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The Invergordon Archive

Invergordon Harbour
The Invergordon Archive
Invergordon Harbour

A scene at the harbour. Any idea who the people are?
Picture added on 12 May 2004
Foreground is the pontoon moored at the Centre Pier with the Old Admiralty pier in the background. Pic dated between the wars??
Added by Ronald Stewart on 28 September 2005
Ron, is that not the sail boat owned by Freda Ross's (Rossal) father? I remember he had one similar. That might give an idea who the people are.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 14 October 2005
The boat owned by Angus Ross Rossal features in picture #345 Invergordon Harbour; it had a raised coachroof with side and foredecks - the length seems similar, but this vessel is flush decked.
A different vessel I would think.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 14 October 2005
Does anyone out there remember a Hugh Ross? If my memory serves me correctly he lost his legs and had a Yacht named The Elf.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 27 December 2005
Hugh Ross, a farmer from Lochslin Fearn, who passed away about 40 years ago, owned the Elf at one time. The Elf was also owned by the late Phil Durham who had lost the use of his legs. The Elf is now lying derelict behind Tomich Farm, rather a sad end for a vessel over 100 years old. It's a rather sad picture all round Harry!!!
Added by Ronald Stewart on 27 December 2005
I remember Hugh Ross well, Harry, and ironically he came up in a conversation I was having with Bessie Anderson on Xmas Eve.
I think Hugh worked in the Dockyard in his earlier years but I'm not certain. I remember him in his later years and despite having lost a leg I am sure he still used a bike. He lived in one of the pensioner's houses round about the bottom of Park Lane. I remember him having a bit of a booming voice, pretty shrill and not shy to use it!
Added by Graham Mackenzie on 27 December 2005
Think I have a photograph of the boat - I'll post it when I dig it out of the box. I sailed in it a few times. Murdo (Maclellan's?) father bought the boat in the end. I know who you are talking about as the owner of the boat, but am not sure of his name - he lived in Barbaraville I believe. The Hugh Ross I remember was a farmer near Fearn. He also had a sailing boat, called the Ulva I think.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 27 December 2005
Then of course there was Ian Ross from Kildary, a one legged man who owned the yacht Redwing!!!!!!!
Added by Ronald Stewart on 28 December 2005
Harry, the Hugh Ross you refer to did indeed farm at Lochslin. He was a native of Invergordon and his mother lived in Ardnamara, opposite the war memorial . Hugh was also County Commisioner of the Boy Scouts. He was a brother-in-law of John Reid the Painter, and his sons still farm Lochslin.
Graham, the Hugh Ross you refer to did indeed work in the dockyard and lost his leg in a accident while at work. He was a great bowler despite his incapacity and also a great raconteur. But to my recollection he did not participate in sailing.
Eddie, I think I know who you are referring to - his name was Iain Ross who had a wooden leg (who lived in Barbaraville) and owned a boat. I remember him from the old boat club beside the ferry slip.
Added by John Mitchell on 28 December 2005
Ronald and John, thanks very much for the info on Hugh Ross. It's coming back to me now that you mention his mother's house Ardnamara....damn shame about the condition of his yacht that he was so proud of. As it is over 100 years old it would be a great restoration project if it is not too far gone.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 29 December 2005
Hello John. Yes you are correct, I couldn't remember Iain's first name, only his second and the fact he had lost a leg. It always amazed me how he managed to get into his sailing boat - this is the one I have the photograph of. He eventually purchaced a motor boat which he kept in the harbour.
Talking about sail boats, can anyone remember the names of the other big yachts which were owned by Iain(?) Moodie, and the farmer (can't remember his name) over in the Black Isle. I crewed for Hugh Ross and there was some real competition during the regattas between these boats.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 30 December 2005
At this point I must put on my salesmans hat and suggest you all purchase a copy of "A Century of Sail" by John Macmillan ISBN 0-9541023-0-4, published by Invergordon Boating Club and available for just £9.50 + p&p.
The book provides the answers to many of the above queries and a lot more besides!
Added by Ronald Stewart on 31 December 2005
Quite right Ron, sell some books...to your question Eddie..Ian Moodie owned Arielle, a 6 metre that he bought from Richard Brooke from Cromarty (I sailed with Ian for years). Brookie bought Salotte...then later Sabrina..which in turn was purchased by Hugh Ross when he changed Ulva..the other was Vorsa..Stubbs Salvesen owned her..Arielle was wrecked on the Clyde..Ulva was sunk in the North Sea..no info on the fate of the others..sorry. Regards Duncan Murray.
Added by Duncan Murray on 29 March 2006
Hi Harry,

