Sailing Doon the Clyde.

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Sailing Doon the Clyde.

Postby Dugald » Thu May 24, 2007 11:19 am

Sailing Doon the Clyde.

Crossing the Clyde by ferry was an important part of earlier life in Glasgow, but the Clyde, was also the source of another of Glasgow's many enjoyable features. For many years I sailed down the Clyde on my way to holiday in Campbeltown, Argyll. Back in the early 'thirties Campbeltown was served by a daily sailing to and from the Broomielaw by the old steamers, Davaar and Dalriada, and I can still capture the joy and excitement of getting on a tramcar in Govan and going up to the Broomielaw for the steamer. In my young years I rated this sail down the Clyde as a very exciting experience.

I sailed up and down the Clyde to and from the Broomielaw in more recent years on many other steamers. I remember for example, the days when the Queen Mary II, a lovely looking "steamer", plied regularly on the Clyde. In 1963 I sailed down the Clyde on her and through the beautiful Kyles of Bute with a stopover in Rothesay , then back to the Broomielaw, and I sailed on her many times to and from Campbeltown. I still have a great picture of this steamer hanging in my house, taken from the quay at Campbeltown.

Back in these times kids weren't allowed to run around the bar lounge on the steamers and it was common practice, and a standing joke in Glasgow, for parents to take their kids down to look at the engines and leave them standing mesmerized watching the engines while the parents visited the lounge. Back in the 60's my father lived in Glasgow and we took him on the Duchess of Hamilton on a sail from Fairlie to Campbeltown. After the boat left Fairlie I said to my father, "Come on Pop, there's something on this boat I've always wanted to show you."... I took him down to the engines and said to him, "Now Pop, would you show your grandkids these bloody engines, and if you need us, you'll find us up in the lounge!".

As a boy I had a great passion for these Clyde steamers and at the height of the summer I spent a lot of time standing on the Govan pier at the foot of Holm Street watching the boats dock and let some passengers off. Only a few of the steamers stopped at the Govan pier, and only during the summer, but I still found it thrilling to see all the other passenger boats sailing to and fro. There were Burns Laird boats (never called them "steamers") sailing to or from Northern Ireland, as well as the Campbeltown steamers, which did "daily" sailings and were easily identified; most of the time one was unaware where the boats had come from or where they were going to.

It was quite a thrill too, sailing through Govan and seeing the other side of the shipyards with their skeletons of ships and all the hustle and bustle involved in their building. I use "other side" because as a resident of Govan I'd long been familiar with the front of the yards bordering on the Govan Road. The hammering of the riveters' hammers was the background noise with which I was brought up in Govan.

Despite living in Govan, I only ever saw two launchings. The first time was about 1940(?) during the Second World War when, from the Govan horse-ferry, I saw a battleship being launched from Fairfields'. At the time the ship's name was the Beatty, but this was changed to the Anson or Howe, after leaving the Clyde. I saw this ship sailing, multi-tug-assisted, past Linthouse later in the war (Doonunda posted an excellent picture of this occasion on the "Bombs over Glasgow" thread).

The second launching I saw was a 35,000 ton oil-tanker built by Harland and Wolff's at Govan Cross. This was at the end of 1959 (or beginning of '60) and I was in Glasgow on holiday. I heard about the launching and took my wife across the Clyde on the Govan ferry, and from the Partick side we had a perfect view of the launching. I recall speaking to one of the yard workers while going back over to Govan, and he told me that there wouldn't be many more ships getting launched from the Harland's Govan yard. He was right.

In more recent years I have been a passenger on the Waverley many times. Strange though, I never quite took to this paddle-steamer at all. I see her as a tourist gimmick; oh, a bit of an impostor, not really a Clyde steamer, not a boat that had to race the Duchess of Hamilton or the St Columba for a berthing space at Dunoon on Fair Saturday. Perhaps, for me, the Waverley is symbolic of the demise of the Clyde steamers' scheduled passenger sailings, that was once an important part of the Glasgow scene.
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Postby govanboay » Thu May 24, 2007 12:29 pm

Thanks for those lovely memories. I'm jealous of your experiences. I grew up in Govan but my impression of the riverside was of decay and inactivity. It's just gonna get worse in the future with all these overpriced flats they're building now.

cheers Dugald.
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Postby dougie79 » Thu May 24, 2007 12:40 pm

I havent been lucky enough to travel any further than that horrid braehead shopping center. My dad and I sailed up from Glasgow city center to Braehead. I cant for the life of me remember the name of the little boat.

I remember sailing up through govan and will never forget the mess and rundown state on both sides of he clyde, not very attractive for visitors to the city.

My dad used to travel on the Waverly when he was younger, think it was up to dunoon then back to Glasgow.

