Peter Baylis’s photos of Scoter in her prime

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Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter

Scoter in Norway, July 1962.  Colin Grierson has his foot on the tiller. Audry Grierson is bending down amidships. The guard rail of Peter Baylis’ boat Phakoe is just visible in the foreground

Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter

Scoter in Norway again, July 1962. The boy standing behind Audry is not her son Douglas, but Peter doesn’t remember his name

Peter Baylis has kindly sent us a collection of photographs of Scoter and the Grierson family and friends during the 1950s and ’60s. A family friend himself, he says he was much saddened to see the state she has been reduced to, but pleased to learn she is to be restored. (See the original post on Scoter here.)

Here’s what he has to say about Scoter’s story during the time he knew her:

Colin Grierson was a neigbour of mine both in Wormit and Tayport Harbour where my mooring was alongside Scoter. After Colin died, Scoter was taken on by his son, Douglas for a few years until he sold her to I know not who.

‘Colin converted Scoter for offshore sailing and had many cruises with his family to Holland and Norway. It fell to my lot on many occasions, to help Colin load and unload the many tons of pig iron ballast Scoter had.’

Peter, who owned Phakoe and Ceildh of Fife in these photos, is particularly interested to learn about the whereabouts and history of Ceilidh of Fife – if anyone knows her story, please contact me at gmatkin:gmail.com and I will pass the information on to Peter.

Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter

(Left) Low tide in Tayport Harbour. The yachts float on very soft mud. The boat in the centre is Ceilidh of Fife, the boat Peter had after Phakoe. The stern of Scoter is lower left. (Centre) Scoter on her moorings at Tayport. The varnished boat is Phakoe. Lower left the stern of Seagrim is just visible; she’s the boat Hazel and Brian Kelly owned before they commissioned Idle Duck. (Right) Damaged slide of Tayport Harbour moorings. The varnished boat is Phakoe with Scoter next and then Seagrim. The photo was taken during the late 1950s; Peter says the harbour now is full of expensive looking yachts on pontoons

Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter Alan Buchanan, ceilidh of fife, fife, idle duck, maurice griffiths, phakoe, River Tay, scoter

(Left) This picture shows Colin Grierson, owner of Scoter, watching the first launch of Peter’s Alan Buchanan-designed yacht Ceilidh of Fife in June 1966. (Centre) First launch of Ceilidh of Fife from Woodhaven pier near Wormit, Fife. Colin is holding the port fore guide rope. Scoter is in the centre of the picture dressed overall. June 1966. (Right) Ceilidh of Fife dressed overall on the occasion of the opening of the Tay Road Bridge by the Queen Mother, August 18 1966. The bridge can be seen in the background


(Left)Peter’s first yacht Phakoe, 1961. Picture taken in the River Tay after returning from Norway: note the yellow flag to request Customs clearance. (Right) His second yacht Ceilidh of Fife alongside in Mandal, Southern Norway. The green boat is Seagrim, the yacht owned by Hazel & Brian Kelly prior to owning the Maurice Griffths-designed yacht Idle Duck. Brian Kelly acquired Seagrim from the Kiel Yacht Club, Kiel, Germany at the end of World War II

PS Check out the comments below for more information on this photos, and about Scoter herself.

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Scoter is being restored – does anyone have information or photos that might help?

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Scoter in early 2010

Jan Carpenter has written in to report that he has acquired Scoter – the boat from which Maurice Griffiths took much of his inspiration for the design for Idle Duck.

Idle Duck belongs to a friend, and I have posted photos of her once or twice, while  Scoter has come up in comments on a post about boats used for wildfowling.

A beamy 14-tonner, Scoter was built in 1894 with shallow draught, a transom stern and a heavy iron centreboard and was originally rigged bawley-fashion.

I don’t yet know for what purpose she was originally built, but we do know that some time after she was built she belonged for a time to a leading wildfowler, and it’s said that with two guns mounted on each side of the foredeck for a period she became the terror of the Essex marshes in misty weather.

Jan acquired Scoter because he felt compelled to save her from being burned. Here’s what he says:

‘I’m researching the maritime history of the River Lynher in Cornwall and was made aware of her lying on one of the Lynher’s many tributaries. I felt compelled to save her and have since found out her historical significance, which led me via a Google search to the comments on your website… She’s now safe on dry land and soon to be covered for a full restoration.

‘Any info or images of her in the glory days would be gratefully accepted. So far I have info from Lloyds Register, a copy of a article by Griffiths that talks about the Scoter in relation to Idle Duck and a copy of the book Coastal Adventure by John Wentworth Day.’

In the series of comments mentioned earlier Idle Duck owner Bob Telford reveals that Wentworth Day’s book describes the owner of the original Scoter, a certain Xavier Victor Alfred Octave de Morton, Count de la Chapelle, co-founder of the Wildfowlers Association.

I’m sure we all wish Jan well with his project. If anyone has any information that he will find interesting, encouraging or useful, please send it to me at gmatkin@gmail.com, and I will pass it on. He hasn’t yet revealed whether the restored Scoter will be complete with an impressive set of guns however…

The Griffiths article linking Scoter with Idle Duck has been made available by the Eventide Owners Association; the particular link of interest is here.

PS Don’t miss the comments below – some really good information has been coming in, some of it from a previous owner.

PPSScoter is now being restored by John  Owles’s company Roving Commissions. See more on the Roving Commissions website.