Does anyone recognise this ferry? - Ships Nostalgia
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Does anyone recognise this ferry?

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  #1  
Old 17th June 2010, 20:06
jennings-at-sea jennings-at-sea is offline
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Does anyone recognise this ferry?

My father took the picture in 1983, and I assumed it was somewhere on the west coast of Scotland. Unfortunately, the name is not legible. I would very much like to be able to put a name/location to the picture. Thank-you.
I hope the picture's there!
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  #2  
Old 17th June 2010, 20:58
jasmacpm jasmacpm is offline  
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The location is definitely Oban - (where I was born and visited yesterday. Posted a few pics of more modern era today.) Looks similar to ferry which Calmac converted to the Hebridean Princess, but not sure if it is her. I'm sure if you go through ferry lists for Calmac you will soon find her.
Good luck.
Jimmy.

Last edited by jasmacpm; 17th June 2010 at 21:07.. Reason: grammar
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  #3  
Old 17th June 2010, 21:00
macca57 macca57 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennings-at-sea View Post
My father took the picture in 1983, and I assumed it was somewhere on the west coast of Scotland. Unfortunately, the name is not legible. I would very much like to be able to put a name/location to the picture. Thank-you.
I hope the picture's there!
Looks like Calmacs 1964 built MV Columba. She was refitted in 1989 at G Priors Great Yarmouth and converted to a luxury cruise ship and renmamed Hebridean Princess.
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  #4  
Old 18th June 2010, 02:20
jennings-at-sea jennings-at-sea is offline
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Thank-you both very much for giving my research direction! My parents did love Oban and visited there often.
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  #5  
Old 18th June 2010, 05:34
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jennings-at-sea,

Concur with the previous answers but couldn't the ferry also possibly be Hebrides?

There is another nice shot of Columba here and Hebrides here in our Gallery.

You can just see one of the Northern Lights tenders lying at her berth behind the ferry's bow in your photograph.
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Last edited by Gulpers; 18th June 2010 at 05:47.. Reason: Added links to Gallery
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  #6  
Old 18th June 2010, 16:34
Don Matheson Don Matheson is offline  
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As the photo is definitely Oban I think its safe to say she would be the Columba.
If memory serves me right I am sure she was the "Oban" boat for quite some time.

Don
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  #7  
Old 18th June 2010, 19:19
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Yes, you are probably correct Don.
Hebrides used to stooge about on the Clyde but, I wondered if she had maybe escaped at some time
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  #8  
Old 18th June 2010, 20:03
kenwebb kenwebb is offline  
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hi jenning at sea ITdefinatley looks like the Culumba she was converted to the Hebridean Princess about 1990 . The company that ran her were hebridnan island cruises based in skipton I was on her as the hebridean princess in 91-92 cruise season.S he was converted to a very high standard and carried up to 54 passangers and 12 cars.She ran out of Oban sailing on a thursday.We used to anchor at tobermorry for the night before starting, a week jong cruise of the western lochs & isles it was interesting and the sights were fantastic but the wages were poor at the time
hop this gives you a bit more insight of her
rgs Ken
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  #9  
Old 18th June 2010, 22:36
neil nic neil nic is offline  
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Just posted a photo of how she looked a few weeks ago, still in good condition for a ship of her age. I think the Queen is taking another trip on her soon, maybe next month..

Last edited by neil nic; 18th June 2010 at 22:49..
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  #10  
Old 18th June 2010, 23:30
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Could also have been the CLANSMAN perhaps.

Jack
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  #11  
Old 22nd June 2010, 02:01
jennings-at-sea jennings-at-sea is offline
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Thanks again, everyone. What a wonderful cruise that would be . . . up the west coast of Scotland . . . if one were fortunate with the weather! And what's this about the Queen?
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Old 22nd June 2010, 11:25
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Information on the Royal charter here
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  #13  
Old 22nd June 2010, 11:56
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Not Clansman as she was 'jumboised' by that time. Agree more likely Columba than Hebrides as it is at Oban.

I can't quite make out the radar detail, Hebrides had both up the mast, Columba had one on the mast, one on the Monkey Island.
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  #14  
Old 22nd June 2010, 12:11
Don Matheson Don Matheson is offline  
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Still think its the Columba as its in Oban but then all these ferries would have been in Oban at some time or other in their history.
However as Stewart has mentioned the radar fit I blew the photo up to fill my screen and it has only one radar on the mast, just under half way up.
From this I think its the Columba as I first said, thanks Stewart.
Pity your Dad did'nt name it at the time.

As a small aside, I sailed with a wonderful oil rig Chief Engineer who was proud to have been involved in designing the funnel of these three ships.

