On the Spot — Derek Crawford

Duchess of Hamilton, pictured in Kilbrannan Sound on 31 August 1965, was ‘fast, sleek and a joy to watch’. Copyright Lawrence Macduff Collection

Derek Crawford has been a member of CRSC for many years and is a contributor to several publications, including the Club magazine, Clyde Steamers. Stuart Craig caught up with him aboard Waverley recently and invited him to answer a few pertinent questions as the latest subject of our ‘On the Spot’ series.

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

Sitting on my uncle’s knee and seeing red everywhere I looked. We were on Saint Columba on the way to Ardrishaig in, I think, 1956. Oh to have really known that vessel well.

Earliest memory: Saint Columba on a breezy day leaving Rothesay for Ardrishaig. Copyright CRSC

What was the most recent sailing you took?

On Balmoral to Lochranza and Campbeltown on Thursday 21 September, part of her 2017 September weekend programme on the Clyde.

Holidays: Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran?

I’ve always lived on the Clyde coast so the only actual holiday there that I have had was to Rothesay.

What is your favourite steamer?

Duchess of Hamilton without a doubt. Fast, sleek and a joy to watch.

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

CalMac colours. She looked magnificent with the red funnels.

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

Maid of Argyll. Hard worked, yet always very efficient and turned out smartly.

Derek Crawford

Jeanie Deans or Waverley?

Waverley. Jeanie Deans always struck me as ponderous and not so good looking as her younger consort.

If a new turbine was built on the Clyde, what would you name her?

It would have to be Duchess of Hamilton of course!

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

Purpose-built vessels on the Gourock to Dunoon route capable of dealing with the Clyde in winter. Also a replacement at Tarbert for Isle of Cumbrae – a fine vessel but now past her best.

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

Castlebay to Oban. The scenery is magnificent.

Which pier would you like to see re-open?

Gourock! Seriously though, it would be Millport Old, I think, to boost Waverley’s traffic, which to my eyes has greatly diminished since they were forced to use Keppel Pier.

Save this pier: Waverley at Millport Old Pier on 26 July 2012. Copyright Andrew Clark

What direction would you like to see CRSC take in the next few years?

I am not the person to ask, as I don’t get seriously involved with the Club, but probably ‘steady as she goes’.

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

More publications. It’s the main benefit for the bulk of members. Perhaps also catalogues of the various holdings of the Club so that ordinary members can make better use of the various Club collections.

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

For the publications, particularly the Magazine.

What could the Club do better?

Perhaps finding ways to attract new young members. Without them the Club has no future.

Past her best? This evocative portrait of Isle of Cumbrae shows her at Largs shortly after she entered service in 1977, flying a joint CSP/MacBrayne house flag that was issued to CalMac vessels in the 1970s. Copyright CRSC John Innes Collection

Derek Crawford (right) with fellow enthusiast Stuart Cameron on Waverley on 17 August 2017. Copyright CRSC

‘She looked magnificent with red funnels’: Waverley in 1973. Copyright CRSC Peter Knight Collection

On the Spot: Robin Urie

On the Spot: Lawrence Macduff

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