The River Clyde, Firth of Clyde, Clydeport or “Clyde Estuary” as it is known on the VHF – however you name this amazing piece of water, it needs to be a BIG name. Over 450 sq miles of Statutory Harbour (Sydney Harbour is just 21 sq m) make it one of the largest Harbour Authorities in the world. All controlled by Peel Ports, (who are owned by the impressive Peel Holdings in Manchester, worth £6.6bn!) via an Ops Room in Liverpool.
I met the Clyde team, Caroline Baxter and her colleagues Ian & Rufus at Clydeport’s Ocean Terminal, and they gave me some fascinating background to Glasgow and The Clyde. Ship building, commodity trading, wartime naval bases, ocean cruise liners and nuclear warhead armed submarines, all mixed up with famous Scottish industrialists and America’s Cup sailing boat designers, give this area a huge sense of history.
There are still 1,400 ferry crossings a month and as we experienced, the Clyde fog can descend with no notice. Since the Marchioness disaster on the Thames, all ferry operators have to report in how many passengers they are carrying on each journey. We ventured to the highest point in the Clyde river where we moored up against the Tall Ship Glenlee #riversidemuseum for an interview with BBC Radio Scotland. On the way we passed a mixture of deserted docks and quays, acres of re-developed flats and three brand new Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels being built at BAE Systems Govan yard.
Mixed in with all this industry and history, the Harbour team still have time to deal with the unexpected – the Clyde has recently officially become a second “River Ganges” with the Scottish Sikh community now performing ceremonial scattering of ashes on a special slipway. A Harbour Master’s life is never dull!
About the Harbour Master Sailing Challenge: I am circumnavigating #GB in a #Nauticat attempting to visit every #harbour with a #harbourmaster #fundraising to #support @Seafarers_UK and their work in the #martime industry, supporting #seafarers and their #families. You can #sponsor my #challenge by visiting the link in my bio. Thank you for your support!