By the late 1970's this route had been sub-contracted to Clyde Marine Services Limited. In the 1980s responsibility passed to the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive [SPT]. The owners were in need of an extra ferry and at a Southampton boat show their eyes lit upon Hotspur II ...
read again). A deal was struck and in 1979 Hotspur II moved north and after some refurbushment and re-fettling the vessel re-emerged as "Kenilworth". It soon became the main provider of the Helensburgh service,
In service between Gourock, Kilcreggan and Helensburgh she carried over 2.1 million passengers (and countless millions more when in Southampton Water) and sailed the equivalent of thirty times round the equator. Some tub!
The short passage is 1.6 nautical miles and, given good weather, the views are stunning; as here with the hills behind Kilcreggan still dusted with the remains of winter's snow. Aaaaah!
At Gourock the boat docks alonside the busy car ferries to Dunoon and a short step along the platform of the train station.
To commemorate Kenilworth's retirement from ferry duty, SPT produced a fascinating handbook outlining the long and complex history of the crossing. fbb has stored a PDF copy to read or download here. Warning : it's a big file.
Next blog : due Sunday July 31st