A WAVERLEY enthusiast born in the same year as the iconic paddle steamer brought his vintage tractor - which was also built in 1947 - to Custom House Quay to help launch the ship's 75th anniversary celebrations.

Roger Blackburn, a retired commercial diver, said he had wanted to bring the pair together for some time and was delighted to do so.

It took the 74-year-old, who lives in Skelmorlie, two hours to drive the Field Marshall machine up to Greenock.

He said: "I've been trying to do this for a long time.

"We're all 74 and next year it will be our 75th birthday/anniversaries."

Roger had to liaise with the vessel's purser to link up with the timetable - then there was making the journey from Skelmorlie to Greenock.

He said: "The fastest it goes is six miles an hour maximum.

"It took me two hours in two sections.

"One time I took part in the road run on Bute and a guy was out running and he ran past me."

Roger hails from North Yorkshire but moved to Scotland to attend agricultural college in Ayr in 1968.

He met his wife Tricia, now 73, who was at teaching training college in the town.

The tractor was built in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire and is a series 2.

Roger bought it from its owner in Glamis in Angus a decade ago.

He said: "It was like a threshing machine used on the farm I was brought up on in Tadcaster.

"It reminded me of my childhood."

The couple's son Niall, 39, joined his parents at Custom House Quay for the link up.

Waverley purser Andrew Comrie said: "It's a great way to kick off the 75th celebrations.

"Greenock is very important to us.

"The engine was built by Rankin & Blackmore, Eagle Foundry, Greenock, in 1947.

"We've always had great support from the Greenock community and from communities along the Clyde.

"This year it really feels as if the Waverley has really come back."

Waverley will continue to sail on the Clyde until September 19.

Roger is pictured with relief skipper Alex Morrison and purser Andrew Comrie