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The Invergordon Archive

Pilot Boat or Invergordon to Cromarty Ferry?
The Invergordon Archive
Pilot Boat or Invergordon to Cromarty Ferry?

This is thought to be one of the ferries that ran between Invergordon and Cromarty. It carried the post on a regular basis and was run by Albert Watson.
The date of the picture is unknown.
Picture added on 12 May 2004
I remember a boat like this which I always thought of as the pilot boat. It's the same as in picture 397 isn't it? The ferry I remember seeing on its way to Cromarty was a grey open motor boat with a shelter and no funnel.
Added by Anon on 13 September 2004
You're right. This boat is similar to the boat in picture #277 which was one of the pilot boats.
Added by Malcolm McKean on 17 September 2004
The Cromarty boats were as you say grey. The Enterprise & Endeavour. Not entirely open. There was a cabin shelter forward and the engine hatch and cuddy aft on both boats. I helped out (Black) Albert during my school holidays. Albert was the Cromarty Lifeboat Cox, Cromarty Pilot, Coalman and ferryman. The pubs were State Control in Cromarty as was the Calley in Invergordon then. Albert carried the beer from Invergordon to Cromarty and the mail too went by boat. I think I am right in saying that when Albert finished the ferry it said in the newspaper that he had only missed something like three crossings in about forty two years.
The other ferry was the Balblair ferry. Ted (The Ferry) Ebro ran it.
Added by Pat Swanson on 20 September 2004
This is the pilot boat, otherwise known as the Harbour Masters Launch...took the pilot out to bring in the big ships...my grandfather was engineer, Fachy Dunn..ref to Pat Swansons comments about Cromarty ferry, (black) Albert, wonder if this would be a Watson, remember that name Watson as Cromarty ferry pilot...and remember the boat arriving at Invergordon pier in a swell and them loading barrels of beer with boat swaying wildly...and yes she is correct he was always there although sometimes wonder how he ever made it, fought some strong waves during gales, boat disappeared sometimes...also remember Teddy Aborough on the Balblair ferry and before him "Dougal" I used to help out on that one, manning the ropes and jumping off onto the slippery ferry slip....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 22 September 2004
Harry, with your connection to the pilot boat, do you recognise either of the people in picture #397?
Added by Malcolm McKean on 22 September 2004
Yes Harry! (Black) Albert was Albert Watson. A hardy man he was too. Always with his battledress blouse draped over his arm and his shirt sleeves rolled up. There used to be an old hand-wound crane on Cromarty pier. I don't remember how we loaded them in Invergordon if the tide wasn't right to roll them on. Anyone recall?
Added by Pat Swanson on 22 September 2004
Sorry Malcolm, its been a long time, but a guess would be the chap on the left could be Davey Ross known as Davy Coon, but could stand corrected, other chap is familiar but can not put a name to the face. Davey took over from my grandfather when he retired....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 22 September 2004
Thanks Pat, yes he was a special person...re unloading at Invergordon, yes I remember...he would come along side the west side of the RAF pier and there was a yard-arm put up that swung over the side of pier and then down to his boat, he would hook up to that and it was then hoisted up...I remember it clearly as there was scarcely room to manouver in the boat, but he did it..I remember the locals used to always say that the Cromarty Ferry would be coming, regardless of the weather..
Added by Harry O'Neill on 22 September 2004
Harry, you must have better eyes than I do - where is the second person? Whoever is there will probably be Sandy McClellan who was the deck hand on the boat. Unless it is one of the early photographs of the boat and then it could be Mr. Askew. I remeber that pilot boat/harbour launch well. Ron Stewart and myself were always out on it with Dougal. My Grandfather Peter Taylor used to work in the engine room of the old steam boat (225) with Fachie, who I also remember well, - often took me for runs on the original boat with Tommy Strachan as skipper. Can you remember the name of the Harbour Master in those days? When he retired he spent all his time in a grey rowing boat lifting the cables from the oil pier to the buoys.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 05 August 2005
Eddie, they were referring to picture #397 ??? not this picture, both have been identified in picture 397..sorry I cannot remember the pilot's name, it has been too long, but I will try and find out...and post on here...anyway, Eddie, click on picture 397 above in blue....good to see that you are keeping the site active....
Added by Harry on 06 August 2005
Eddie, my sources tell me that the pilot was a Captain Carson, but did not know his first name...Alistair Mclellan knew your grandfather, I have a vague memory of him also....Captain Carson was a very kind man, used to allow us to go out with him to bring in the ships....mostly oil tankers....
Added by Harry on 06 August 2005
Tommy Taylor was pilot from the late 60s.
Munro Fraser also worked on the pilot boat from 1963 until mid 70s.
Added by anon on 07 August 2005
I remember Dougal well. His wife was a teacher at Saltburn School, and I'll always remember her sending along a hanky and little tin of sweets for me when I had measles as a child. She was very kind to the children. My father Jimmy Andrews used to help fix Dougal's boat.
Added by Jet Andrews (Robb) on 21 September 2005
Pics 397 and 278 are almost certainly the same vessel photographed in early sixties, but Pic 277 although of the same class or type (HLD), is a different vessel photographed between 1978 and 1988.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 27 September 2005
Harry, the pilot you refer to was David S Garson.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 27 September 2005
Hello Ron Long time no speak. Remember the days out on the pilot boat with Dougal? Where are you these days?
Added by Eddie Trotter on 28 September 2005
This is the pilot boat/harbour launch. I was one of the crew from 1980 - 1988, the rest of the crew then were David "Coon" Ross, Sam Lochart, Brian Reid and Paddy Scourfield. Many happy memories.
Added by Simon Beaumont on 10 July 2006
Hello Simon, is Paddy still around? I remember him well, along with Davie Coon.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 11 July 2006
Eddie, sad to say Paddy passed away, must have been early last year some time. One of Invergordon's characters, instantly recognizable on the bike with the beret and the ruddy complexion. A great gardener and a lovely man.
Added by Graham Mackenzie on 11 July 2006
Eddie, I heard from Alistair Maclellan that Paddy died a year ago. I remember him well - he used to play-box with me and was always grabbing me above the knee, and tickling me until I couldn't stand it. Davey Coon is still around.

