Pictorial blethers

By blethers


A beautiful ship, looking like a ghost of her former self, is towed up the Firth of Clyde this afternoon, hard to photograph on the far side where the deep channel lies but unmistakable nonetheless. We learned on Thursday that the TS Queen Mary  had left Tilbury in Essex; today a chance tweet alerted me to her position off the south of Arran this morning and by mid-afternoon the Ship AIS site showed her halfway between Toward Point and Dunoon. A mad dash to the West Bay gave us this view.

The 250ft, 1930s steam ship gave her name to the ocean liner Queen Mary but has been languishing at the docks for years after falling into disrepair.
A charity backed by Robbie Coltrane is raising funds to restore the ship and berth her permanently in Glasgow. This may be the last time we see her sail, but with luck the money will be raised to complete her refurbishment - a further £2m will be needed to complete the restoration. 
The group hopes eventually to give her a permanent berth near the Finnieston Crane as an entertainment venue and education centre.
Built in 1933 at Dumbarton, The TS Queen Mary was one of the last steamships to be launched from the famous Clyde dockyards.
She sailed passengers 'doon the watter' from Glasgow to destinations such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Arran. I remember being on a special school sailing from Glasgow - was it to Dunoon? - so that pupils could see for themselves the industry on the Clyde in the early 1970s.
At the outbreak of World War Two, the steamer - known as TS Queen Mary II at the time - became a lifeline for Scotland's island communities.
While other vessels were commandeered to sweep for mines or to protect Scotland's skies from German bombers, she helped maintain a vital passenger and freight service between the mainland and the islands.
As cars became more affordable and British holiday habits changed, she was eventually retired in 1977 and spent several years as a floating restaurant.

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