News from my inbox: SS Shieldhall appeal, crossing the Atlantic by raft and surfboard building

SS Shieldhall on the Clyde 2005

Government grants for historic ships have dried up and the SS Shieldhall urgently needs £80,000 if she is to continue sailing

Just a few items from my inbox today.

Historic steamship SS Shieldhall needs £80,000 to keep sailing

One of the country’s most important historic steam ships has launched and appeal for survival, amid ongoing concerns that Britain’s maritime heritage is in decline.

Registered charity The Solent Steam Packet is appealing for £80,000 to secure the future of SS Shieldhall, a historic steam-driven cargo and passenger ship that some time ago was named ‘Flagship of the National Historic Ships Fleet’. In spring 2011 she will require dry-docking, which is necessary if she is to continue to sail – however the cost will be £80,000 to £100,000.  The charity says that budget cuts mean that grants are no longer routinely available to pay for maintenance work on heritage ships, and that our seafaring nation now risks losing many of its most significant vessels.

I sincerely hope they’re overstating the case or we could be in big trouble where some very important vessels are concerned.

Antiki – crossing the Atlantic on a raft made of plastic tubes

People try to cross bodies of water in a variety of craft both crazy and otherwise.

On this occasion part of the twist on this occasion is that the skipper, author Anthony Smith, is in his mid-80s and the vessel is made up of industrial plastic tubes tied together. The link above goes to the expedition weblog.

As you’d expect from the writer of the best-selling book The Body (The Human Body in the US), this silly-sounding voyage has several serious aims, including raising money for Water Aid, studying plankton in the age of global warming, and as a reminder of the dreadful bu often forgotten losses suffered by the merchant navy during World War II.

Surfboard building

Paul Reisberg has written to say that he’s hosting a three-day workshop by Rich Blundell on how to build a hollow wooden surfboard in Pembrokeshire at half-term this month – if you’re going to have a little time on your hands around then, love surfing and woodwork this might be for you. More information is available from the link above, and from Rich’s website.

3 thoughts on “News from my inbox: SS Shieldhall appeal, crossing the Atlantic by raft and surfboard building”

  1. Yes, the good old Shieldhall, beloved of Glasgow pensioners. She was one of two that transported sewage from the city doon the watter to a spot near Alisa Craig where it was released to the delight of the local seagulls. the pensioners got the trip free and a cup of tea forbye.

    The sister ship was SS Dalmarnock and I always felt that some one with the aptitude should pen a sea chantey about the trips. I even wrote the first line "I sailed on the sludgeboat Dalmarnock". It's difficult to get the Shieldhall to scan though.

  2. Here goes anyway

    "The Shieldhall was a sludgeboat

    And she sailed upon the sea

    Her keel was laid at Renfrew

    In nineteen fifty three

    To Ailsa Craig she’d go

    In sunshine and in snow

    dropping off her cargo in the sea

    in fog and mist and hail

    up and down the Clyde she’d sail

    To the delight of all, who got a cup of tea

    But the finest thing to tell

    Never mind the rain and smell

    For pensioners the whole trip’s free"

  3. It is a shame that everywhere around the world if governments want to save money, they start with culture. Old ships are a part of every nations cultural heritage and, so to say, of the soul of a nation. Soon as we don't care anymore of these things all becomes expendable and exchangeable. But maybe it is that what governments around the world are trying to do: create a faceless, soulless world where cash counts amd it does not matter if you live in Singapore, Puntas Arenas or on the banks of the Clyde: as long as you buy and sell and make money and the money is directed in the pockets of some wealthy few with whom the heads of state play golf. That is the god that all these Camerons and Merkels and Sarkozys and Berlusconis and Blairs and Schröders and Putins and whatever name they misuse are worshipping: money and power.

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