Monday, 25 January 2016

Ferries to Rothesay

MV Argyle   GJC_017492

As a young teenager, I was taken for five summer holidays by my parents to a location on The Firth of Clyde.

Rear deck view  GJC_017573

It influenced my love of boats, the west coast of Scotland and inspired my sense of adventure to travel further north in later years.

MV Jupiter   GJC_IMG_6284

One of the sights that became very familiar to me during those times were the classic shapes of three Caledonian MacBrayne ferries travelling between Gourock, Dunoon and Rothesay. These boats represented an advancement in travel back in the mid 1970's with significant improvement to travel and turnaround times. For that reason, the MV Jupiter, Juno and Saturn were known as The Clyde Streakers and because of their longevity by Calmac standards had something of a cult following. Generally the Jupiter and Juno worked the Gourock to Dunoon route with the Saturn covering the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay route. The former two would cover additional relief duties during the summer until the introduction of The MV Bute and MV Argyle. Unfortunately, a series of political measures that included the cost to maintain Dunoon Pier meant that all three were retired from service by 2011. The Jupiter and Juno were scrapped in Denmark and Rosneath (Gare Loch) while the Saturn was given a new lease of life named as MV Orcadia with Pentland Ferries off the North coast of Scotland.

MV Bute   GJC_017458

The MV Bute and MV Argyle were built in Gdansk, Poland at a cost of £8.5 million and £9 million respectively.

Sunshine on board  GJC_017569

These vessels were specifically ordered to run on the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay route.

Empty Seats  GJC_017572

MV Bute commenced service in August 2005 about a month after arriving in The Firth of Clyde.

Nearing Rothesay  GJC_017487

The MV Argyle was launched in September 2006 and later commenced service in May 2007 as a result of modifications carried out based on the experiences with MV Bute.

Bridge seats  GJC_017373

Technical data of both ferries ...
  • 2612 tonnes
  • 72 m length x 15.3 m width
  • speed 14 knots
  • 450 passengers
  • 60 cars capacity
Seats shadows  GJC_017381

Seat Shadows

Clyde Ferry Wash  GJC_017383

It was interesting to note that due to the design of the propellers on both ferries it was harder to dock at piers and caused delays in the first season of service. It was ironic that the predecessors and more manoeuvrable MV Juno and Saturn were brought back to maintain the service in 2007, during modifications to Rothesay Pier.
However the MV Argyle had modifications to the vehicle ramp as a result of lessons learnt from the MV Bute.

Lounge  GJC_017391

Other differences between the two sister ferries include a second lift from the car deck and a larger passenger lounge on the later ship.

Arriving at Wemyss Bay  GJC_017567

Arriving and departing from Wemyss Bay

Window view  GJC_017553

 Rothesay Bay from a lounge window.

Passing Ships  GJC_017556

Passing ships

Kiosk  GJC_017393

 On board shop

And finally, an ambulance hopefully not in an emergency during the 35 minute crossing time ...

Emergency Ambulance  GJC_017376


  1. Some beautiful scenery on this ferry. In all my travels I can say I haven't traveled on one!

  2. And to think that my summer holidays as a kid included a mere drive to a lake in northern Minnesota! Yes, I can definitely see the great influence of those holidays you spent with your parents, J, messing about in boats. I love the shadow and wake photos especially, and was surprised at the large capacity for cars and passengers. These ferries look much smaller on my Kindle. ;-) Have a great weekend.

  3. Wonderful shots (as usual!), J. I can't help thinking that it's very sad that Calmac, which I assume is as Scottish as a dreich day, has to purchase ships built in Poland rather than from just down the road (or river) at Clydebank.

  4. Wonderful shots (as usual!), J. I can't help thinking that it's very sad that Calmac, which I assume is as Scottish as a dreich day, has to purchase ships built in Poland rather than from just down the road (or river) at Clydebank.

  5. I have always loved ferries.... Having been born on the IOW and spending my early years on the Island I travelled on them quite a lot.... In those days the IOW ferries were mainly paddle steamers sadly now long gone.....

    The only times that I have travelled on CalMac has been over to the Isle of Arran to visit a friend a few times over the past twenty odd years......

  6. Very interesting information about the ferries and a lovely sequence of photo documentation.

  7. I've decided to start blogging again, and it's great to see your post after such a long time. It's sueprb - I wish I could be there!

  8. Hmm. I thought you were on Instagram. :-(


Related Posts with Thumbnails