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Troon - Douglas The 175 Mile Voyage

By Iain Mc Pherson 2005


08:30 Troon - Douglas - 21 May 2005


Having  stayed the night at the Kilmarnock Travel Lodge  I awoke  early on the Saturday morning for the drive over to Ayr. This was  in order to have my car parked, as I would be returning there on the Sunday from Stranraer. I  then boarded the train and headed up the coast to Troon.

Arriving at the harbour  having  walked  down  from the railway station I found the LADY OF MANN berthed  starboard  side to and dressed  over all, at  the  former  Seacat Terminal. After checking  in  and  taking  some   photos, I  noted   that  on  the  pier  was  the Managing Director  Hamish Ross   chatting with  some  passengers. After  around 15 cars had been put aboard. I along with other  passengers  numbering  around  100 boarded  by  the  car ramp.

At  08.55  Capt Alan Albiston took  the "Lady" astern  on  what  was  to be  a 175  nautical  mile trip back  to Douglas. As  we  departed  Hamish Ross  along  with  whom  I  think was the  Provost of Troon were having  their  photos  taken  by  the local press.

While    the  "Lady"  headed towards   the  east coast of  Arran   I  went   to  the  cafeteria to  have  some  breakfast. At  09.08  off the starboard side  the  1993   built  Cal Mac ferry CALEDONIAN ISLES was seen entering  Ardrossan harbour. Off  the  port  side  at 09.16  the P&0 EXPRESS   was noted inward   bound   from Larne . By  09.37  the LADY OF MANN  was  sailing  down  Arran's  east  coast  passing  Lamlash  and  the  Holy Isle. Whiting Bay  was  passed at  09.45.  To  port was  Alisa  Craig commonly  known   as  "Paddy's Milestone".

By  the  time   I  had  found  a  seat from which  I  could  base myself for the  duration off  the  sail the LADY OF MANN passed Pladda lighthouse at 10:00. By  10.55 We  where heading   round   the  Sanda Islands just  off  the  Mull of Kintyre.

At   11:18     just  off  the "Mull"  the  LADY OF MANN altered   course   turning  to   port  and     headed   over   the  North Channel   towards  Torr Head  on the  Antrim coast . By 11.43  we  were  now   off  the  Northern Irish  coast with  Rathlin Island off  the  starboard side.

Just  after   Red Bay  we  stopped   hugging  the  coast  line  and  the  LADY OF MANN headed   away  from  the coast .  Red Bay  was  passed  at  12.05`, with  the Maden  Islands  passed  at  12.55. Up  till  this point  the  weather  had  been   dry with  some  sunshine  if  not a little cold!

Now though looking  ahead  from  the forward lounge you  could  see  the  clouds   thicken   and  the  rain  beginning, Thankfully   it  was  only  a  short  shower. The Ulster  ferry  port of  Larne  was  passed  at 13.00 with EUROPEAN MARINER, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and P&O EXPRESS all  berthed.

At 13:30 the entrance  to Belfast  Lough  was  passed, and  by  this  time    the    showers  had  stopped  and  we  were   back  to   dry  sunny weather. At 13.15  we  passed Mew Island then   Copeland Island, the  LADY OF MANN  was back  to hugging  the  coast line, at 13.53   the  South  Rock light  ship  was  reached.

15.15  the entrance to Strangford Lough was  passed  off the  starboard  side.

15.43   The  "Lady"  was  now off  St John's  Rock  lighthouse  this  was to  be  as far  down  the  Irish  coast   she   was   to  sail, she then  begun  to   turn   to  port   and  head  across  the  Irish   sea towards  the Isle of Man.

By   17.15  the   Lady of Man  was  rounding the  Calf of Man and   heading   North up  the  East  coast  of the  Isle of Man. Passing Port St.Mary's at 17:25 she blew her horn, this was something  of  a  tradition  started   by  a  former  master  of  the  Lady  the late Captain  Vernon Kinley  who  was  a  Port St Mary's  man .

Sailing    towards  Douglas   at 17.35   looking  ahead  we  could  see  the  SUPERSEACAT TWO   heading  for  Liverpool, Dick Clague  who  had  been  giving an  excellent   commentary  through  out  said  at  this  point  we  were  doing   22  knots . At  18.00  we  were  off  Douglas  harbour The BEN-MY-CHREE was  berthed   at  the  Victoria  Pier  link span ,  the  "Lady" then  did  a  circuit   of Douglas   Bay  before  berthing  starboard to  at  the outside  berth  on Victoria  Pier. The  LADY OF MANN was  made   fast   at  Douglas  at 18.20. While  a  crane   was  unloading  her  car  ramp  the  foot passengers  disembarked .

As   I  walked   along   Douglas  esplanade to  my  hotel  I dwelled  on  what  a really  fantastic  day  it  had  been, other  than  the  one  heavy  shower off Larne the  weather  had been  lovely. This  had  only   been   my   third  ever  sail  on the  LADY OF MANN the  last  time I  had sailed on  her  had  been  a  return  sail   from Heysham  in  1999  that  was  to  photograph  the  CLAYMORE which  had  been  doing  extra  sailings   for  that  year's TT  races.




Lady of Mann at Troon  

Rathlin  Island   

Passing  the  Sanda  Islands

  Pladda   Lighthouse

The  South  Rock Lightship 

The  Lady of Mann having turned and  heading  for home    

The  Calf of Man 

A crane  unloading  the  car ramp

Lady of Mann berthed at  Douglas  after  her 9 hour 35 minute sail from Troon.


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