail on both after they were ‘sold foreign’.

Duchess of Fife leaving Rothesay June 1921 (Alasdair Young)

Duchess of Fife leaving Rothesay in June 1921. David remembers seeing this scene in full colour in the early 1950s. Copyright CRSC Alasdair Young Collection

Jeanie Deans or Waverley?

No contest — Jeanie Deans!

A new turbine has been built on the Clyde. What would you name her?

Possibly Atalanta. I never knew the G&SW’s Atalanta but, from photographs and models I have seen, I wish I had sailed on her.

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

A more reliable Gourock-Dunoon and Gourock-Kilcreggan service and the re-introduction of the Gourock-Helensburgh service.

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

Probably the Berneray-Leverburgh sailing, with its zig-zag route following the marker poles.

Apart from Millport, which pier would you like to see re-open?


What inspired you to join CRSC?

A chance meeting with Eric Schofield on the King George V bridge in Glasgow. We had both gone there to photograph the returning steamers and Eric told me about the Club. We have been friends ever since.

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

Allan Sheerin’s painting of Atalanta

How about publishing a second edition of ‘The Caledonian Steam Packet Company Ltd’ by Iain MacArthur, updated to the formation of Caledonian MacBrayne. I feel it is sad that this excellent publication finishes before the demise of the CSP name.

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

The fellowship of meeting with like-minded people and, of course, the excellent Club magazine.

What could the Club do better?

I would like to see the Reviews catching up.

David Scott and Angus Ross on Hebrides at Uig before departure for Lochboisdale in November 2017. Copyright Eric Schofield

David Scott (right) with fellow CRSC members Ian Hall (left) and Graeme Dunlop (centre) in January 2010, after the Club presented Graeme with a framed portrait of MV Iona in recognition of his long service as Manager of the Club Shop and Photo Sales. Copyright CRSC

‘I wish I had sailed on her’: Atalanta entering Rothesay Bay. Copyright CRSC Richard Orr Collection

Previously ‘On the Spot’:

Robin Urie

Lawrence Macduff

Iain Dewar

Derek Crawford

Cameron Shaw

Graeme Dunlop

Andrew Anderson

Barbara Craig

Terry Sylvester

Paul Semple

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