A puffer was the lifeline of island communities; a shallow-drought, commercial  steam boat capable of  ferrying goods and commodities to and from the islands in all weathers and all seas.  From the late nineteenth century until the war these iconic vessels revolutionised the island economies and became  an integral  part of the community.

Such was their  status and the huge emotional attachment to these vessels - at the time the only link with the outside world - that several films have been made about them and their exploits:  the 1954 Ealing comedy The Maggie, written by William Rose and filmed on Islay by Alexander Mackendrick (Whisky Galore, Ladykillers) and Neil Munro's tales of Para Handy written in 1906  both  portray with warmth the amusing exploits of a wily puffer captain, his crew and Hebridean life.

Without the arrival of the puffer it is unlikely that either Bruichladdich or Bunnahabhain distilleries would have ever been built.


Our friends at Crinan Boatyard and Skipness Engineering  have been working on restoring and old puffer. The aim is to bring it back in to commission one day - and who knows? We may be shipping  barley and barrels around the coast of Scotland again just like in the old days.  

You never know.

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