Ulster Adventure

Words and pictures by Martin Longhurst

Waverley steamed into a strong breeze on her way north from the Mersey to Campbeltown on Thursday 21 June 2001.   As there was not a berth available, she had to anchor in Campbeltown Loch overnight.

In the morning she was able to come alongside in time to take water, fuel and stores before passenger boarding commenced.


Over 200 passengers joined in the morning for the "international" voyage to Red Bay in Ulster.   There was a flat calm sea and very good visibility across the North Channel.  These are the Sanda Isles near the Mull of Kintyre with a distant view of the conical Ailsa Craig to their right.


Good time was made to the Irish port where large numbers of passengers were exchanged.   100 took the inclusive coach tour to the Bushmills Distillery and the Giants Causeway.



Passengers boarding for the afternoon cruise.  Note the fendering arrangements including the one made on the way from Liverpool to Llandudno.


Leaving Red Bay, Waverley headed west, keeping close to the spectacular coastline.  This was our first view of Rathlin Island to the right of the angular Fair Head.


During the cruise, Tommy Reilly added some more rope work to the hand rails.


Passing Fair Head, the steamer headed to go round the north side of Rathlin Island.   To the north, views were to be had of the Mull of Kintyre, Islay and even Colonsay.

In this view, Fair Head is to the right with the Kintyre Peninsular to the left in the distance. 


Rounding the western tip, she headed east passing inside Church Bay, where the main village and harbour is situated.   Completing the circumnavigation, course was set for Ballycastle, where a close approach was made to the Pier.   Captain John Lees-Moffatt, who commanded the Claymore on the Ballycastle to Campbeltown route, was aboard.    He and Captain Gellatly had taken the motor ship on her last service on this route. 

Back at Red Bay Pier, the intrepid excursionists rejoined the ship for the homeward passage, which was made under blue skies.

The sun was setting as the paddler moved away from Campbeltown for her light passage to Ayr.

The following day, Saturday 23 June 2001, Waverley gave a cruise from Ayr and Girvan round Ailsa Craig.


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