puffers & vics


VIC 72     Eldesa     Eilean Easdeal      

Vital Spark of Glasgow      


Builder Browns, Hull
Official Nr 180278
Yard Nr 15
Launched 1944
Delivered 9/1944
Length 66.8 ft
Beam 18.4 ft
Gross 96 tons
Deadweight 140 tons
Engine 2 Cyl steam compound re-engined Diesel 1967

On Naval service until transfer to the Admiralty at Devonport in 1947. In 1967, one year before she was sold into private hands, she was converted to diesel power.  She has also had the classic "funnel to aft of the wheelhouse" conversion, probably done at the same time as the engine. 


In 1968 she was bought by W J Havens of London and when subsequently based at Troon on the Clyde was renamed "Eldesa". 

In 1972 she was sold to Hugh Carmichael of Craignure on the Isle of Mull who employed her still under the name "Eldesa" carring timber up to the paper mill at Corpach and brining back whatever reruen cargoes he could get, She was also occasionally used on salvage work around the western isles - reputedly mainly coal from sunken puffers!

In 1981 she had her moment of international fame when she appeared (albeit briefly) with Donald Sutherland in the film "Eye of the Needle", scenes for which were shot on Mull.

Sold to Chris Nicholson of Argyll in 1983 and became "Eliean Easdeal" of Easdale Island Shipping of Oban in 1984.

When purchased by Archie McArthur at Inveraray, it was intended that she be renamed as "Vital Spark" in honour of the puffer of Para Handy fame. However, a fisherman had already registered that name for his fishing boat and so "Eilean Easdale" officially became  "Vital Spark of Glasgow".

The vessel is currently powered by a 340bhp Saab engine which is believed to be that with which she was re-engined from steam in 1967.    She has been extensively restored and is now moored alongside at Inveraray Pier on Loch Fyne as part of the "Invererary Maritime Experience

The photographs below show her in three of her guises: on top left when "Eldesa" at Ardrossan in 1971, on the right as "Eilean Easdale" at Kyleakin on Skye in December 1990 and at the foot, left as "Vital Spark of Glasgow" at the Clyde River Festival in July 2007 and on the right at Inveraray Pier on the 23rd September 2010.    









Both above photographs are courtesy of the Roy Cressey Collection.


Both lower photographs are copyright Alasdair MacKenzie