A GREENOCK man who became Caledonian MacBrayne's longest standing member of staff has retired after 48 years with the national ferries operator.

Dugie MacTaggart, 66, who has worked for CalMac Ferries since joining as a raw recruit 17-year-old in 1975, called time on his long career shortly before last Christmas.

Originally from Islay, Dugie - who has lived in Greenock since 1991 - first took a job booking ferries in the Port Ellen office on the island.

And before retiring he was working as a revenue protection manager for the company, responsible for carrying out compliance checks at ports.

Recalling the early days of his CalMac career on the islands, Dugie said: “If I went out socialising, someone would ask if I could take a note and book them on a ferry, that was island life.”

He added: “I’ve enjoyed my work but what I enjoy most about the job is being part of the team – working for CalMac is like being part of a big family.

"We all support each other and it’s been a really good place to work.”

During his travels round the network, Dugie came across some characters in offices, on vessels and among the travelling public.

Remembering the Mull Car Rally as an interesting time, he said: “People tried to get away with all sorts during the Mull Car Rally.  We used to offer discounts to motorhomes travelling to the rally so we found that some of our passengers were rather inventive with their vehicles and would try their luck to get a discount by putting a mattress and a gas stove in their back seat!”

Robbie Drummond, chief executive of CalMac said: “During his 48 years at CalMac Dugie has seen many changes – from keeping ferry bookings in a diary to the introduction of an electronic system.

"He was there at the launch of the MV Caledonian Isles and managed traffic for large island events such as the Arran Agricultural Show.

"Dugie has been an integral member of the team. We’re committed to serving island communities, and our dedicated and highly skilled employees, like Dugie, are critical to delivering this.

"We wish him well for his retirement.”

Dugie, who has described himself as settled and happy in Greenock, plans to spend time with his family and in his garden during his retirement.

He has two grandchildren whom he says will keep him busy, and his wife who apparently has a long list of jobs for him to tackle!