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Macbraynes Claymore

Macbraynes Claymore

MV Claymore, as far as I can remember at Tiree on it's journey from Oban. I think I'm right in saying it's Tiree, but I'm sure Donald will know.

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Now, we have the jewel on the crown - the outstanding and incomparable MacBrayne motor-vessel, 'Claymore', at that most celebrated of piers! Yes, it is Tiree, Edgar!!!! Yippee!! This really is a treat above all treats for me. It is a splendid photograph of a scene which is etched deeply on my memory - wonderful. The cattle gangway that I mentioned earlier this week ran directly alongside the pier roadway to the left and under the pier-head, and my four-legged friends entered the great ship just below the derrick. My two-legged friends had to ascend the gangway abaft the bridge wing. Sometimes it was well-nigh verticle, if the tide was high. Incidentally, the blue Bedford van hard alongside the 'Claymore' (midships) is very similar to our vehicle of that make in the very early 1970s, and it my well be the very one! The sliding-door on this side is open, in characteristic Meek style! How fascinating! The photgraph shows a lot of the ship's deck detail - her 'clutter', as my wife (infelicitously) calls it! Thank you so much for this unexpected jewel. A very excited Donald!
 

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To a very excited Donald, what great fun to know you had so much pleasure from this one, I guessed that would be the case! And what's more - there might be another one. To read your comments which are so very explicit and beautifully phrased, completes the scene, totally. Thanks Donald.
Edgar
 

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Donald,
Brings back some happy memories, was engineer on her mid 60's. Donald Gunn was Captain, John Lamont Mate and John Mac Donald 2nd Mate.
 

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Thanks, Ronnie. Delighted to learn of your contribution to our 'lifeline', and to meet you by e-mail. A real pleasure to meet one of the men who made the propellers turn! They are the unsung heroes, in my view. John Lamont, Mate, was Captain for a spell - he was very reluctant to take the position, as he preferred to do a bit of crofting in Tiree in his spare watches! Then Donald Gunn was Captain in the period from about 1972 onwards, and quite possibly intermittently before that - I remember him so well, and the others too, with great gratitude. John MacDonald, 'Iain Non', from Scarinish, Tiree, seems to be on the forecastle in Beaches' other beautiful picture. John C. MacKinnon, MBE, was Master from 1955 to 1961 or so, and he was followed by Captain Neil Campbell, who was best known on the 'KGV'. Teonaidh Dhomhnaill Bhig (JC) and 'Neillie Mor' were from Tiree - and wonderful men. I loved that ship and her crew - they were the salt of the earth, as well as of the sea! Great memories - and very grateful ones for me. Donald
 

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Donald,
Agree, that looks like John in the photo. J C and my father were great friends, he used to visit our house in Barra and I can remember visiting their home in Oban. Another gentleman on that ship from Tiree at that time was Willie Lamont, I think he was a relation of John.
Ronnie
 

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How refreshing to read people talking so well about other people and crew as in the above posts,refreshing indeed.
 

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Hello again, Ronnie. Thanks for confirmation of John MacDonald. Can't make out the Captain though, as John L. and Donald G. were both just big enough to appear over the bridge wing! Yes, indeed - JC was a wonderful storyteller, and used to entertain us in our home in Tiree, and I heard many a grand yarn from him on the bridge of the 'Claymore'. If the 'Claymore' was late in leaving Tiree and passengers asked him what was wrong, he would say, 'We are waiting for a load of wood from the Tiree sawmills!' (Tiree has no trees, of course.) I can still smell his pipe and hear his laughter. We used to stay at his home in Oban on the way to Tiree on occasion, and he would even give up his Captain's bunk if someone was seasick or otherwise unwell. I slept on his couch many times. I knew the Captain's cabin on the 'Claymore' as well as I knew my own home. (I have almost completed a painting of a 'typical' old-style MacBrayne Captain, based on JC. I'll put it in the Maritime Art section next week.) Willie Lamont ('Willie Neill') likewise I remember with great affection. He was indeed a relative of John's. He had a wicked sense of humour, and a very wry look on his face. He pulled my leg naughtily many times! He lived latterly in Oban, and I used to see him from time to time. His good lady had a guesthouse on Craigard Road, I think. Did you know Calum Brown? Angus Morrison from Harris was one of my very best friends from boyhood to early manhood. Such are the memories, and the unforgettable people. Indeed, John - it is lovely to speak well of others, and we do so gladly with our recollections of the crews of MacBrayne vessels. I am so pleased you are enjoying our reminiscences! Our thanks again to Beaches for making it possible with his beautiful photographs. I wonder what the next one will be like....Donald
 

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I echo John Rogers' comments from the opposite end of the world, I too enjoy peoples reminiscences of ships, places and other folk from times past. In the early 60's I sailed with a fellow from Tiree his name was John McNeill he was a QM on Port Line and he used to wax lyrical about the people and vessels on the inter-island runs off the west coast of Scotland, after listening to him for 15 months I felt as though I new everyone on Tiree and most of the shipping as well!!
Cheers from Aussie and thanks for the posts.
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Jeff
 

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Donald,
I didnt know Calum Brown or Angus from Harris, but then again the old memory is not so good as it used to be. I suspect Angus was a relation of the three Morrisons who were Masters around the coast at that time. My thanks also to John and Jeff, there was a well known saying around the West coast of Scotland "It costs nothing to be nice"
Ronnie.
P.S. There is an old "rogue" from Eriskay a member of this site who has a far better memory than me of the old coastal trade.
 

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Many thanks to Ronnie, Jeff and John. I had similar contacts with New Zealand through Tiree men who sailed from Lyttelton to Wellington on the Union steamships. I felt I knew the route as well as they did, and all the ships! Thus my interest in NZ. I wonder who John McNeill was - I must find out. There were MacNeills in Scarinish, Tiree, and in Hynish. Angus Morrison was QM on the 'Claymore', and one of Nature's gentlemen. He was a great raconteur, with splendid Gaelic and a store of proverbs and sayings. He was such a warm-hearted man. I loved being on the bridge with him. I also remember the Gaelic-speaking stewards and waiters and waitresses from Barra and South Uist. One of them - from Barra - was latterly at the Lancaster Hotel, Oban. I have posted my attempt at representing an 'old-style' MacBrayne Captain of the 1950s and 1960s, based on my memories of Captain MacKinnon. It is not a particularly close likeness, but it tries to catch the 'character'. Donald
 

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