Tuesday, April 07, 2009
In the darkness we swung round the outer harbour wall at Troon. The moon and constellation Plaedes could be seen behind the lighthouse.
From far out at sea, we had heard a strange roaring noise. It turned out to be a huge shredder which was chipping logs. This grab crane was feeding about 20 logs at a time into this tree slaughter-house. There was no fine end as bedroom furniture for these pine trees!
Recently we had seen a huge pile of logs on Portavadie pier. Perhaps it was these ones which were now being chipped. By shipping logs to Troon, the west coast roads are spared a lot of heavy timber lorry traffic.
We made paddled past the High Speed Ferry terminal and made our way into the inner harbour where the fishing fleet was unloading.
The welcoming lights of the Wee Hurry fish and chip shop can be seen on the quay. Fresh fish is cooked to order, it is well worth a visit. They serve a variety of seafood dishes including things like cullen skink soup, squat lobster-tails in spring rolls, battered langoustines and of course haddock and chips! For those with a more sophisticated palate, McCallum's Oyster Bar is right next door.
We then explored the rest of the harbour. At low tide a series of tunnels, linking the inner and outer harbour, are big enough to paddle through but do so on a falling tide! We then paddled past the Trent class RNLI lifeboat. In the distance multi coloured containers under floodlights marked the RORO freight ferry terminal for Ireland. This opened in 2001. In the 1960's this was a ship breaking quay and I remember destroyers and submarines meeting their end here.
Finally it was time to go home and we paddled round from the harbour back to the Ballast Bank. The lights of the rest of the returning fishing fleet stretched away into the darkness of the Firth of Clyde.
Please note this is a busy working harbour, even at night. Look up the P&O ferry timetable before you come and avoid ferry arrival and departure times. Fishing boats and yachts can arrive or leave at any time so keep a sharp lookout and have a bright white light on each kayak.
I have previously written about the clipper City of Adelaide whose hulk lies on a slipway in Irvine on the Clyde coast. There is a real threat that she will now be broken up.
Adrian Brown of Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Preservation Trust has created a petion to 10 Downing Street for UK residents or UK expats living in South Australia.
'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to acquire the world heritage clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ and offer her as a cultural gift to the people of South Australia for their 175th birthday in 2011, or to the Royal Australian Navy for its 100th Birthday also in 2011.'
He provides further details of her current situation.
The Scottish Maritime Museum (SMM), which owns the ‘City of Adelaide’, has been served notice to vacate the site where the clipper is located. The SMM cannot afford to move her and have applied to demolish her with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Preserving the clipper by gifting her to the people of South Australia would be a far nobler outcome than the international community witnessing HLF funds being used to destroy this important piece of British and Australian history. Historic Scotland describes the ‘City of Adelaide’ as a vessel of high cultural significance at international level. Eminent History Professors have described her “as the only surviving sailing ship built to give regular passenger and cargo service between Europe and Australia, she represents a whole foundation era of Australian social and economic history. It is difficult to imagine a more vital icon of the making of modern Australia and of the relationship between Britain and the Australian colonies.”
The petion can be accessed here.
Read more about Australians' view of the City of Adelaide here.