James Caird in Scotland

After reading Jon Brakele’s story about the James Caird, in BaD 97, I thought you might like some photos to add.

The original James Caird is in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich but the replica, called Sir Ernest Shackleton (used on the re-enactment of the Shackleton rescue trip in 1994) is moored at Kilchoan, at the end of Loch Sunart on Ardnamurchan. Trevor Potts, who is a very experienced explorer type lives there. He made the first recorded crossing of the Bering strait from Alaska to Siberia in a sea kayak, has been a member of the British Antarctic Survey, and also organised the re-enactment of the Shackleton trip from Elephant Island to South Georgia, in 1999. He keeps the replica of the Sir James Caird at Kilchoan, but I have yet to meet up with him.

I took the photos yesterday when we visited Kilchoan, by car. I did not have a boat to get close. But if Jon, or anyone else, would like more photos I will try to get afloat and closer next time I am there.

I don’t imagine that she sails very well to windward. Certainly it is amazing to think that so many men managed to sail so far in such a small space, and in such huge seas. My Coaster Whisper is longer than the Caird/Shackleton!

Jon would want to know that Sir James Caird was a very rich mill owner who had his factories in Dundee, Scotland. His business was the making of Jute sackcloth. Later the factories were taken over and converted to making carpets. They were bought out by Beaulieu Tapis based in Wielsbeke and Waregem (the Belgian Carpet giant) in 1981. (I worked as transport manager there in Dundee in ‘82-’83). Caird was one of the richest men in the UK at the time that Shackleton was seeking backers for his trip in 1910, and put up a very large part of the cost of the expedition. If you go to Dundee there is a Caird Library, Caird Hall… Caird this and that. He still has scholarships named after him for students etcetera.

Happy Days from Scotland,

Tom Colville

Whisper of Sunart