Stranraer Port Memories
In the January issue of Sea Breezes we included some photographic memories of various ferries at Stranraer - marking the end of the town’s status as a key ferry port between Scotland and Northern Ireland (as a result of Stena Line transferring its activities to a new port further up Loch Ryan).
As someone who was involved with ferry companies operating out of Stranraer for over 30 years, I could not but feel a tinge of sadness at the passing of its ferry port status. Often in the pages of Sea Breezes our articles and stories are dominated by ships and the people who sail them. Less often do we focus on the towns and cities brought to life by maritime trade and whose identity is founded on the sea.
Stranraer was one such town. In common with a number of other small to medium towns around the UK coast – Holyhead, Fishguard, Folkestone, Harwich, to name but a few – it was located at the “end of the line” of the rail network. Passengers simply stepped off the train at the harbour station, directly onto the ferries, truly “integrated transport” long before modern governments ever coined the phrase.
The names of these towns are imprinted in the minds of ferry travellers, almost as much if not more than the vessels they sailed on. Stranraer’s proud association with the ferry industry lasted 150 years so I am sure many echoes and memories will remain around its shores, the most poignant of which is the memorial to the Princess Victoria tragedy in January 1953.
I hope those of our readers who have a connection with Stranraer and its ferries enjoyed the photographic montage in last month’s edition.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR