To Western Scottish Waters
By Rail and Steamer to the Isles
- Robert N. Forsythe
15th February 2010
To Western Scottish Waters: By Rail & Steamer to the Isles is a pictorial tour through the decades and a peek into how both people and goods have travelled to the Isles over the years. Illustrated with old photographs, advertising leaflets and timetables, as well as more recent photographs by the author, the ever-changing modes of travel are portrayed here. Moving from the early days of tourist traffic to the Highlands and Islands, To Western Scottish Waters takes us through the golden years of David MacBrayne and the Caledonian and North British Railways through to the appearance of Caledonian MacBrayne in the early 1970s. This pictorial survey uses the colourful and inventive publicity material of the principal companies involved in West Highland tourist traffic, such as the framed Puffers and the second car ferries used to keep inter-island traffic flowing. Travel to the Western Highlands was once dependent totally on rail or sea travel and was often dirty and slow - it was common to be greeted by a flock of sheep on one of MacBrayne's steamers - and To Western Scottish Waters is an evocative trip down memory lane for those who remember the Royal Route and steamers such as the Columba and Grenadier or for those who travelled on the Kyle-Kyleakin ferry before the Skye bridge.