by Mike MacKenzie

After the Tall Ships left the Clyde on 2nd August, WAVERLEY settled back into the normal weekly routine.  Tuesdays from Ayr to Millport, Largs, Rothesay, Tighnabruaich and Tarbert with a Loch Fyne cruise which may include such variations as cruising inside Eilian Glas or close viewing of the impressive civil engineering works on the Knapdale coast following the landslips which damaged the main road in recent years.  Wednesdays from Ayr to Brodick and Campbeltown with a cruise viewing the S.E. Kintyre coast and round the Sanda Islands.  (Wednesday evening sees a light positioning move from Ayr to Greenock.)  Thursdays from Greenock to Helensburgh, Dunoon, Rothesay, Largs, Millport and Brodick, then past Holy Isle (usually viewing one side on the outward trip and the other side on the return) with a cruise to Pladda.  Fridays, normally a relatively short day, from Glasgow to Kilkreggan, Dunoon and Rothesay, but sometimes followed by an evening cruise with extra entertainment.  Saturdays from Glasgow to Greenock, Helensburgh, Dunoon and Rothesay to Tighnabruaich. 

On 14th August we escorted the cruise liner Splendour of the Seas in the evening from Greenock for a short distance.  The liner, about  the size of the QE2, is not exactly elegant but is definitely impressive under way and there were the usual photo-opportunities and exchanges of greetings before we returned up-river. (At least the visbility for this was much better than on 20th July when we escorted the QE2 in the mist.)  Sundays from Glasgow to Greenock, Largs, Rothesay and Dunoon with a cruise in Loch Long and Loch Goil, turning off Carrick Castle.  Mondays from Glasgow to Largs, Ayr and Girvan with views of the Ayrshire coast and a cruise round Ailsa Craig, with passengers returned by coach from Ayr to Girvan, Largs and Glasgow in the evening.  We have also had some days when children travel free and of course the Teddy Bear and Pirates days with prizes for the children.

Since the visit of the Tall Ships we have continued to have pretty good weather, in spite of many gloomy weather forecasts, and most days have turned out to be mainly fine and sunny with only occasional short and light showers and with fresh breezes which have been occasionally chilly. Passenger numbers have been fairly good but not outstanding, perhaps because of the discouraging weather forecasts, but those who have turned up seem to have enjoyed their cruises.  On the other hand the resorts have not exactly been thronged with holidaymakers either.

From time to time we have observed various maintenance jobs in progress, for example the replacement of damaged metalwork on one of the aluminium gangways, replacement of rotten wood on a landing platform edge (with the noisy metalwork capping replacement done overnight), a new gangway step (a bit lighter than the previous ones), some emergency caulking for a troublesome leak in the deck, eye-splicing on a new mooring rope, replacing worn heaving lines, and sundry painting jobs which have been done, usually overnight, often to disguise troublesome rust spots.

The on-board Catering operation is probably much bigger and more complicated than the average passenger realises and is a credit to the hard work and good teamwork of all those involved in it.  The impression of hard work and good teamwork applies equally in other departments and observant passengers will notice and appreciate this.  Many days have long hours and in some instances the need to allow staff to have leave means extra work for those remaining on duty, but the good humour is maintained and that is good to see.

We have had the Welsh flag at the Jack Staff again in recent days with Steve Colledge and Luke Davies temporarily replacing Graeme Gellatly and Iain Jamieson.  Jim McFadzean will have some assistance from Scott Adams and Walter Bowie which will allow him to have a brief period of leave also before WAVERLEY leaves the Clyde.

Still to come we have one more week of the regular schedule, but on Saturday 28th August WAVERLEY will remain at Dunoon from 17.20 till 20.00 on the return trip to allow those ashore to see something of the final parade of the bands at the Cowal Highland Games.

WAVERLEY’s last Clyde sailing for the year on Monday 30th August will be from Glasgow but otherwise is to be like a normal Thursday sailing schedule, though it is bound to be a special occasion .  After that we can look forward to a few days with BALMORAL at the end of September.  … and after that we hope that the refit will be completed in time …

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