More “Firsts” for MV Balmoral

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More “Firsts” for MV Balmoral

I have already recorded MV Balmoral’s unusual calls on Sunday 28th September 2008 and related the sad story of being taken unawares when she berthed at a different point to that expected, resulting in disappointing photographs of the special occasion.

However, one of the River Clyde’s prolific shipping photographers, John Newth, was in the right place at the right time on the opposite river bank and has very kindly provided several of his photographs of the event for use on the blog.

Balmoral arriving at Clydebank.

Balmoral alongside at Clydebank with the entrance to Rothesay Dock immediately behind her stern and the storage tanks at the dock can be seen in the background.

Balmoral prepares to depart Clydebank – this shot gives some impression of just how little berth frontage Captain O’Brian had to work with when coming alongside. The fence section at right angles to the river came right to the edge and proved a particular challenge.

Balmoral heading off down river past the new Clydebank College Building.

As has already been reported on here, Balmoral moved from Greenock to berth overnight at Gourock on 1st October. Some nightime sleuths captured her there in the dark (already posted)and another intrepid reporter arrived just as she was moving away in the morning. Luckily another of the Clyde’s shipping photographers who lets very little get past him (except three south coast chain ferries – private joke!) was up bright and early and caught Balmoral at Gourock in the daylight.

John Crae has also kindly allowed his photos to be used for the PSPS blog.

Balmoral alongside at Gourock with Jupiter at the linkspan on the Dunoon service/

Balmoral alongside at Gourock.

Sunday 5th October was MV Balmoral’s last operating day of the 2008 season – and what a day she had, compared to others throughout the season. Three full round trips in one day – one from Greenock and two from Glasgow. Over 500 passengers each trip – 1500+ over the day. I am no expert on her sailings and loadings but surely there must some some firsts in there somewhere. All I know is that we had a most enjoyable trip meeting QE2 and escorting her to berth on Sunday morning and her crew are to be congratulated on delivering a great experience to all her passengers on what must have been a really gruelling day for them.

A view on board Balmoral during the morning cruise

Balmoral dashes off from Greenock at the end of her 1st cruise of the day, heading for Glasgow with a few stalwarts on board – some of whom, I think, probably stayed aboard for all three cruises. Dedication, dedication…!

Balmoral is now at her winter lay up berth in Bristol – she may not have had the best of seasons, weatherwise, but her last day in service was one of the best days for sailing for a long, long time.

Many thanks again to John Newth and John Crae for allowing me to use their photographs on the PSPS Blog.

More of John Newth’s photos can be seen at and John Crae’s at

[signature name=”Charles McCrossan”]