Don
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  #15  
Old 23rd June 2010, 22:12
ray bloomfield ray bloomfield is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennings-at-sea View Post
Thanks again, everyone. What a wonderful cruise that would be . . . up the west coast of Scotland . . . if one were fortunate with the weather! And what's this about the Queen?
I can vouch for how nice it can be around the west coast of Scotland as I am on a coaster employed in the log trade but I can also vouch for how wild it can get as well.
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  #16  
Old 16th February 2011, 11:31
jtbyte jtbyte is offline  
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COLUMBA & later HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS
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File Type: jpg MV COLUMBA.jpg (64.0 KB, 75 views)
File Type: jpg HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS.JPG (74.9 KB, 80 views)
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  #17  
Old 16th February 2011, 12:57
Ron Dean Ron Dean is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennings-at-sea View Post
Thanks again, everyone. What a wonderful cruise that would be . . . up the west coast of Scotland . . . if one were fortunate with the weather! And what's this about the Queen?
In the 1950’s I sailed on the “Jeanie Deans” paddle steamer, operating from the River Clyde, through the Firth of Clyde, over to the Isle of Bute, calling at Oban, then sailing the narrow Kyles of Bute to Tighnabruaich.
The passengers on the “Jeannie Deans”, included many “kilted Scotsmen in various tartan’s wearing skean dhu’s”, drinking whisky in a small overcrowded bar, and eating hot Scotch pancakes, served through a hatch from a small deck galley. A piper and a fiddle player provided entertainment, throughout the voyage. The sea was flat calm and the scenery was superb. It was indeed a memorable voyage.
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  #18  
Old 16th February 2011, 17:35
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbyte View Post
COLUMBA & later HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS
One of three vessel's built with "interesting extra's", Is there anybody on this Site who were Crew? Please PM me.
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  #19  
Old 17th February 2011, 09:27
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Dean View Post
In the 1950’s I sailed on the “Jeanie Deans” paddle steamer, operating from the River Clyde, through the Firth of Clyde, over to the Isle of Bute, calling at Oban, then sailing the narrow Kyles of Bute to Tighnabruaich.
The passengers on the “Jeannie Deans”, included many “kilted Scotsmen in various tartan’s wearing skean dhu’s”, drinking whisky in a small overcrowded bar, and eating hot Scotch pancakes, served through a hatch from a small deck galley. A piper and a fiddle player provided entertainment, throughout the voyage. The sea was flat calm and the scenery was superb. It was indeed a memorable voyage.
Over to the isle of Bute , calling at Oban , then sailing .................

Are you sure , Oban is no where near the Clyde. Think you mean
Rothesay .
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  #20  
Old 17th February 2011, 10:58
donald h donald h is offline  
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Hi Chadburn,(and all),
I would go with the majority on this one, that the vessel is in most probability the Columba, as the Hebrides was very rarely away from the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy triangle route. My old man was her Captain for the majority of her service, and I had a Saturday job on her during school holiday times. (Couldn`t do that nowadays!)
The following link gives a bit of her history: http://www.shipsofcalmac.co.uk/h_hebrides1.asp
regards, Donald
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  #21  
Old 21st February 2012, 08:08
Bob Hay Bob Hay is offline  
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I did a few weeks stint as Relief 2nd Engineer on the Hebrides in 1965 and had the time of my life despite the middle of winter. the ship was designed to evacuate the Islanders in event of nuclear war and had water screens at all entries and engine room could be completely sealed off and external air intakes for engines.
The Chief Engineer was a real character. Alec MacLeod from Perth and had a great collection of photos of him with Humprey Bogart and Laureen Bacall from when they were making the 'African Queen' as they used the large ferry Alec was Chief on for the film crew's headquarters.
The African Queen was actually the small boat the ferry used for taking ropes ashore on Lake Nyasa? to lash to trees when they had to tie up at night.
Couldn't believe my luck at Mallaig in the pub near the wharf waiting for the Clansman to take me over to Armadale. Because it was 1st ofJanuary drinks were on the house.
Don't think it would happen now.
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  #22  
Old 21st February 2012, 10:54
Ron Dean Ron Dean is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cassels View Post
Over to the isle of Bute , calling at Oban , then sailing .................

Are you sure , Oban is no where near the Clyde. Think you mean
Rothesay .
Yes John, I did mean Rothesay. I was on my way to Oban and stopped off at Greenock for a couple of days, hence my confusion.

