Sad ending for ‘Ardfern’

Taken in the early 60s, Ardfern partly raised in the Cinan Canal after being holed by thick ice.

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Puffer enthusiast and reader David Wright, who grew up in Bellanoch and now lives in Largs, sent in this photograph of the ‘Ardfern’ puffer taken in the early 1960s.

Ardfern sank entering the canal locks at Crinan. With the canal frozen over, disaster ensued as the ice went through the thin plates of the puffer. She was on her way to the islands with a full cargo of coal at the time.

Ardfern lay at Crinan and was later salvaged and towed to the Clyde to be scrapped at Dalmuir in 1966. Built in 1910 at the yard of Peter MacGregor, Kirkintilloch, and owned by Warnock Brothers, Paisley, the 99 ton vessel finished her days sand dredging in parts of the Clyde.

David also recalls the black and white boat behind Ardfern was a houseboat named Forray, owned by a Mr Brown who stayed on it all the time. And the little caravan, which was painted green and cream, belonged to Mr and Mrs Weston of Westons Biscuits for their summer retreats.