Waverley for Brodick

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

Waverley for Brodick

Waverley’s regular cruise on a Tuesday during the main Clyde summer timetable is from Ayr to Loch Goil via Brodick, Largs, Dunoon and Blairmore. However owing to the construction of the new pier at Brodick she was not able to offer this cruise in 2016 or during July this season. Initially it had been expected that the new pier would have been available from early August but with the exclusion zone around the new pier having been removed Waverley is once again able to use the old pier.

Destination fan boards showing the calling points on the Tuesday Clyde schedule.

Due to the adverse weather conditions on Monday 14th August Waverley was berthed at Largs rather than Ayr on the Monday evening, this meant she started her cruise on Tuesday 15th August from Largs where she departed at 10am for a direct run to Brodick. Due to the position of the new pier the approach Waverley takes when berthing at the old pier is slightly different from that of the past, making the manoeuvre slightly more difficult than it once was. However, Captain Cochrane handled the ship on both calls in his usual effective manner.

Waverley approaches Brodick with her future berth at the new pier in view. The berth that Waverley will use is on the eastern side of the new pier. The ferries will mainly use the western side.

Making her approach to the old pier passing the new pier.

Arriving at the old pier at Brodick.

At Dunoon on the outward journey the wind was sufficiently fresh at the breakwater berth that as soon as Waverley stopped alongside the bow was blown off the berth. This did give the impression that she was fitted with a very effective bow thruster! Captain Cochrane took Waverley round again and she was successfully berthed on the 2nd attempt in time for a heavy shower to descend on the awaiting passengers.

Following departure from Dunoon Waverley made her way to Blairmore where a small passenger exchange took place before she sailed up Loch Long and into Loch Goil.

Approaching Blairmore pier.

Looking astern of Waverley after making her turn in Loch Goil, the Clyde Marine vessel Clyde Clipper is in view. Allan Smith

Waverley arriving back at Blairmore on the return sailing.

The plaques on Blairmore pier in memory of former Waverley directors Dr Joe McKendrick and Ian McMillain. Both men were instrumental in ensuring that Blairmore pier was reopened to allow Waverley to call.

Following departure at Dunoon on the return sailing it was clear for all aboard that the wind strength had not decreased and Captain Cochrane made a detailed broadcast explaining why he was not prepared to take Waverley to Ayr. He explained that with the current and forecast wind conditions in addition to the conditions in Ayr harbour due to the fresh flow of rain water in the River Ayr it would not be suitable for Waverley. This therefore meant that Waverley’s final destination would be Brodick and passengers were informed that they should disembark at Largs unless they were for Brodick. However a few supporters did stay aboard for the return to Brodick and then took the ferry back to the mainland.

Waverley has terminated a cruise once before at Brodick during her preservation career. The previous occasion being in 1990 when the number 1 radius rod in the port paddle wheel fractured off Holy Isle on a Campbeltown to Brodick run. The ship managed to reach Brodick pier but repairs took some time and daylight ran out preventing the steamer from sailing onwards to Ayr with passengers. On that occasion passengers had to spend the night in Brodick before returning to Ayr early the following morning.

After disembarking all her passengers at Brodick Waverley made her way slowly back to Largs as she had to await a berth. The following pictures capture Waverley alongside and then departing Brodick for her light run back to Largs.

Alongside Brodick pier.

Brodick Castle in view as Waverley sweeps round Brodick bay. Allan Smith

An image which will become assigned to history after this season as Waverley sweeps round Brodick Bay passing under Goatfell after departing from the pier. Allan Smith

Having thought that Waverley had already made her final call at the old pier in Brodick last year it now appears that in just over a week on Thursday 24th August she will make her final call at a pier which she has served for almost 70 years.