Built for Samuel Fyfe Nicol of Greenock, Kelpie was one of the first puffers specifically built for coastal service. Her and her sisters' hulls had taken on more of the shape of the gabbarts than the scows, with a more pronounced sheer.
She foundered off Greenock on 21 February 1885 but was salvaged and came into the ownership of Clarkson & Beckitt of Maryhill that same year. In 1890 she was being managed by John S Munro for Munro & McKean of Glasgow and by 1915 she had moved across the North Channel to James Shiels of Sand Quay, Belfast. Broken up in 1919.