-> 2009 -> Islay and Puffers

Monday, 19/Jan/2009

Islay and Puffers

Once upon a time puffers were vital to Islay, bringing in many of the supplies from the mainland for the distilleries as well as the population. Examples include these puffers at Port Askaig pier or the distillery owned puffer Pibroch supplying Caol Ila distillery. With the introduction of the roll-on roll-off ferries the puffers one by one disappeared and only a handful survived:

Having been fascinated by boats and ships since my childhood I found it very interesting to read about the Bruichladdich Shipping Line on the Bruichladdich blog back in October. A few days ago I found more about it (and the initial spark for this blog entry): The Vital Spark's last journey up the Crinan Canal - a set on Flickr. The set includes some great pictures including this one of an Ileach - An Islay man, otherwise known as Duncan McGillivray of Bruichladdich distillery.

Trying to find some further information about this puffer online proved to be a challenge, as there seem to have been a number of boats who were used as Vital Spark in the different Para Handy series. I believe the right one is the VIC 27, aka Auld Reekie, which until recently was owned by the Inveraray Maritime Museum. There's also some information in the MAGGIE (VIC 27) [was Auld Reekie] forum.

Fingers crossed that everything will go well now under the new ownership and that Duncan's dream will come true!

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