Wrapped tight in duffel coat, with a spare fleece in one hand and his season ticket in the other, he saunters up to the jetty looking like any other regular foot passenger on the tiny ferry from Gourock to Kilcreggan. He’s certainly sailed this boat many times before. Gazing out across the still waters of the Clyde, he points out the route he often walks across the distant peninsula to get away from the Glasgow grind, write some songs and meditate a little, and reminisces about the idyllic fifteen-minute trip over to the village on the far shore. “We saw three porpoises once,” he says, “and there were orcas out there.”
He’s no ordinary traveller though, no matter how well he knows these picturesque straits. This is Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian and he’s climbing about this plucky little vessel called the Chieftain to give NME a taste of what to expect when he guides the band’s waterborne festival The Boaty Weekender out of Barcelona on a luxury cruise ship this August, en route to Sardinia with a crew of alt-rock royalty and fresh-faced indie-pop pirates aboard. Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, Alvvays, Yo La Tengo, Camera Obscura, Honeyblood and Django Django will be manning what’s arguably the greatest bill of floating entertainment that’s ever set sail from a European harbour, and as he sniffs in the salty foam and keeps a sharp eye out for nuclear submarines (“they have them out here”), Stuart fills us in on the fancy dress balls, ship-wide quiz nights, kids’ parties and special B&S performances passengers will enjoy on both the hottest and coolest boat trip of the summer. That there are a handful of tickets left, Stuart claims, is only down to “the B word”.
So climb aboard, take a seat, watch our seafaring interview with Stuart below and snap up a ticket for The Boaty Weekender here.