Friday, October 22, 2010
How sweet is the Clyde?
It was time to be back on the water but to begin with, our hulls stayed dry.
We took the ferry crossing to the Cowal peninsula on the west side of the Firth of Clyde. This is Western Ferries' MV Sound of Scarba which runs from McInroys Point to Hunter's Quay. If you plan to use this crossing, you can get discount tickets in Paul's Food and Wine shop at 94, Shore St, Gourock. A return ticket for car and driver is £27.20 if bought on the ferry or £15 bought in Paul's! If you are travelling from the Cowal side you can get the same discount tickets at Sandbank General Store and Post Office.
It was a great morning to be out on the Clyde with views in every direction. As the MV Scarba motored out of McInroys Point at 7am, we passed the MV Nordstrand at anchor. She is an 88.3m grain carrier and was waiting for high tide to make her way up to Glasgow. In the distance, the mouth of Loch Long leads into the Argyll mountains.
A few moments later, the Calmac ferry, MV Saturn, passed on her way from Dunoon to Gourock.
The view to the south showed the Cloch lighthouse and the distant hills of Arran above Bute. MV Aasli, a bulk carrier was making her way up the Clyde with a cargo of granite aggregate from Glen Sanda.
Straight ahead, the houses of Hunter's Quay and Strone flanked the entrance to the Holy Loch.
As we crossed into the middle of the Clyde we saw the Inverkip power station chimney behind the Cloch lighthouse and the steep slopes of Little Cumbrae island on the horizon.
Looking back up the Clyde, past the MV Nordstar, we could see the Maersk Line ship, SeaLand Performance at anchor off Greenock. She was being readied for sea after having spent the recession laid up in Loch Striven for nearly a year. She was finally towed out of Loch Striven on 21st May 2010. Just behind the SL Performance, you can see the capsized hull of the MV Captayannis, which was wrecked here in a storm in 1974. She is known locally as "the sugar boat" and is a popular sea kayaking destination. Her full cargo of sugar soon dissolved in the murky waters of the Clyde.