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Note: Can we use the picture of ‘Wee Davie’ again from last week
Between 2004 and 2006 I had a fair old grumble about CalMac which ended up in front of the Transport Commissioner at the EU. We ‘won’ the matter but it was pyrrhic. The essence related to senior management and the manner in which they ran the state monopoly ferry service. Some 14 years later the old guard at the top of CalMac are pretty much all gone.
What has not gone are the officers, crew and shoreside team at CalMac who deal with customers day in, day out; year in year out. The service these dedicated professionals give is exemplary.
Here is the enigma, at least for this sole traveller who first foot on the ferry as a youngster was aboard the MV Glen Sannox (1957 vintage).
On Thursday March 8 a family health emergency necessitated a fairly rapid transit via the MV Caledonian Isles across to the mainland. The staff at Brodick Pier were incredibly understanding and helpful. The ferry marshalls were very kind and thoughtful. Onboard, the ship’s crew are a credit to the company. Every time I’m on that ship, all I see is the staff go above and beyond what they need to do.
Some days, I still wonder what it would be like to replace the current oversized ferry with two mid-sized ships in shuttle formation akin to Western Ferries at McInroy’s Point to Hunter’s Quay operating between Brodick and Ardrossan, with a third mid sized ship to plug into the system when demand requires it. I wonder what it would be like to have a service for Arran that runs from 06.00 to midnight without curfew. That is a matter for the new managing director once Martin Dorchester move to pastures new.
But this week I also saw CalMac’s best at work: ship and shoreside, crew and terminal staff. If anything these guys at the sharp end will save the iconic ferry company from the management’s dysfunctional and corporately risky choices. From the big-boat-syndrome, to the mind boggling amounts spent on infrastructure. One of our directors built the ferry ramp in Campbeltown Harbour in six weeks for £600 and it lasted for decades. How on earth £22,200,000 can be spent on a ferry terminal just makes my eyes water.
All in all – as one who has had Victor Meldrew moments moaning about CalMac management, I believe it very important to put pen to paper when things go right. Last week was CalMac at it’s best. Due to sterling efforts and thorough decency of shoreside staff and the ship’s crew. Well done CalMac.
Michael Smith of North Shieds expresses the sentiments of many who travel through Brodick terminal (Arran Banner letters March 10).
‘Wee Davie’ is so faithful he never misses a shift, regardless of the weather. For his comfort I knit him a new scarf every winter and in 2012 I was moved to compose a ‘wee ode’ to him, reprinted here.
Ode to the ramp rascal
Come rain or sleet, he’s there to greet
The drivers as they board the boat
Young mascot of the CalMac crew
Red helmet on and yellow coat
The visitors in their campervans
On bikes, in Saab’s or caravans
Salute him with a joyful smile
Arriving on this glorious isle
And tearful, as they leave again
Boarding the vessel in the rain
They see him still, without a care
And know, come summer, he’ll be there.
With reference to Carol Vells-Boyle’s letter in the Banner of the amount of litter scattered in the verges on our island, I have also noticed this problem.
I have also noticed an increase in this after holiday weekends, holidays related to school breaks, anything which coincides with an influx of visitors to the island which seems to bring on the menace of fish and chip papers appearing in the verges. This is not a mere coincidence as I have regularly spotted this.
I wonder if CalMac were to put up notices on the ferries asking people who visit Arran to respect our island and deposit their litter in the bins provided. It might be worth a try.
Save the Children
The Save the Children committee would like to thank everyone who braved the wind and cold to support our cheese and wine evening. We are delighted to report that we raised £800. Thanks to the committee for their wonderful buffet, the Brodick Golf Club for the use of their premises and the Arran distillery for the gift of a malt for our special raffle.
Save the Children committee
No gin here
It is somewhat erroneous yet serendipitous of your media outlet to divulge that our operations here in the northern aspects of the village are purveyors of botanically infused alcoholic beverages. Whilst we strive to accommodate most of our clients prerequisites, the only such libations here at our headqauters is the ockasional bottle or three of vino that shum of our customers have popped in to shay thanks for whatever we done for them. Issha shame that that we are not lisens…lissenced…..that we’re not allowed to shell stuff like gin . Anyway its *hic* not er…what was I shaying? Oh, theres the postman Janis … give him a glass.
Cheers big man,
*Editors note: Arran gin is available in Arran Active, but not Arran Graphics as stated last week.