(Words by Gavin Stewart. Photographs by Alistair Black)
I think it would be fair to say that Balmoral has visited a good few unusual places during her 20+ years under the Waverley Steam Navigation flag. One such place was Gourock – headquarters of Caledonian Macbrayne – former owners of her fleetmate Waverley.
After completing her September weekend programme of sailings Balmoral had remained alongside Customhouse Quay, Greenock until yesterday (Wednesday) when she moved to Gourock presumably to free the Greenock berth for Northern Lighthouse vessel Pharos – which is now alongside.
The photos below show Balmoral with Dunoon – Gourock ferry MV Jupiter (built Port Glasgow 1974) moored astern of her and another view of her alongside last night.
Balmoral has now left Gourock and is at Waverley’s berth at Glasgow Science Centre. She is due to undertake special sailings to view QE2 as the Clydebuilt liner makes her way up the West Coast of the UK visiting ports as part of her farewell cruise. Balmoral will leave Greenock CHQ at 0930 on Sunday 5th October to escort the famous liner up river to her berth at Greenock Ocean Terminal. There is an afternoon cruise to view QE2 leaving Glasgow at 1400 returning at 1800. Balmoral will depart Glasgow at 1930 bound for Greenock (arr 2100) to escort QE2 down the river of her birth for the very last time – returning to Greenock at 2330.
After de-storing etc. Balmoral will then leave Greenock for the light sailing to her home port of Bristol for winter layup.
[signature name=”Gavin Stewart”]