Im trying to get us both a wee trip on the Waverly as a present for my dad for fathers day. Ill need to keep a lookout and see if they are running trips again this summer.
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Postby Dugald » Thu May 24, 2007 11:30 pm

Glad to hear I was able to bring back some lovely memories Govanboay. Last time I was there it was hard to imagine one could ever have had lovely memories about the mess that calls itself Govan today. Govan wasn't only brick, mortar, and cranes; there was a lot more to it than that, and sometimes one had to look at the place from the Clyde side to fathom what else it was about Govan that could generate such fond feelings.
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Postby Graham » Fri May 25, 2007 12:08 am

Thanks for sharing that with us, Dugald. I really enjoyed reading it :D


dougie79 wrote:Im trying to get us both a wee trip on the Waverly as a present for my dad for fathers day. Ill need to keep a lookout and see if they are running trips again this summer.


Dougie, when I was down at the Science Centre taking some pics (just for a change) a week or so back, the workmen were on the Waverly ( :roll: )giving her a spruce up so I would imagine she'll getting put to use this summer
Last edited by Graham on Fri May 25, 2007 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dugald » Fri May 25, 2007 10:33 am

Dougie, Dexter St. Clair posted a site (http://www.clydewaterbusservices.co.uk/) on the "Cross Clyde passenger Ferries" thread, and the name of the boat you can't remember is Pride O' the Clyde. Good luck with your attempt at arranging a trip on the Waverly. The thing I remember about my last trip on the Waverly , about 6 years ago, was the price of everything... I found it quite expensive. Ach, it'll be worth it for you on Fathers' Day!

Yes, there's not much about the "mess and rundown state on both sides of he clyde," to make sailing through Govan very attractive. But who knows, perhaps, like the mythical Phoenix, something better will arise out of that mess that is Govan... and those overpriced flats that Govanboay spoke of will come down in price.
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Postby Dugald » Fri May 25, 2007 10:36 am

Thanks Graham. I'm sure we can look forward to a picture of the Waverly before the summer's through.
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Postby Graham » Fri May 25, 2007 2:39 pm

Dugald wrote:Thanks Graham. I'm sure we can look forward to a picture of the Waverly before the summer's through.


aye okay okay For the site link did you mean clydewaterbusservices.co.uk ? :wink:
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Postby dougie79 » Mon May 28, 2007 4:24 pm

Cheers for the info guys, will start work on planning the trip. Thanks ;-)
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Postby Peekay » Tue May 29, 2007 4:09 pm

Here's a boat you might recognise then Dugald. Sorry about the size of the piccie. I still huvnae figured out how to get the any bigger;

Image

I've got cards of "The Duchess of Hamilton" and "T.S.M.V. Wimaisia" too

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Postby Graham » Tue May 29, 2007 4:25 pm

Peekay wrote: I still huvnae figured out how to get it any bigger;

PK



on second thoughts I'm not saying anything :twisted:
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Postby tobester » Tue May 29, 2007 4:29 pm

Peekay wrote: I still huvnae figured out how to get the any bigger;





If you check on eBay, im sure youll get something to do that particular job

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Postby Dugald » Tue May 29, 2007 7:54 pm

Peekay wrote:Here's a boat you might recognise then Dugald. Sorry about the size of the piccie. I still huvnae figured out how to get the any bigger;

I've got cards of "The Duchess of Hamilton" and "T.S.M.V. Wimaisia" too
PK


Great picture of the Duchess of Hamilton Peekay. Thanks for posting it. Wasn't she a lovely looking steamer! There's a great painting of the auld "Duchess" behind the bar in the Anchor Inn in Largs.

What's this "T.S.M.V. Wimaisia", never heard of her? I'm sure she wasn't a Clyde steamer... name's a bit too exotic!
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Postby Peekay » Tue May 29, 2007 8:13 pm

Hi Dugald,
I know there was a "Wimaisia Shipping Co." in Glasgow so I assume she must've belonged to them. Apart from that all Google shows up is;

"September 1948; os-1: 2.
......Group from June i4-i8th, 1948. A large number of Members attended and the high spots of the Meeting were the trip in the " Wimaisia " down the Clyde to the Kyles of Bute and the dinner at the Central Hotel. Both functions were greatly enjoyed and, like the......"

But I can't get to read the full pdf without a subsription to occupational phscyciatry, but at least it shows she was a Clyde Vessel.

TSMV Wimasia;
Image

PK

PS- Incase you're wondering like I was "TSMV" means "Twin screw Motor Vessel.
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Postby Peekay » Wed May 30, 2007 11:12 am

Just re-read your post Dugald. That first picture was the T.S Queen Mary II. Here's is the Duchess of Hamilton;

Image

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