Photo of the month: October 2019

This dramatic portrait of Isle of Arran in Campbeltown Loch on 29 September 2019 (viewed from the shingle bank running out to Davaar Island) profiles the ferry against the skyline of the Kintyre port, with the distinctive landmark of Longrow Church tower on the right

Unlike most excursionists on the final Ardrossan-Campbeltown return sailing of 2019, CRSC member Greg Beecroft bought a single ticket for himself and his car on the outward voyage, and then seized the opportunity to capture Isle of Arran sweeping out of the loch on her departure from the Kintyre port. Greg here describes the circumstances that gave rise to this special moment.

With Waverley out of service, Isle of Arran’s Sunday trip to Campbeltown was the best Clyde cruising opportunity in 2019. A fair number of CRSC members turned out for the last sailing of the season, on 29 September.  

Isle of Arran heads back towards Ardrossan, with the hills of Arran forming a spectacular backdrop

Strictly speaking, it is not possible to get a photograph of Isle of Arran at Campbeltown if you are on the cruise, though some have managed a quick dash onto the quay for a picture of the ship looming above them. On occasions when Waverley makes a Sunday trip to Campbeltown, timings usually allow photographs of Isle of Arran arriving, but Waverley departs immediately behind her.

Conditions on 29 September gave a reasonable chance of a photograph of Isle of Arran leaving Campbeltown, with the town in the background behind the ship. The weather forecast was fine but with light cloud, so one would not be taking a photograph directly into the sun, and it was low tide in the afternoon. That meant it would be possible to walk out onto the Doirlinn, the shingle bank that links Davaar Island with the mainland, for the best view.

Accordingly, I booked a single from Ardrossan, with my car. There were not many vehicles on the outward trip, and just as well. Isle of Arran’s bow ramp was out of use, so it was stern loading and unloading, requiring all cars to turn on the vehicle deck. Arrival at Campbeltown was slightly early, so there was plenty of time to drive down to the fuel depot and walk to the navigation tower on the Doirlinn. I was not surprised to find that it was not possible to get onto the tower.  The metal ladder is severely corroded, with several consecutive rungs missing.

As Isle of Arran departed she was initially heading straight towards my vantage point, but turned at just the right moment to get a good shot, including the tower of Longrow Church, a distinctive Campbeltown landmark.

It was then a 150-mile drive home, but with little traffic on the roads, and daylight as far as Inveraray. And it was possible to get a shot of Hebridean Isles leaving Kennacraig.

Hebridean Isles departs Kennacraig on 29 September 2019, captured by Greg Beecroft on his drive home from Campbeltown

On a previous visit to Campbeltown Greg Beecroft photographed Saga Pearl II in the harbour. The occasion was the ship’s visit on 16 September 2015

Published on 7 October 2019