I looked at the date assigned to the picture (1900) and thought if that's me I must be pushing 119! I might feel that at times but no, I have a few years to go to reach that venerable age! Seriously though, I don't think it is me - the picture is at what I would call 'the pontoon', and I don't remember being involved in mooring activities at that location (other places yes, usually unknown to my parents who had forbidden me to go 'down the pier' without them being there. Thoroughly enjoyed all the communications about Hugh Ross, John Reid (neighbour) etc and remember Hugh Ross inducting me into the Lion Patrol of Invergordon Scouts! A real gentleman. He had a yacht called the Ulva.
Added by Fraser Dryden on 17 February 2019
Thanks Fraser,I was hoping that it was you, then could put a proper date to it.
Yes we were all warned not to go down the pier, but we all did.
All the best to you.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 18 February 2019
Hello Harry. Looking at the dockyard pier and comparing it to a couple of photographs in the "drydock" section, I think this photograph is after 1916. There is a building of some sort on the pier, not the new one, and I see a set of steps on the side of the pier, and I don't see the small boat arm on the east side. The construction of the pier looks different as I remember we used to be able to row under the dockyard pier but some of the cross pieces would stop that. Guess if one trolled through all the photographs in the Archive we could probably come up with a more accurate date.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 18 February 2019
Hi Eddie, yes not much to go on here, but will persevere. Maybe someone will recognise something we are missing in it.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 18 February 2019

I suspected that everybody was warned not to go down the pier. An activity which would really have got the parents in a concerned state (and which mine never knew about) was crawling under the decking of the middle pier to fish for 'spoolies',with a short drop into the water. I also remember hiring a boat with an outboard with a friend visiting from Glasgow and crossing to the Balblair slipway, finding it a very choppy crossing, and having the motor cut out halfway back. Fortunately we managed to restart it and all was well. If I'd been the parents I think I would have been up to high doh as well!
Added by Fraser Dryden on 18 February 2019
My memory of passing time on the beach was wading as far as my wellies allowed. I got into great trouble , not at home, but at school the next day when Mrs. Wilson hauled Agnes and me to the front where we were soundly lectured about the danger!
Added by Freda Ross on 19 February 2019
Nice one Freda! There were lots of people looking after us in those days, even if we didn't appreciate their good intentions.
Added by Fraser Dryden on 19 February 2019
Hi Fraser, you were indeed luck you managed to get it started. I was not so fortunate. I was in Hec Macraes boat with his son Robert, when the inboard quit. No way would it start and we were in mid-channel with the tide going out. Rowing did nothing and we were headed toward the Moray Firth. Fortunately someone noticed our problems and alerted the RAF. We were towed in at such a speed that our bow blocked any view, it was so high.
I also remember being with Teddy on the ferry when it was so rough we should never have gone.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 19 February 2019
Hi Harry and Fraser. I remember the small boat with the outboard, probably so does Ron as he was the other "crew" along with myself. It was forever breaking down but we still managed to get from the piers and back again. The boat belonged to the Invergordon Boating Club, at least what existed of the club in those days. It was Bill Smith who obtained the boat for some reason or another. I think it was to act as a safety boat and in fact we did use it for such after one of the regattas when the weather got a bit rough and we accompanied some of the sailing boats back to Cromarty. I remember it being a bit rough on the way back into the waves and wind. Anyway, to try and offset the cost of the boat we used it to take some tourist trips around the firth, I think we covered the cost of the petrol and not much else.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 19 February 2019
I forgot to mention, there was not a life-jacket in sight. I think Teddy's ferry might have had a life-belt, one of those round ones, nailed somewhere.
We had no fear then, jumping off ferry boat onto the seaweed covered slips, then pushing off and leaping back on..
Added by Harry O'Neill on 19 February 2019
Aye Harry, you're right about lifejackets, and we used to go sailing after four o'clock wearing our school clothes.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 20 February 2019
Regarding the dockyard pier cross pieces, I remember reading or more likely hearing about a light railway that ran below the pier deck, don't know if this is true or not, what would it be used for?, the building of the pier?, maintenance?, installing pipework?, who knows! but it might explain the cross pieces, I know there was nothing there in our younger day, can only assume it was between the wars.

I remember Iain Ross with the wooden leg, don't remember the sailing boat, but I do remember his motor boat though, think her name was "Winsome", with a large cabin, about the same size as the one in the picture, he used to take people out on trips, Nigg The Fleet etc., he used to beach her for repairs etc at Balintraid Pier, re his wooden leg he seemed to have no trouble at all getting around on it even on the boat.
Added by Eddie Malicki on 21 February 2019
I think that the Winsome was a cabin cruiser that belonged to Jimmy Bruce from Evanton. They brought her down from Orkney when his wife got a job teaching in the Glen Glass school.
Added by Gordie Peterson on 06 March 2019
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