puffers & vics




VIC 27      Auld Reekie    


Builder Pimblott, Northwich
Official Nr 168863
Yard Nr 650
Launched 17/7/1943
Delivered 8/1943
Length 66.8 ft
Beam 18.4 ft
Gross 96 tons
Deadweight 140 tons
Engine 2 Cyl Steam Compound

On Naval service until April 1944 when she was converted to a water carrier. In January 1945 she moved to Antwerp and in 1947 she transferred to the admiralty, serving at Devonport, Harwich and laterly at Rosyth..


In 1966 she was purchased by Ardrossan Dockyard Co who sold her on to Glenburn Shipping of Glasgow.

In 1968 she was purchased by the Edinburgh philanthropist Sir James Miller and converted at Granton for the carriage of 20 passengers. As "Auld Reekie" she then operated out of Oban as a youth training ship.

In 1978 she was purchased by the Bathgate brothers before passing into the ownership of Archie McArthur at Inveraray in 1988. He planned to rename her "Maggie" but never did so before selling her on a year later, still officially named "Auld Reekie".

She temporarily assumed the guise of "Vital Spark" when she starred as the heroine of the BBC's 2004 remake series of Neil Munro's tales of Para Handy starring Gregor Fisher.

The last time I saw her, in September 2010, she was up on the slip at the Crinan Boatyard receiving a lot of TLC to bring her back to a seaworthy condition. Her hull had been fully sounded  and her plating was being replaced as necessary, but sadly with the skills gone these are having to be welded in rather than riveted. She still has her original twin cylinder steam compound engine although her Cochrane boiler has been removed and is off-site for repair, and her wheelhouse and funnel have been removed. As of early 2016, and by now owned by Crinan Boatyard, her boiler has been re-installed and she is being made seaworthy once again.  Her own website is at www.vic27.co.uk

The top two photographs show her on the Crinan slip on 23rd September 2010. Part of the hull area due to be replated can be seen port side for'ard.  Below left is her builder's plate, and on the right in her guise as "Vital Spark" for her BBC film role in 2004.




Top and bottom left photograhs are copyright Alasdair MacKenzie   

     Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons