Once again, PSPS and the Coastal Cruising Association (CCA) chartered MV Clyde Clipper for an annual festive cruise, this being the 40th year the PSPS has done so.
The itinerary for this year's cruise included a beautiful winter cruise up to the head of Loch Striven, a brief spell ashore in Rothesay and a sunset cruise back to Victoria Harbour.
With 112 passengers onboard, the cruise was well sold out in advance and Clyde Clipper set off from Greenock just after 1030 am on Friday 28th December 2018. She departed the Victoria Harbour bound for Loch Striven. As we began our passage down the River Clyde, H.M.S. Enterprise could be seen leaving the Gare Loch outbound. She passed Clyde Clipper quite close, giving passengers excellent views and photo opportunities. As the naval vessel passed Clyde Clipper, H.M.S. Northumberland arrived inbound for the Gare Loch and once again provided some excellent photos.
While sailing downriver towards Toward point, the cruise was made even more enjoyable for passengers as the skipper offered the opportunity to visit the wheelhouse. Many people took the opportunity and where able to see a little behind the scenes of what goes into navigating and controlling the vessel. We then rounded Toward Point and headed for Loch Striven.
The serving of lunch was delayed so that passengers could enjoy the scenery in Loch Striven from the upper deck. At this time of year the sun shines almost directly up the loch. Clyde Clipper came in close to Berry's Pier at Glenstriven estate. This was rebuilt using components from the former Innellan pier. We got as far up the loch as it is possible to navigate, pausing off Craigendive before returning south. The trip was well-timed, because as Clyde Clipper headed back and passengers went below for lunch, the sun sank behind the hills on the west side of the loch.
Clyde Clipper followed CalMac's MV Argyle into Rothesay and allowed for a brief time ashore.
After a quick walk around Rothesay, passengers returned to the vessel and we set off for Victoria Harbour.
On the final stretch back to Greenock, the raffle took place with the sun setting behind us. Prizes included a model of PS Glen Rosa, a framed print of PS Waverley and a range of alcoholic beverages and other prizes.
With the raffle complete, the vessel returned to Victoria Harbour and completed this year’s annual festive cruise. A good day was had by all with excellent weather and fine views throughout.
Over the past 40 years PSPS has provided a wide variety of festive cruises on several different vessels. In 1979 MV Kenilworth was chartered for a cruise to Carrick Castle. Where will 2019 take us?