British Waterways were at a loss as to what to do. Eventually, under the pressure from local people and the press to take some kind of positive action, they decided to sell her in 2005. At that point Dan became involved and offered to buy her, but she had already been sold to Andrew Pearce in Doncaster with terms and conditions requiring that she be restored. Scott II left the canal for the Isle of Bute.
Nothing happened towards her restoration and she was moved over to Ardyne Point where she sunk for 10 months. This caused a lot of damage to her port side. She was raised again and put on a swinging mooring in the Kyles of Bute but as she was considered a hazard to other ships, she had to move again and was dragged up on a beach on the Isle of Bute and left.
In 2009 Dan heard that Andrew Pearce had given up on Scot II and that she was available to buy.
When he went to look at Scot II he could not believe his eyes. “She was just a brown mass of rust.” Despite this, Dan was determined that he would buy her and restore her and began negotiations which were to take about 8 months before a price was finally agreed. Dan bought her in conjunction with his father, James Clark who is an ex-captain of the Scott II.
Dan describes Scott II’s neglect over the past 10 years or so as “nothing short of a crime” and absolutely believes that she deserves the chance to be restored saying “I was and am determined to give Scot II a new lease of life and bring her back to her former glory. He intends that she will be a working boat but also a floating museum with some of her history and the history of Robb’s Yard on permanent display within her.
Despite all her mistreatment, a survey on the hull showed that she is still quite thick. He has been offered help by former crew, local people, and ex-Robb’s workers who still have the skills which are rapidly disappearing in these days where craftsmanship and quality are not valued as widely as they were in the past.
Work has already begun on her on the Caledonian Canal and hasbeen £20 000 spent so far. Another £80 000 is needed to restore the hull alone. Gathering together the fixtures and fittings ripped from her during her previous “restoration” has been one of Dan’s many tasks. He has been surprisingly successful in collecting original fittings such as port holes and davits, has located the original wheel house which is being used as a hen house in the Black Isle which cannot be reused but from which he can construct an authentic replica. I know he would love to hear from anyone with any further information on the whereabouts of parts of the Scot II as he would like to use as many of her original fittings as possible. She is soon to go to Rosyth for further work. Much of the planning and negotiation of the financing and logistics of her repair is being quietly carried out by a Robb’s worker with the skills, knowledge and pride of workmanship to ensure that a proper job is done on her.
So what is so special about Scot II?
As Dan points out, Scot II is the only boat from the Henry Robb Shipyard to be on the national historic ships register.
She is also the most historic boat left on the Caledonian Canal. He has a great, detailed record of her time working the canal, including brochures for the passenger tours, plans and photographs of her down the years and he and I would both be delighted to hear or see any further information about her which might enhance our research or contribute to Dan’s intended display in her when she has been restored.
Above all, how often does the chance to contribute to the resurrection of a living piece of Scottish history from 80 years ago come around?
Dan has already had donations from all over the world, but this is a big project, and as he points out, every little that people can give will help towards getting Scot II fit to serve another 80 years on the Caledonian Canal.
He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Should you prefer to use “snail mail” his address is: Broadmeadows, Fort William road, Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, PH32 4DW
Also, the Loftsman has a brand spanking new website which will be of interest to readers too, you can find this at: