Passing Puffers on the Crinan Canal

2:26 PM

New puffer images have been added to our Dan McDonald collection on Flickr.
This one is of two puffers, the Pibroch and  Smeaton, passing each other on the Crinan Canal and crew members taking the opportunity to have a break and a chat. 

Pibroch and Smeaton

The Pibroch, the older vessel of the two, was built by Scotts of Bowling in 1923 for Mackie Brothers who owned the White Horse Distillery at Lagavulin. The barrels in the foreground hint at the precious cargo the Pibroch carried from Islay to the Clyde docks by way of the canal.  For 34 years she transported coal and barley to the distillery and then loaded up with barrels of whisky to be shipped to the mainland. In 1957 she was replaced by a new motorised vessel, also the Pibroch, and was sold to Duncan MacCorkindale of Troon, who renamed her Texa. After 3 years she was sold to McNeill of Greenock and then in 1964 to Burke of Greenock when she was given another new name, Cumbrae Lass. She was broken up the Arnott Young yard, Dalmuir in 1965.

Less is known about the Smeaton.  She was built by Pimblott of Northwich in 1944 as a Victualing Inshore Craft (VIC) for the Ministry of War Transport and named VIC 33. She carried out work for the war effort and then in  1947 was transferred to the army and then sold to the Mersey Docklands and Harbour Board and renamed Smeaton.  At the time this photograph was taken she was owned by Warnock Brothers, a sand dredging company in Paisley. She was later brought by H G Pounds of Portsmouth but nothing else is known of her after 1965.

My thanks to the Clyde Maritime Puffers and Vics website which provided much of the information for this post.  It provides a comprehensive history of many of the puffers that worked on the Clyde and is a good source if you want to find out more about the puffers in other photographs in our collection.

Kirsty Menzies, Volunteer

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