Lochnevis off Muck – Main Text

Lochnevis painting an unusual, innovative design & shape of ship, a new ferry for Caledonian MacBrayne’s  shown here in her environment.


'Loch Nevis' off Muck
‘Loch Nevis’ off Muck

91.5 x 61 cm (36″ x 24″), available as a signed numbered ‘Heritage’print edition of 25.

This original Lochnevis painting can be enjoyed by anyone lucky enough to sail on this delightful little ship Loch Nevis to make the great tour of the Small Isles (Inner Hebrides) off the west coast of Scotland.

This painting is the third in a series of commissions which started with Clansman departing Castlebay, Barra produced for Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries.

This splendidly atmospheric painting shows the ship in her natural environment and is displayed on-board the ship Loch Nevis in her saloon.

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Loch Nevis, the painting

Calmac required 3 paintings of their new ship.

One for the salon on the ship, one for the lady who would name the ship and one for the board room.

The new ship was to carry vehicles in addition to passengers.

It was decided by Caledonian MacBrayne board of directors to fly me, their chosen artist to Glasgow and take him to the Ayrshire yard at Troon were “Lochnevis” was building, for a special inspection accompanied by her design team.

All 3 paintings were required as with previous orders, before the ship was completed, the artist was contracted.

The Loch Nevis painting was produced in my Plymouth studio after a visit to The Small Isles, the shipyard at Troon, Scotland and to the design office in Glasgow and delivered on time in budget.

I was flown Plymouth to Glasgow then via a meeting in the head office with the designers and to collect a set of general arrangement plans, taken by by car to see and sail on the ferry to be replaced, the diminutive Loch Mor.

This bold move enabled me to experience first hand the environment of the new ship, the better to paint her in her native waters.

Visit to the ship yard
Visit to the ship yard

The managing director of Calmac, Captain J.A.B. Simkins & Gordon Frickers first sailed on her delightful, diminutive predecessor “Loch Mor” on the Small Island route, from Mallaig to Skye, Muck, Rhum, Eigg, and Canna to prepare ideas and sketches these new paintings. “Lochmoor” was the size of a small tug or large yacht, some 30 m LOA, with a crew of 3.

Lochnevis detail 2
Lochnevis detail 2
At the time I wrote in my sketch book  “initially we missed her (Loch Mor) at the quay.
It was low tide and while looking for “a ferry”, we walked right past her!
Standing or rather squeezed on her tiny bridge yarning and swapping jokes with her captain and the MD felt more like a day sailing with friends on their yacht, which belied the toughness of this little ferry.


has over the years served the Small Isles Route sometimes in some very severe weather.
This is no easy task, the island ports and their quays are small, the route reef and cliff strewn with strong currents and seas that can quite quickly produce unromantic hazardous conditions.
Her captain told me that in rough weather he knew it was time to change course when he heard the cook whose galley was directly below him, swearing!
On my voyage aboard little Loch Mor docking proved hazardous and in one case impossible so the Loch Moor unloaded into island boats just as ships have been unloaded for thousands of years.
The quays are today much improved,  upgraded with Scottish Office money.
Loch Nevis detail 4
Loch Nevis detail 4
Lochnevis‘ design was to be  unlike anything seen before.

Here is one of the other paintings showing a different view, port side, of Loch Nevis.

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Outward bound, the small island ferry Lochnevis
Outward bound, the small island ferry ‘Loch Nevis’

Working what was a passenger and parcels route the new ferry was also earmarked for operating a winter service to Armadale on Skye, which would see her loading up to 14 cars.

Lochnevis size was inevitably far larger than Lochmor the ship she was to replace.
Her car deck is wide enough to comfortably load two articulated lorries side by side. 

Lochnevis set new standards of comfort and speed for her routes, today (15.03.2015) she is still  plying her way out of the Sound of Sleat six days out of seven.

Loch Nevis at the Rum slipway Monday 5th September 2011
Loch Nevis at the Rum slipway Monday 5th September 2011

You could acquire or commission a painting like this.

Duties serving the Western Isles of Rhum, Eigg, Muck and Canna.

Loch Nevis operates the winter vehicle service from Mallaig to Armadale.

In this latter role Loch Nevis provides one return sailing in the early morning before her Small Isles sailings and then another in the late afternoon on weekdays.

According to one of her crew, she is the only vessel in the fleet that sees more activity and sailing hours in the winter than she does in the summer!

For those who would like to learn more about Loch Nevis and Calmac but are unable to visit the magnificent western isles the web sites www.shipsofcalmac.co.uk and the official site www.calmac.co.uk are good places to start.

Are you going to miss your chance to commission a similar painting or buy this beautiful print?  

Simply, securely;  to place a deposit or payment on our Payment page  to make this your Gordon Frickers original painting (or acquire subject to availability, a beautiful Heritage quality print)?

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Gordon Frickers © updated 04.01.2022

This Gordon Frickers art signature is on all my more recent paintings.
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