Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

July 2016: Clyde Coast

PS Waverley cruise to Loch Goil

The Firth of Clyde, in the west of Scotland, is the largest body of sheltered coastal waters in Great Britain, being protected from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula. The area around the firth is rich in contrasts, containing a few industrial towns, an abundance of attractive countryside, several traditional seaside resorts, the 'ABC' islands of Arran, Bute and Cumbrae, a number of substantial sea lochs cutting deep into the coastline, and some surprisingly remote corners of the Scottish mainland. For much of the 20th century, until the growth of car ownership and the availability of cheap package holidays jointly sounded the death knell for the practice, the Ayrshire coast in particular was a popular choice for Glaswegian families taking their customary two-week summer break.

PS Waverley was launched in 1946 for service as a traditional Clyde pleasure steamer and passenger ferry. Now owned and operated by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, she has the distinction of being the world's last seagoing example of this type of vessel. My latest Waverley excursion sailed northwards from the resort town of Largs, making brief calls at Dunoon and Blairmore before continuing on a non-landing cruise to Loch Long, Loch Goil and Carrick Castle.

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle enjoys a beautiful location overlooking the Firth of Clyde in South Ayrshire, near the town of Maybole. It was built for the Earl of Cassilis, head of the Kennedy clan, in the late 18th century. Subsequent developments saw the title of the peerage changed to Marquess of Ailsa, and the property finally being gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945. This well known charity continues to manage both the building and its attractive grounds.

Incidentally, this is one of those Scottish place names whose spelling is a poor guide to how it's said, the correct pronunciation being cul-LANE.


Alloway is a former Ayrshire village (situated in present-day South Ayrshire), which has long since been absorbed into the county town of Ayr. It is best known as the birthplace of Robert Burns (1759-1796), widely regarded as Scotland's national poet. The area contains several sites associated with 'the Bard', all of which are now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. (See photos below - the current church and the post office clearly do not fall into this category!)

This page reports on two separate day trips from home (cruise plus South Ayrshire), both of which took place in July 2016.

Previously visited on board PS Waverley:

Corryvreckan (2009)

Kyles of Bute (2012)