Sunday Special to Loch Fyne
Words and pictures by Stuart Cameron
Waverley's special springtime programme continued on Sunday 29th April with a sailing from Greenock, Helensburgh, Dunoon and Largs to Rothesay and through the far famed Kyles of Bute to Tarbert in Loch Fyne.
Waverley's first arrival at Rothesay coincided with an unusual changeover of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries Juno and Pioneer and for a short period all three ships were moving off the face of the pier simultaneously - almost like the 'old days'.
Juno vacated the ferry berth to let Pioneer in then Pioneer departed close behind Waverley with Juno moving back into the berth 1A.
Back through the wider Narrows of the Kyles the clear skies accentuated the natural beauty of
Loch Riddon and the little Caladh harbour in the confluence of the Kyles and loch. Passing Tighnabruaich pier without stopping on this occasion Waverley held close into the Cowal shore giving a close look at the remains of the former steamer pier at Auchenlochan with the imposing white building of the Royal Hotel beyond.
Auchenlochan was Waverley's Kyles of Bute calling place in 1947-48 after which she switched to Tighnabruaich and the former pier structure fell into disrepair. The course gave a close look at the third Kyles village - Kames - which also boasted a steamer pier at one time.
On rounding Ardlamont Point Waverley held a westerly course over the mouth of Loch Fyne until she was close to the shore which she followed north to Tarbert for her second call of the year. At the pier use was made of the
new metal gangway steps which are painted black with the ship's name and port (Waverley - Glasgow) in gold lettering.
Waverley rested for 100 minutes at Tarbert whilst bo'sun Tommy Reilly was hoisted up the foremast to effect some maintenance on the navigation light then Chief Officer Ian Jamieson sprung the vessel forward and rang down to sweep the vessel off the pier in a long aft moving arc course to the east and north.
Just over 90 minutes later Waverley swept into berth 3 at Rothesay ahead of the small RMAS tender Clupea, which occupied the old berth 2. Ahead of schedule Waverley waited for time at Rothesay then swept off round the bay a little slower than normal as a Royal Navy minesweeper (M111) was at the large naval buoy in the bay and signal flags indicated that divers were working from the vessel. Observing an old British naval tradition Capt Gellatly sent a member of the deck crew aft to dip Waverley's Red Ensign in deference to the Senior Service vessel. It seems that the Officer of the Watch on the Naval craft may not have been expecting the respectful signal and there was a short delay until a naval rating was despatched aft to dip her White Ensign in courteous response.
Back at Largs Waverley swung round to berth 'starboard side to' before continuing her course to Dunoon.
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