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By Hugh Boag
Dramatic footage of the MV Caledonian Isles trying to berth at Ardrossan last week during Storm Dennis has gone global.
A video taken by haulage driver Willie Campbell and posted on social media was first picked up by BBC Scotland and then by news outlets around the world from the USA to Australia and even in Hungary.
The Master Colin Bain and the crew of ferry have been praised for their skill as the struggling to berth which lurching from side to side in the stormy harbour waters in high winds last Friday.
After seeing the footage CalMac managing director Robbie Drummond tweeted: ‘All credit to the skill of our masters and one to consider for those pressing CalMac to take more risk. Safety of our passengers and crew is always our top priority.’
Haulage driver Willie Campbell, 49, who shot the footage, later boarded the ferry and described his journey home to Arran as a ‘wee bit choppy’.
Mr Campbell who works for Murchie Sand & Gravel Ltd said he was used to rough weather as he regularly drives company trucks to and from the mainland, but speculated that some would-be visitors might have had second thoughts.
Mr Campbell took the video last Friday from the cab of his lorry while waiting to take the 12.30pm ferry home. He said the conditions were ‘personally the worst I’ve seen it’.
He posted it on social media when he got home to show his Facebook friends and was amazed at how quickly it was shared before being told that the BBC were interested. ‘The next thing I was talking to a reporter at BBC Scotland about it,’ he told the Banner.
But being one of the last babies born in Shiskine, where he still lives with wife Alison, and having travelled on the ferries all his life he said he was more accustomed to such sailing conditions. He said the video showed why Masters sometimes decide not to sail, even though conditions look far less severe at the Arran end of the journey.
‘You kinda think is the captain just going to say it’s not going to sail and I’ll be stuck? I was quite glad when we managed to load up and get going – especially on a Friday night, you like to get home,’ Willie told the BBC.
One ferry expert said that the boat had been pitching in such a dramatic fashion as the stabilisers fins which keep the ferry steady at sea have to be retracted before berthing.
Willie Campbell beside the Murchie lorry he took the video from. 01_B08ferry01
Willie in his cab. 01_B08ferry02
A still from the dramatic footage Willie took of the ferry berthing. NO_B08ferry03