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so they say ...

The people of easdale are very lucky to have the puffer on their doorstep.   It offers warm hospitality, excellent food and even its own brand of comestibles, all of which are worth eating and taking away! But the puffer is not only worth visiting, it is worth going to visit.  The very short boat trip helps to work up an appetite, as does a walk round this fascinating island which has a unique history.   The puffer has won numerous awards and deserves to win more - it is an example of how excellence can be found even in the smallest and most distant places, and a credit to the family team who have made it work and work brilliantly well.



social puffer

the history of the puffer.

VIC 72 - Vital Spark

'Vic 72'  built in 1944 by Brown’s Shipyard in Hull for the Royal Navy  to supply vitals. After she was decommissioned she was re registered the Eldesa and then again renamed the Eilean Eisdeal when she was bought by Chris Nicholson owner of Easdale Shipping Company in 1984. She was one of the last VIC class puffers built to have a loadline certificate to carry cargo. VIC stands for Victualing Inshore Craft (Victual meaning Supplies). The puffers were designed to negotiate the Crinan Canal and their max length could not exceed 67 ft
She was operated by Easdale Shipping Company and refitted with a Scania diesel engine, working out of Ayr harbour and Easdale harbour until her retirement.

The Eilean Eisdeal then had a major refit in preparation for her new life as the star attraction of the Inverary Maritime Museum. Russell Walsh, Ian Moodie and Mary MacNiven, the three partners in the museum, rescued the ailing puffer from almost certain ruin on the mud flats near Port Patrick, in Galloway. They ploughed all their time and energy - not to mention money - into the project to procure a puffer to join their existing vessel, the Arctic Penguin, on Loch Fyne. She was re-registered in 2006 as the Vital Spark after the stories written by the Inveraray writer Neil Munro who wrote about 'Para Handy', skipper of the puffer, the 'Vital Spark'. Inverary is the closest to a spiritual home any puffer captain could wish for. The birthplace of Neil Munro, author of the Para Handy tales detailing the picaresque adventures of the Vital Spark, Inverary is to puffers what Islay is to whisky.

Quotes from Rob Sharp former master of the Eilean Eisdeal