Sailing south down the Clyde it is unlikely you will tie up at Dunoon unless you are a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry. But if you close your eyes and drift back 100 years you would have been deafened by the sound of paddle steamer ferries vying for permission to approach the largest wooden pier in Scotland!
Paul Lambert is both a Harbour Master and Pier Master. At Dunoon he is titled Pier Master as it is just the ferry that docks, but across the water he is the HM of the slightly larger Gourock. Paul described to me what an important pier Dunoon used to be, with both trade and passengers using the ferries like a bus service to and from Glasgow. Peaking in about 1898 the black and white photo (slide 9) tells the story perfectly. Now owned by Argyll and Bute council, the much loved pier is up for rent.
Looking down over the pier is an imposing statue of Robbie Burns’ lover, Mary Campbell, or “Highland Mary” as she was known, looking back towards Ayrshire where she had left Burns just before she died of Typhoid aged 23. Burns fans will know all about the dramatic and clandestine love affair!
Paul’s mother was one of the Peace Protesters at Holy Loch in the early sixties (see previous post), but amusingly she became best friends with two US service wives and ended up in favour of their “occupation”. However two years after the American navy had packed up and gone home, an enlisted US sailor turned up in uniform at Paul’s office “reporting for duty” at Holy Loch! The poor chap was not amused to be told he was two years too late! A big thank you to Paul for suggesting I contact the local paper in each harbour to run a story about what I am doing and about SeafarersUK. Thank you to Gill for writing a great piece in Argyll Media newspapers.
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!
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