Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dunoon, and her unused new pier

From Hunter's Quay we proceeded down the coast of the Cowal peninsula towards Dunoon. The view to the south was superb with distant views to Ayrshire, the two giant cranes of the Hunterston Ore Terminal, Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae, the distant pyramid of Holy Island just left of the Gantocks rocks light beacon, then Bute and finally the Cowal shore.

As we approached Dunoon, the ferry from Gourock, MV Saturn was edging in to dock at Dunoon pier.

MV Saturn is one of the oldest ferries in the Calmac fleet she was built in 1978 at the now defunct Ailsa Yard at Troon further down the Clyde. She is the winter relief vessel for the similar MV Jupiter, which normally operates the service. Neither Saturn nor Jupiter have true RORO car deck as they load and unload from the side and stern.

Dunoon probably means green fort and right behind the pier you can see the flat topped grass covered mound that was typical of motte and bailey castles. Dunoon Castle was established in the 1100's and finally abandoned in the 1650's.

We paddled along Dunoon's Victorian pier after Saturn had left on her voyage back to Gourock. The pier was built in 1835 but extensively modified in 1895. The side loading ferries, Jupiter and Saturn still berth here despite a new modern jetty and linkspan for RORO ferries having being built alongside in 2005. Under EU competition rules, companies had to bid to run a service from the new jetty. Neither the government owned CalMac nor the locally owned Western Ferries chose to bid. So the new jetty lies unused!