thefleet...
Main The Fleet Fleet Features

Here we have complied a growing collection of Special Features, stories and articles about the ships and their pasts, as well as fascinating accounts and stories of ships both past and present...
 
 THE FLEET
Island Class
An illustrated article which goes into detail about the fleet of eight small bow-loaders and the major part they played in enhancing transport links around the west coast.

Loch Class
Following on the the Island Class article, this piece illustrates the next chapter in the story, when demand exceeded capacity and newer, larger ferries were brought in.

Streakers
An illustrated account of the coming of the second generation of Upper Clyde ferry and the great improvements associated with their arrival over 30 years ago.

The Secret Ships
A little-known fact about the 1964 Western Isles trio; Hebrides, Clansman and Columba.

Where Are They Now?
Speaks for itself! See here where previous fleet embers ended up in their post-CalMac life.

Pioneer's Last Trip Round The Small Isles
Relieving for the Lochnevis one last time.

Suilven Sails On!
The old Stornoway favourite has found herself all over the world since her departure from the fleet in 1995 - see how she got on.

Small Ferries: Kyles of Bute
A brief history of the Colintraive - Rhubodach car ferries across the Kyles of Bute run by the Bute Ferry Co.
 
 THE BIGGER PICTURE
Chris Murray, winch man for the Stornoway Coastguard Helicopter gives us a glimpse into his aerial world...and some stunning views of the fleet!!

Big Pictures 1
Isle of Lewis poses for the camera as Chris gets dangled in front of her.

Big Pictures 2
Loch Portain doesn't escape the attentions of the Coastguard Helicopter!

Big Pictures 3
Hebrides is captured as she leaves Tarbert one afternoon.

Big Pictures 4
See Clansman and Isle of Lewis taking part in exercises with the helicopter.

Big Pictures 5
Isle of Lewis crosses towards Ullapool as the helicopter tracks her.

Big Pictures 6
Isle of Arran heads out into the Minch after finishing a spell relieving the Muirneag.

Big Pictures 7
Clansman sets out for Ullapool and is shadowed by the helicopter.

How We Get Those BIG PICS
Is it a bird, is it a plane?....Nope its....
 
 PICTORIAL SPECIALS
Life After CalMac
Ever wondered where some of the smaller ferries to have left the fleet in recent years ended up?

Isle of Mull as a Clyde ferry
See what the Isle of Mull got up to in her six week absence from Oban this autumn - not just an overhaul.

Just Visiting
Special feature showing several members of the fleet enjoying a spell off duty as they head to the Clyde for their annual overhauls.

Hebrides on Trials
A pictorial feature showing Hebrides' temporary deployment on services from Oban, following her conversion to burn fuel oil in March 2007.

"Just the two of us"
Sister ships have always been a part of the CalMac fleet - see some of the more recent ones here.

Loch Shira's Launch
The launch of CalMac's newest vessel was covered by our chief news reporter and filmed by our DVD department.

Claymore at Dover
Ex-CalMac fleet member makes a trip south!

"Through the Worst of it!..."
See some of the truly awful conditions the ships have to contend with you on a regular basis.

"Old and New"
A picture special showing some of the older CalMac ships with their younger counterparts (and in some cases - their replacements).

Bute's Arrival
A pictorial account of the new Wemyss Bay - Rothesay ferry's journey across from her home in Poland via the English Channel and Irish Sea.

Caledonian Isles' Overhaul 2006
A brief pictorial account of the Arran ferry's overhaul in Aberdeen in January 2006.

Hebridean Isles at Stromness
Once a year recently its been the job of the Hebridean Isles to relieve her half fleetmate on NorthLink's Scrabster - Stromness crossing.
 
 HOW DOES...?
Loading Methods
Illustrated article which shows the various methods employed over the years for loading cargo an goods onto the ships.

Voith-Schneider Units
A fascinating piece which shows how this revolutionary propulsion system has benefited the smaller vessels in the fleet.

What Is...?!
Ever seen something onboard, or at a terminal and wondered 'what on earth is that?' - well read on and you may find your answer!
 
 HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED
Traditional Mail Boats
A rare reminder of the days before roll on-roll of, when MacBraynes operated mail steamers to far off and remote communities.

Ferry Boats
Looking back to the days before the Loch Buie and the Morvern, when Iona was served by a fleet of small launches.

Kyles Ferries
Before 1997 the tiny island of Scalpay had no bridge. This article looks back to the ferries that provided a lifeline to Scalpay's residents.

Past Clyde Steamers
A historical list of Clyde Steamers between 1872 - 1912.

Past Fleet Movements
A brief description of vessel movements before SoC Fleet News came into being.

SS Claymore's Cabin
A little piece of MacBraynes history rests in a rather landlocked position...
 
 THE PAST FLEET
Ships at War
The Changing Chieftain
Duchess of Montrose vs Saint Columba (Part 1 - The Queens Alexandra)
Duchess of Montrose vs Saint Columba (Part 2 - The War Years)
Clyde Turbine Steamers
Waverley and QMII in Competition
The Loss of Loch Seaforth
 
 READERS STORIES
We Can But Dream! (Robin Copland)
Seven Short Blasts; A Hebridean Odyssey 2003 (Derek Finlayson)
Fancy Dress Gathering on Skye (Simon Hood)
Memories of the 1960s (Robin Copland)
A Grand Day on Waverley (Robin Copland)
A Tryst in the Kyles (Robin Copland)
The Inner Isles Mail Run (Stuart Cameron)
Racing To Rothesay (Stuart Cameron)

There are many more interesting accounts, stories and tales from crew, passengers and islanders on our forum! Visit us via the link below...

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