The Tall Ships Race called into Greenock this weekend - I had wanted to make it along on Saturday but other commitments reared their head so these pictures are from the last time they berthed at Greenock in 1999 - fortunately the weather was just as good this weekend. A shame I am now in the east coast where Edinburgh endured flooding on Friday and Saturday!
In 1999 I took the MV Kenilworth across the water from Helensburgh to Greenock. This seaborne approach is the best way of all to arrive at the Tall Ships Race, an emoillient sea reflecting endless blue skies and the forest of masts and bunting out-peacocking Greenock's famous town hall. This was not the same grey-green Clyde of dull light and raw watery winds with which a local might associate the area. This was the Clyde putting on its best weather for the towrists.
There was a band, a beer hall, children's entertainment, stalls: but the chief and only atrraction, as far as I was concerned, were the boats. Boats from Europe, South America, Russia: huge, immaculately scrubbed and polished boats, with wooden decks, canvas sails, brass fittings. Some had smartly turned out crews in naval cadet style uniforms: others were more relaxed, barefoot and drinking beer.
The grande dame of the Clyde, the Waverley, was also doing trips to the Tall Ships. The whole river was in festival mood, sunny Greenock the epicentre.
On board one boat - I can't remember which - they were looking for crew to sail the next leg to Lerwick. Did I want to give it a go?! I considered an impromptu week's holiday from work. But there was a catch - it would cost a fortune. What an experience it would be but, cautious to the core, I declined.
The boats leave Greenock on Tuesday for their next port of call, Lerwick. Here's what you can do if you fancy it. Take a couple of well-deserved days off, take your tent and binoculars down to the Mull of Kintyre, and watch these large, graceful boats sail round the Mull and head towards the Firth of Lorn. As a bonus you'll get to see all the cool things round the Mull and Campbeltown, including Machrihanish beach, St Columba's Footprints, and the mysterious painting that was discovered one day in 1887 in a cave on the tidal island of Davaar...
Cave Painting, Island Davaar:
The Old Town
7 minutes ago