Colintraive’s Heritage Booklet

Steamers and Tourism

Steamer services began from Glasgow to the Upper Clyde in the 1820’s. By the 1850’s over 30 steamers regularly served all the Clyde ports, with ‘tourists’ often writing descriptions of their journey.

Yet few scenes exist in the Hebrides of a more romantic character than those which occur in the fairy mazes of the Kyles of Bute, presenting throughout an intricate combination of promontories, rocks, and islands.

Source: – Bowman, J. E. 1825

‘Doon The Water’

The pier at Colintraive opened in about 1850. The village was now on the timetable of the steamers that were on their way to Arran or on the famous ‘Royal Route’ via the Kyles to Ardrishaig.

The steamers brought with them the summer visitors. ‘Doon the Water’ became a popular journey and, of course, sending postcards to friends at home was almost obligatory. Colintraive Hotel had a “Moderate Tariff” and it also offered a Kyles of Bute Coach Tour, affording views of the most charming Highland scenery. The village also had new shop and a post office

Figure 21: – An Early Postcard (Source:- donor at Colintraive
Heritage Centre)

By 1900 there were forty six steamers at work in the Firth of Clyde during the summer months. They had capacity to carry more than 52,000 fare paying passengers.

Figure 22: – The Columba at
Colintraive Pier
(Source:- donor at Colintraive
Heritage Centre)