Holidays in Cowal
Written by Archie Fergusson on 31/08/2009
Many people who come to stay on Holiday along with those that live here all year round will enjoy a nostalgic trip ‘Doon the water’ on the PS Waverley, the last ocean going paddle steamer in the World. Some of those aboard will even remember going on their annual holidays aboard one of the many steamers that sailed the Clyde and adjoining waterways. It was the steamboats in the early 19th Century that made Dunoon and the surrounding area more accessible and thus an attractive area for permanent residency or for a holiday. By the early 1900’s Dunoon and the surrounding area was one of the most popular holiday destinations with around 90 – 100 steam ships calling at Dunoon Pier every day many also calling in at the piers in Innellan, Toward, Ardentinny, Blairmore and Tighnabruaich bringing people to the many guest houses or holiday homes along the coast, which could be rented weekly or monthly.
Crowds gather on Dunoon Pier at the turn of the 20th Century
Even as rail and car travel increased Steamers where still a regular sight with companies such as The Caledonian Steam Packet Company Limited and David MacBraynes taking passengers on excursions to Lochranza, Campletown, the Kyles of Bute and Inveraray to name just a few. In 1966 a cruise from Dunoon or Innellan round the Island of Bute on the P.S. Caledonia would cost you 13/6 (c75p) with all vessels offering “catering of a particularly high standard”.
Progress with better roads, faster ships and travel further afield saw the decline of the steamers but we can go for a wee trip down memory lane on the waverly or take one of the smaller pleasure boats to see the coastline from a different angle.