Ron.
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  #23  
Old 21st February 2012, 14:25
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Thanks for the info Donald and Bob
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  #24  
Old 22nd February 2012, 01:28
Bob Hay Bob Hay is offline  
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I've just remembered it was Alec Munro was the Chief on the Hebrides not MacLeod.
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  #25  
Old 1st March 2012, 17:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hay View Post
I did a few weeks stint as Relief 2nd Engineer on the Hebrides in 1965 and had the time of my life despite the middle of winter. the ship was designed to evacuate the Islanders in event of nuclear war and had water screens at all entries and engine room could be completely sealed off and external air intakes for engines. *snip*
Anyone with an interest in the ‘mystery’ of the three CalMac ferries - HEBRIDES, COLUMBA, CLANSMAN - may be interested to learn that on 30 January 2012, the Cabinet Office reluctantly revealed the wartime role of these three vessels.

In response to a Freedom of Information request asking for, "the geographical locations of all protected accommodation selected for each UKSA and NATA section, covering the years 1968-1976.", the Cabinet Office revealed that the three CalMac ferries had a wartime role as part of the highly classified plan for the wartime dispersal of Central Government - known as the PYTHON concept.

The PYTHON concept became operational on 01 May, 1968 and replaced the earlier plans (then known as the TURNSTILE concept) for the emergency evacuation of Central Government staff. The complicated TURNSTILE concept had involved the movement of 3,700 staff from Whitehall to a purpose-built underground Alternative Central Government War Headquarters (ACGWHQ) site at Corsham, North Wiltshire – then codenamed TURNSTILE.

The new PYTHON concept comprised of a very small number of separate PYTHON Groups (now thought to be 4 in total); 3 separate United Kingdom Supply Agency (UKSA) Sections; and, 3 separate National Air Transport (NATA) Sections. Each of these Groups/Sections were provided with separate protected accommodation from which they could operate as soon as possible after a nuclear exchange. Later, when conditions permitted movement, the surviving PYTHON Groups and UKSA Sections would accrete to certain locations, such as the ACGWHQ at Corsham if it had survived.

Apart from being more secure, the advantage of the PYTHON concept was that instead of trying to covertly evacuate 3,700 staff from Whitehall in a time of crisis, which many thought to be an impossible task, the PYTHON concept required the movement of only 1,200 staff, some of whom would come from outside London.

PYTHON was therefore considered the more realistic of the two concepts not only in terms of survival but also in its demands on departments and its ability to mobilise in a short precautionary stage of 2-3 days.

The functions of the 4 PYTHON Groups were:

(i) Ultimate control of military forces in the United Kingdom and the broad control of military forces overseas;

(ii) Conduct of Commonwealth and foreign affairs;

(iii) Overall policy direction of the control of air transport, merchant shipping and ports;

(iv) Ultimate control of essential resources and supplies, and of arrangements for resupply from overseas; and

(v) Co-ordination of the activities of regional commissioners as necessary and possible and resolution of questions involving more than one region which cannot be resolved otherwise.

In order to conduct functions (iii) and (iv), the PYTHON Groups relied on the semi-autonomous UKSA Sections. The UKSA Sections were responsible for the procurement, allocation and sea transport of essential supplies for the United Kingdom and for overseas countries dependent upon the United Kingdom. They would also co-ordinate all sea and air transport.

Some details of the PYTHON concept are only just coming to light. In fact the Cabinet Office claim that as current plans bear similarities to the PYTHON concept this prevents the declassification of some PYTHON information. An idea of how highly classified this concept was can be found in the following declassified FCO Memorandum:

“...the details of these dispersal plans [PYTHON] are among the most vital of Britain’s state secrets, their success being dependent on their total security. BOA’s [British Overseas Authorities] need only know that in the event of Whitehall being destroyed it is planned that the Government of the United Kingdom shall continue to function constitutionally but at a survival scale only until the gathering of the remnants permits a build-up of capacity in the reconstruction phase.
[Declassified FCO Memorandum – The Organisation of Overseas Authorities in General War 1968]

I've attached both the responsibilities of the UKSA in war and the staff complement of a typical 1978 UKSA Section.

Which brings us back to the three CalMac ferries.

When asked for the geographical locations of the wartime protected accommodation for the 3 UKSA Sections, the recent Cabinet Office response states that, for the years 1968-1970, the fixed intial location for UKSA Section WHISKEY was:

ii. UKSA section WHISKEY
Oban or Mallaig (SS Clansman, Hebrides or Columba).


During 1971, the idea of written down fixed locations was abandoned, probably for security reasons. Post-1971, all UKSA/NATA wartime locations were to be chosen from a list. It seems highly likely that this list would have included the names HEBRIDES, COLUMBA, and CLANSMAN.

Mystery solved?
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