Choir raises a laugh with song lamenting community’s problem ferry

The Kilcreggan community's Island Princess has been troubled with technical issues for months. Picture: Julian Calvert/PA Wire
The Kilcreggan community's Island Princess has been troubled with technical issues for months. Picture: Julian Calvert/PA Wire
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BRASSED off ferry commuters have turned to song in a bid to bring problems with their regular service to an end.

A community choir in Kilcreggan, in Argyll and Bute, took to their local pier to record a musical protesting at their plight.

They are demanding action over the MV Island Princess, which provides the 12-minute link between the Rosneath peninsula and Greenock, but has been plagued by problems this year.

The Peninsula Choir, which meets weekly in the Cove Burgh Hall, has recorded a new song to the tune of Song of the Clyde, which was made famous by Kenneth McKellar.

The orginal poem for the Kilcreggan Ferry was penned by Gracey Flair, before it was transformed into the song.

The Kilcreggan Ferry has been taken out of action on a regular basis by operators Clydelink, who run it on behalf of Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT), due to engine damage, a lack of authorised crew and failed inspections by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Replacement bus journeys are said to take more than an hour when services are withdrawn, with the most recent suspension last month lasting almost two weeks.

Local campaigners and politicians want government agency Transport Scotland to take over the running of the service from SPT, which has proposed putting a new tender out for the route from July.

The Kilcreggan Ferry is described on the SPT website as “the best way to see the stunning Clyde estuary and is a convenient link for those who wish to explore the Rosneath peninsula.”

However the protest song includes the lines: “So many officials, no-one takes the rap, for having a service, haphazard or crap.”

Project co-ordinator John McMurtrie said: “It was great seeing so many people on the pier to support this and raise awareness of the importance of our ferry service.

“The idea came when, instead of holding numerous meetings along with around 40 elected members, whether community councillors, councillors and MSPs, all coming from a different perspective, it became evident that nothing was likely to be achieved, besides waiting for the end of the contract.”

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “The responsibility for the Gourock-Kilcreggan ferry service lies with SPT, but we’re well aware of the recent significant disruption and understand the frustrations of the passengers that rely on this link.

“Clearly this situation is not acceptable, and the song itself underlines the strength of local feeling towards the service.

“Transport minister Humza Yousaf has raised these concerns in meetings with the chair of SPT, Martin Bartos.

“Transport Scotland and SPT are working constructively together towards a mutual agreement on the formal terms of a transfer of responsibility. This is a complex process given the amount of information being considered.”

A spokeswoman for SPT said: “We’re aware of the issues with the Kilcreggan Ferry and we’re trying to work through them with the contractor.”

The lyrics to ‘Oor Kilcreggan Ferry’:

“Oor Kilcreggan Ferry’s went aff again, and a technical fault is what aye gets the blame. But behind this tale of a boat that won’t bodge, are elected officials who couldnae run a menoge.

With all of their powers and all of their might and all of their salaries you’d think it’d run right.

But a quality service from Gourock tae here? Some officials decided that it was too dear.

A cheaper-priced contract would dae folks like us, and if the boat broke doon we might get a bus.

But a ten minute journey tae over an ‘oor? Are we getting ripped aff or shortchanged, or poor?

So many officials no-one takes the rap for having a service haphazard or crap.

Leadership’s fuzzy and woolly, no blame. Or is fuzzy and woolly all part of the game?

There’s millions for councils, such as Argyll and Bute but with Inverclyde cannae work this waan oot.

There’s community councils in towns far and wide. But no fix for this problem on our River Clyde.”