Festive Cruise 2018 Report

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Festive Cruise 2018 Report

Once again, PSPS and the Coastal Cruising Association (CCA) chartered MV Clyde Clipper for an annual festive cruise, this being the 40th year the PSPS has done so.

The itinerary for this year’s cruise included a beautiful winter cruise up to the head of Loch Striven, a brief spell ashore in Rothesay and a sunset cruise back to Victoria Harbour.

Clyde Marine tugs Bruiser, Battler and CMS Warrior berthed in the Victoria Harbour. Allan Smith

“All aboard!” All passengers onboard Clyde Clipper for the 2018 Festive Cruise. Allan Smith

With 112 passengers onboard, the cruise was well sold out in advance and Clyde Clipper set off from Greenock just after 1030 am on Friday 28th December 2018. She departed the Victoria Harbour bound for Loch Striven. As we began our passage down the River Clyde, HMS Enterprise could be seen leaving the Gare Loch outbound. She passed Clyde Clipper quite close, giving passengers excellent views and photo opportunities. As the naval vessel passed Clyde Clipper, HMS Northumberland arrived inbound for the Gare Loch and once again provided some excellent photos.

HMS Enterprise passing Clyde Clipper after exiting the Gare Loch. Allan Smith

HMS Enterprise outbound and HMS Northumberland inbound.Allan Smith

HMS Northumberland passing Clyde Clipper, bound for the Gare Loch. Graeme Phanco

HMS Northumberland with her police escort and her Westland Merlin Helicopter on deck. Allan Smith

While sailing downriver towards Toward point, the cruise was made even more enjoyable for passengers as the skipper offered the opportunity to visit the wheelhouse. Many people took the opportunity and where able to see a little behind the scenes of what goes into navigating and controlling the vessel. We then rounded Toward Point and headed for Loch Striven.

Passing Toward lighthouse. Graeme Phanco

The serving of lunch was delayed so that passengers could enjoy the scenery in Loch Striven from the upper deck. At this time of year the sun shines almost directly up the loch. Clyde Clipper came in close to Berry’s Pier at Glenstriven estate. This was rebuilt using components from the former Innellan pier. We got as far up the loch as it is possible to navigate, pausing off Craigendive before returning south. The trip was well-timed, because as Clyde Clipper headed back and passengers went below for lunch, the sun sank behind the hills on the west side of the loch.

Berry’s Pier at the Glenstriven estate. Graeme Phanco

Former Waverley master Jimmy Addison enjoys the cruise on deck. Graeme Phanco

Leaving the head of Loch Striven. David Shirres

Clyde Clipper followed CalMac’s MV Argyle into Rothesay and allowed for a brief time ashore.

Clyde Clipper rests at Rothesay. Allan Smith

Passengers spend time ashore at Rothesay. Graeme Phanco

Clyde Clipper alongside Rothesay’s West Pier. David Shirres

After a quick walk around Rothesay, passengers returned to the vessel and we set off for Victoria Harbour.

Sweeping out of Rothesay bay. Allan Smith

Passing MV Bute in Rothesay bay. Allan Smith

Homeward bound. David Shirres

On the final stretch back to Greenock, the raffle took place with the sun setting behind us. Prizes included a model of PS Glen Rosa, a framed print of PS Waverley and a range of alcoholic beverages and other prizes.

Clyde Clipper returning to Victoria Harbour. Allan Smith

Safely alongside once again. Allan Smith

With the raffle complete, the vessel returned to Victoria Harbour and completed this year’s annual festive cruise. A good day was had by all with excellent weather and fine views throughout.

Over the past 40 years PSPS has provided a wide variety of festive cruises on several different vessels. In 1979 MV Kenilworth was chartered for a cruise to Carrick Castle. Where will 2019 take us?

PS Jeanie Deans’ bell which has recently been acquired by PSPS. Graeme Phanco