A COUPLE left stranded in a Gourock guesthouse on their honeymoon during the storm which sunk the sugar boat are returning to visit the wreck and renew their vows.

John and Pauline Conway tied the knot on January 29 1974, the day the Captayannis sank at the Tail 'o the Bank.

The pair got married in Bishopbriggs but planned a short stay in a hotel in Dunoon which entailed a ferry from Gourock Pier.

John, 68, who now lives with his 67-year-old wife in North Carolina in the United States, said: "Upon arrival at Gourock at around 9.45pm that night, we were told that all ferries were off due to the storms still raging around.

"When I questioned this I was told that 'a boat had sunk out there'.

"My new wife and I now found ourselves stranded on our honeymoon night, in a storm, in Gourock - off-season.

"I knew that there were some B&Bs somewhere along Kempock Street so we set off into the night with the wind howling and the rain battering down on us."

The newlyweds traipsed around the rain-soaked streets looking for somewhere to stay but all the B&Bs were closed.

John said: "Eventually, we saw another place which was also in darkness except for a single internal downstairs light.

"We knocked on the door and eventually the landlady opened it.

"We explained that we were stranded for the night because of the storm and she explained that it was off-season and she had no rooms available.

"I pleaded with her and we must have looked pathetic in the howling rain, because she relented and said that as long as it was just for the night and we accepted that the room would be cold then we could stay."

The welcome was equally as lukewarm when they had to ask for a Hoover after Pauline opened her small suitcase, only to find it was booby-trapped, with confetti showered across the room.

John said: "The landlady brought the vacuum cleaner upstairs herself just to see what we'd done to her room."

But when she spotted the confetti she smiled and asked if they were newlyweds.

When they said yes, she asked them to go downstairs and opened a bottle of fizzy Italian wine to toast their wedding.

The next morning John and Pauline caught the ferry to Dunoon for the remainder of their short but unforgettable honeymoon.

Fast forward 45 years the pair are returning to the UK and are spending a few days in West Kilbride.

They plan to come to Greenock to revisit the wreck and renew their vows.

John hails from Glasgow and Pauline from Bishopbriggs and when John was a child his parents took him on holiday to Dunoon, so that's why they decided to go on honeymoon there.

After they got married John and Pauline moved around quite a lot, living in Anniesland, Linwood, Milton of Campsie, Milton Keynes and Reading before returning to Scotland to live in a village near Melrose then heading off to America

They were blessed with two sons, Martin and Tony, and six grandchildren aged from 12 to four-year-old identical twin girls.

John was a police officer for many years before working in local government.

The pair relocated to the States 13 years ago so Pauline could take up a promotion as a director in the food industry.

John meanwhile graduated with Honours in English and history from the University of North Carolina.

John said: "We are both retired now.

"Both of our sons attended college in the USA and after graduation they met and married American girls."

But John and Pauline have had their ups and downs like any other married couple including the tragic loss of their son Tony four years ago.

John said: "Sadly, Tony died in 2015 from Motor Neurone/Lou Gehrig's disease.

"Luckily we still have his two beautiful daughters, Cora and Louise.

"Our older son Martin lives nearby with his wife Julie and their four children, Clare, Ryan, Ella and Louise."