But changes were afoot (or, perhaps, afloat!)
In a huge shock to the status quo, it was in June 1973 that a brand new commercial ferry service started from McInroys Point west of Gourock to Hunters Quay north of Dunoon in direct competition with Cal-Mac.
After a period of trauma, when it looked as if the passenger facility from town to town would disappear completely, a new company, Argyll Ferries, started a passenger-only route in 2011. It offers about 60 sailings daily Monday to Saturday and 30 on Sundays, considerably more frequent that the old "big boats".
"Ali Cat" is a concatenation of the title "Alison's Catamaran" and she (Alison) is the grown-up daughter of Mark and Jenny Rayment whose "Solent and Wight Line Cruises" has plied the waters of the Solent, offering a variety of boat trips to Island visitors and those to Portsmouth as seen here:-
Over the years fbb has been a very satisfied customer of the Rayments, both as an indiviual and an organiser of excursions for dozens and hundreds. The "Ali Cat" was first leased to Cal-Mac to cover for non availability of big boats during pier reconstruction and later sold to Argyll Ferries.
So, very much a meeting up with an old friend for fbb!
And in case you didn't know, Argyll Ferries is a wholly owned subsidiary of ...
Such is the silliness of the EEC enforced tendering system.
Snippets from this and yesterdays trip on "Waverley" will be reported tomorrow.