Synopses & Reviews
The Red Book, the twice-yearly newsletter, now the Journal of the West Highland Steamer Club, regularly contained a collection of ship photographs of both everyday and special events in the lives of the MacBrayne vessels which plied the waters of the west coast of Scotland, from charters of vessels like the pioneering 1920s turbine steamer King George V and delivery voyages through the Caledonian Canal to regular ferry voyages. These photographs would often be the work of Jim Aikman Smith or Hamish Stewart. These two gifted photographers produced many topical and beautiful images taken in locations such as Tarbet, Portree, Islay, Coll, Oban, Fort William and Glasgow, and a selection of their work is presented here, along with some images by other photographers, to show the essence of the world of Caledonian MacBrayne and to give a wonderful insight into the lives of their ships.
From the 1810s, steamers have plied the west coast of Scotland. Many of the settlements along the coast had no road access and the only means of connecting them was by sea. With the advent of steam ships, it became possible to introduce time tabled voyages calling at many remote settlements and the larger towns of the highlands and islands. One company made the West Highlands and Islands its own and that was MacBrayne s. Other companies that served the area included McCallum and Orme, who merged to form McCallum, Orme and who pioneered the voyages to St Kilda that ultimately led to the island archipelago being evacuated.
Using images from the West Highland Steamer Club collection, this book brings to life the last fifty or so years of travel by MacBraynes to the West Highlands and Islands. Superbly illustrated with the cream of the collection, every picture is a visual feast of the ferries and steamers of this most beautiful part of Scotland."