Following on from the first bits of Irvine, I walked from Puffers Cafe towards the coast, via the edge of the Scottish Maritime Museum. This whole area was regenerated in the 1990s with some substantial Georgian-style buildings.
Past Boyd’s Automatic Tide Signalling Apparatus, there is a cracking big beach. It was wet and windy, so I stuck to the beach park – a wide open area in between the beach and the town that feels like it’s waiting for the fair to arrive.
I watched a crowd of widgeon on the pond, caught a rare Pokemon, and walked around the crazy golf course.
The old, properly crazy golf courses seem to be disappearing or turning into ‘adventure’ golf, so I’m always happy to find a relic. There didn’t seem to be a way of playing without bringing your own clubs, but maybe it springs to life in the summer.
I was going to say this is a break from islands and ferries, then remembered this trip to Blackpool started with a detour to Knott End-On-Sea, where the ferry crosses over to Fleetwood. The ferry wasn’t running that day but it’s a scenic spot, with lots of wading birds and a statue of L.S. Lowry who used to paint there.
On to Blackpool. Always an interesting mix of highs and lows. Found this up a side street.
Blackpool at sunset is a beautiful thing, especially in winter.
At the start of 2022, I planned to go to as many different islands on as many different ferries as I reasonably could. By September I felt like I was underachieving somewhat, so I went for three ferries in one day (no islands though), from Gourock to Dunoon (two ways) with a side-trip to Kilcreggan.
The first leg, Calmac’s passenger only Gourock-Dunoon ferry gets you to the heart of Dunoon in 25 minutes. Gourock ferry terminal is close to the station so it’s an easy day trip from Glasgow on public transport.
Dunoon is a slightly forlorn former holiday resort. I used to go there on holiday in the 1980s and forever associate it with rainy bank holidays where everything is shut. This was a better day, and I enjoyed wandering about the pier and trailing around the charity shops.
Instead of going back the same way I walked along to Hunter’s Quay to catch the car ferry to McInroy’s Point in Gourock, passing Puffin Rock on the way. This used to be called Jim Crow (it was painted like a crow) and I remember it as the highlight of any visit to Dunoon. It has been reimagined and repainted as Puffin Rock now and is part of a small but impressive bunch of brightly painted erratic boulders around this part of Scotland.
After that I was back in Gourock early enough to nip over to Kilcreggan on the Rosneath Peninsula – the passenger-only ferry leaves from the same terminal as the Gourock-Dunoon passenger ferry. This is a short and sweet ride, only 13 minutes. There is a small row of shops at Kilcreggan and a cafe where you can sit and watch the water where there are cruise ships, nuclear submarines, seabirds and dolphins.
For the last few months (actually, more like years) I’ve been sorting through 18 years of digital photos scattered over hard disks, HD cards and even floppy disks. I almost lost them all once, and after that I decided it was time to make something a bit more permanent, for my own records if nothing else.
So here is Beside The Seaside – book one in what will be a series of photobooks, self-published in very small editions. Featuring 60 full colour photos of the British seaside, it is a neat and sturdy A5 softcover book.
You too can have a copy, if you so desire. The price of £8 includes UK Postage and Packaging (Royal Mail second class). If you’d like the book signed or dedicated to someone please add a note during checkout.