Rothesay is on an island, which means that to get there you have to swim
and swim and swim. Or catch a ferry. And, as we all know, ferries are
fun. For me, it wouldn't matter where that ferry was going; indeed, I
would quite happily catch a ferry that did nothing more taxing than
bounce up and down upon a few waves before returning from whence it came.
You are constantly reminded about the waves thing on ferries. You only
have to try to move a chair to find it strangely fixed to the floor by
stout elastic rope. This is so you may still be seated comfortably when
the vessel is upside down. Not that ferries are often upside down, you
understand, although in a gusty breeze they can coast over the water at
a jaunty angle that may see your stomach contents attempt an escape.
A day in Rothesay is a step into a glorious bygone era of cast iron
extravagance. Chances are, you will catch your ferry at Wemyss Bay, and
the railway station there is a breathtaking visual feast. The curving
cast iron station was built in the Edwardian period and is a thing of
great beauty. Then, when you reach Rothesay, you are presented with more
tantalising titbits of the great British seaside holiday, like perfectly
preserved and seriously palatial
Victorian public toilets, along with a Winter Garden whose cast iron
was fashioned by McFarlane's Saracen Foundry in Glasgow in the 1920s.
And thanks to the men and women who fought hard to preserve such
wonderful structures, Rothesay is once again a desirable place to visit.