Simon...are you related to the Beaumonts that lived in the ferry cottages? Davey Beaumont...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 12 July 2006
Hi Eddie, I have lost touch with all in Invergordon since I moved to Faringdon in Oxfordshire but I have remembered the Pilots names. They were Jimmy Mair followed by Norrie Robertson, there was also a Welsh lad on the launch but I'm ashamed to say I have forgotten his name.
Added by Simon Beaumont on 12 July 2006
Eddie - I too remember Paddy Scourfield very well. My father, Captain Frederic Booth, became Harbour Master at Invergordon in 1959. Paddy was his 'right-hand man'. He was very much liked by all our family - he had such a 'nice way' with us children and was very much liked and respected by our famly, as was his wife. I was sorry to hear of his death.
Added by Heather Anderson (nee Booth) on 12 January 2007
I have possession of an identical photo of the Admiralty pilot boat which was passed to me from my grandmother, Catherine Askew, at some point in the past. My grandfather James Askew, was a crew member on the boat during the 1960s. Other crew members at the time were Davie (Coon) Ross who is on the stern of the pilot boat in this picture, Pengelly (Davie?) Paddy Scarsfield who was Welsh despite his by-name and Sandy McLellan who stayed in Allewyn? at the bottom of High Street opposite the Police Station. The pilot I remember was Mr Booth who had a house near Sandys I think. I can remember being taken on a trip on one of the pilot boats, probably this one, out to Cromarty pier, a big adventure for a little boy at the time. Paddy was always jovial and happy, never changing over the years, like Davie too.
Added by Graeme Askew on 11 January 2009
Hi Graeme - yes, it was my father, Captain Frederic Booth who was the Harbour Master you have mentioned. We stayed at number 15 high Street and Sandy, his wife, Nellie and their son, Alastair MacLellan stayed at number 13. Like you - it was a treat to go out on the pilot boat. I remember Paddy Schofield so well - such a likeable man. His wife, Nina was lovely also. I also remember Davie Ross & Mr Pengelly well.
Added by Heather (nee Booth) on 11 January 2015
The Welshman would have been Paddy Schofield who was welsh despite the "Paddy" name.
Added by Jackie MacDiarmid on 20 March 2015
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