Monday 29 August 2016

Bute Bits and Largs Leftovers

 Cumbrae Scooter Rally 
Last Friday (26th August) there was heavy demand for crossings to The Isle of Cumbrae.
As the fbb's began packing for their return to England, there was the repeated sound of Vespas and Lambrettas spluttering towards the ferry queue. A two boat service was running for most of the day using the "spare" parked at Largs pier all week.
It gave ferry-watches the opportunity to compare the two sizes of ferry ...
... and hearken back to the early days of car carrying craft when they were even smaller!

 Largs bus depot / bus station 
fbb does vaguely remember been taken by his Mrs (probably before she became his Mrs!) to enoy the spartan delights of this shed plus bus stands. Whilst searching for Western S M T information for Rothesay, the piccy popped onto the screen.
Roughly speaking it stood alongside the railway station.

 Bus Business on Bute 
fbb is now on dangerous ground. He has tried to remember what actually happened on Bute pre- and post- privatisation. Here's hoping someone "out there" will tie up the loose ends and complete and/or correct fbb's incomplete and unreliable memory.

Pretty much the whole of western Scotland was in the hands of Western S M T, later Western Scottish. That included Largs, The Island of Arran, Dunoon and the Isle of Bute. Here is a service 90 bus outside the Port Banntyne depot (of trams fame)
When the Scottish Bus Group was split in 1985, Bute became part of Clydeside.
Although the main rump of Clydeside went to Arriva, Stagecoach ended up with Bute and much of the pared down Western Scottish.
In many parts of Scotland the silly season of bus competition happened. Even on the little Isle of Cumbrae two companies' vehicles met the ferries from Largs and ran together down the road to Millport. Eventually they agreed a one-day on one-day off deal. Now there is only one.

All sorts of mischief happened on Bute. Arran Coaches was the big fly in the ointment ...
... followed by and including West Coast Motors.
Whether Stagecoach lost or West Coast won, or whether there was some clandestine agreement, is lost in fbb's brain. But Stagecoach capitulated and West Coast now reigns supreme on Bute and in the Cowal peninsula (a k a Dunoon). Stagecoach still holds sway on the Island of Arran.

 A Peek at the "Pav" 
fbb mentioned The Pavilion as one of Rothesay's great assets, built in 1938 but somewhat decayed and unloved.
Work is under way to refurbish and reujuvenate this marvellous building. The report on the proposals is on-line and includes some stunning pictures of the interior. Here are a few.
Once again the lure of this rich magnificence to the humble Glaswegian holiday-maker or day tripper can be easily imagined. What a contrast! The "Pav" closed completely last year for a much needed re-vamp.

And there was even a Caretaker's house ...
... in need of some remedial work!

It will be really great to see this iconic building in full working order and used as it was intended.

And talking of full working order: thanks to another correspondent for this item.

 Tootle - loo Rothesay! 
And here it is / they are:-
Conveniently located at the car assembly point for the ferry and once Gents only, these facilities have been restored to their Victorian opulence and mantained in working order, complete with small gift shop.

Stand up:-
Sit Down:-
And please wash your hands.
Magnificent. You can't beat Twyfords for superior sanitary wear/
One of the most desirable and useful visitor attractions in Rothesay.

 Next Hungary bus and rail blog : Tuesday 30th August 


  1. Pre-deregulation Western had no presence on Arran, nor on the Cowal peninsula. Services at the latter were mainly run by Baird's of Dunoon. Arran was in the hands of Arran Coaches; Cumbrae was the home of Millport Motors.

    When Clydeside was merged with Western for privatisation, the new Clydeside that emerged - backed by Luton & District, which is how it eventually fell into the hands of Arriva - did not include Rothesay. The picture of the Western Leyland Nationals at the depot is therefore more recent than the Clydeside T type.

    I suspect, but don't know, that Western's presence in the new locations was as a result of winning tenders, some of which had commercial potential. Registration records suggest Western first ran on Arran in 2002, and that the Rothesay changeover took place in 2004.

  2. Thank you for sorting me out M of K! I was, as you may have gathered, thoroughly confused.