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Lochiel

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What a fine photograph of another of my mechanical sweethearts! Great shot - shows so much of the detail of the hull. It used to make me greet to see her down in Bristol when she was a pub for Courage. She was but a shadow of her former self. She seldom had engine trouble when she was with MacBrayne's, but as soon as she became 'Norwest Laird' there was no end to the engine trouble. Hats off to MacBrayne engineers. Great men, and their CalMac successors likewise. Donald
 

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That's a blast from the past....she took over as the Northwest Laird, as a "successor" to the "Stella Marina" in the Late 60's early 70's(????) on the Isle of Man crossing from Fleetwood, but the Board of Trade wouldn't give permission or licence for her to sail "out of site of land" so the story in the local rag at the time reported, and as such she made a few crossings via a long trip round Moreambe Bay up workington and around the tip of Dumfries and Galloway,back across to IOM....the crossings she did took about 10 hours and she finally left the port in a cloud??

A sad tale really, but she had a lot to live upto and even more to prove..........................which she failed misserably at.(Smoke) (Hippy)
 

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The engine problems may have resulted in the fact she went down in the West Loch (Tarbert) when on the Islay run after hitting a uncharted rock.The skipper at the time had his ticket suspended and last I heard (+ 47 years or more) he was Pier Master at Tiree
 

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Yes, you are right, Neil. The Captain concerned was indeed from Tiree, and I knew the family well. I don't think he became Pier Master at Tiree, though. You may be thinking of another Tiree man who had his ticket 'docked', and came ashore to that role. Again, I remember the incident vividly. That sort of incident was unheard of at the time; Walter Weyndling, the Board of Trade Inspector, was on board, if my memory serves me correctly, and has written about it in one of his excellent books. Re. the 'Lochiel' and the Isle of Man-Fleetwood spell, I think she was completely out of her depth in every sense. This was a mis-match, if ever there was one. On her own beat, the 'Lochiel' was pretty good. Interesting how this photograph shows how plain her lines were - nothing at all 'special'. Her funnel seemed a little too far astern relative to the position of the bridge too, and spoiled her looks - I always wanted to push it forward! Donald
 

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what happened to her in the end, Donald.
I heard rumours that she went to become a restaurant/cafe or something similar.
 

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Yes, indeed. She ended up in Bristol, moored at the upper end of the harbour not far from the bottom of Park Street, and was a Courage pub. She was decked out in red hull and funnel, with white superstructure. She was scrapped in 1996. I have quite a few photographs of her in those rather strange twilight years. I visited her faithfully - as if she had been a member of the family in hospital! Courage provided life-support, we could say - in more ways than one! Donald
 

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She operated as Norwest Laird in 1970. The reason for the dog-leg route from Fleetwood to Douglas was that she was granted a Class III passenger certificate which meant she could only operate within 18 miles of land. To be fair her Paxman engines after thirty years service were worn out and had to be 'nursed' The passage time was about six hours each way.
 

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The story I heard was that the captain involved in the grounding in West Loch Tarbert ended up as the pier master at Lochaline.
 

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You could well be right Neil. The amber fluid has killed to many brain cells since the incident.
 

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