The best of 2023 on

Isle of Mull in the Firth of Lorn on 10 November 2023. Iain Erskine’s photograph gives a sense of her power and ample capacity

CRSC’s online coverage over the past 12 months has been spectacular, with website posts ranging from a review of the popular television series ‘Island Crossings’, to our valedictory tribute to the late, lamented Waverley purser Jim McFadzean. We had some fabulous ‘Members Only’ posts, including our hotly debated coverage of the catamaran ferry controversy and the video of a Zoom presentation by founder Graham Lappin.

The ‘Members Only’ area of the website is where paid-up CRSC members get exclusive access to all the best photos and videos, including treasures from the Club archive. To view our ‘Members Only’ library, we encourage you to sign up here.

Here is a ‘top ten’ of what we published in 2023: the list may include posts you overlooked or will want to read again. Remember that you will only get the complete picture by browsing through News & Reports. The bold-print titles below give you a link to the relevant post.

‘Lunch with Robbie Drummond’ and ‘An evening with CMAL’. These were mega events in the ship enthusiast’s calendar, giving us a front-row view of the exciting developments that are planned for the west coast ferry network in the next five years. If you weren’t there, you will soon realise what you missed. Within a few days of each other, the CEO of CalMac Ferries Ltd and CMAL’s Director of Vessels gave us privileged insight into behind-the-scenes plans and developments — not just in Gourock, Port Glasgow and across Clyde and Hebridean waters, but also at Cemre in Turkey, where construction of four big ferries is well underway.

CRSC member Andrew Wood captured Hebridean Isles heading confidently down West Loch Tarbert on her return to service after months of uncertainty over her future

Gavin Stewart’s January presentation ‘A Peep  into the Past’ (report + video). This was an entertaining trip down memory lane, evoking fond memories of Clyde scenes that have now vanished from a familiar landscape.

Records Old and New: An article written by our founder, John Wood, for the 1971 edition of ‘Clyde Steamers’. This gave us a fascinating glimpse not only into the glory days of Clyde steamer hopping, but also into the mindset of enthusiasts of the past.

‘Why does every ferry route make a loss except for Western Ferries?’. CRSC marked the 50th anniversary of Western Ferries’ debut on the Clyde by interviewing the company’s chair, Lord Robertson, and managing director, Gordon Ross.

‘It was fan-dab-dozi’: Stuart Craig’s latest Hebridean jaunt. Our Membership Sec tells of derring-do on a ferry holiday with his pals.

The Alfred Experience. Rob Beale recounts his experience of sailing to Arran on the expensively chartered Pentland Ferries catamaran.

CalMac’s unsung heroes. Lawrence Macduff’s history of the fondly remembered ‘Island’ class ferries has now reached the 1980s.

A Complete Photographic diary of Waverley’s Triumphant West Highland Week 23-29 May and Waverley’s summer on the Clyde: an assessment. This pair of beautifully illustrated posts gives an impression of how the paddler fared in her 2023 season on the west of Scotland.

CRSC in the early 60s: springboard to rejuvenation. Read the story of how ‘MacArthur, McCrorie and MacHaffie’ revitalised our Club in the dying days of the traditional Clyde steamer.

Unexpected treasures from the CRSC Collection. So far there have been three posts uncovering the goodies in the Club’s archive, and 2024 will reveal more.


Your regular supply of ‘Ferry News’, our up-to-date, month-by-month coverage of ship movements on the west of Scotland, compiled by John Newth.


And as 2024 draws near….

In case you haven’t already visited our SHOP, we still have a few copies of our delightful 2024 Calendar! Look out for our coverage of MV Isle of Arran’s 40th anniversary and details of our New Year excursion to Arran — and the 2024 edition of our magazine Clyde Steamers, which will be devoted to the theme of…well, all will be revealed in April.

CRSC is an association of friendly enthusiasts united by the quest to ‘meet together, sail together and talk together’, mainly on the west of Scotland — but many members hail from further afield. If you join us, you’ll receive copies of our much-prized west coast shipping Review and annual magazine, as well as access to a huge library of videos and archive photos in the ‘Members Only’ section of this website. We gather for meetings and cruises throughout the year. To join us, click here.

Waverley at Lochranza on 9 July 2023. The paddler featured regularly on throughout the summer

Published on 17 December 2023