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Of all the vessels that have worked in British coastal waters, none was better loved than the Clyde Puffer. The lack of a pier was no obstacle to a puffer! Her crew would beach her, unload in the shallows and watch the customers wade in and pick up the cargo. Dan McDonald was one of the few landsmen to sail with the puffermen (made famous in Para Handy) and his knowledge is here illustrated by an unique collection of photographs - most of which are his own.
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Of all the vessels that have worked in British coastal waters no type was better loved than the Clyde Puffer. Millions laughed at the antics of skipper Para Handy and the indomitable crew of the 'Vital Spark' as portrayed on BBC television. For more than a century the sturdy little vessels, miniature bulk carriers of coal, sand, granite chips, grain and like cargoes, were familiar craft on Clyde, West Highland and other Scottish coastal waters. They entered nooks and crannies where other vessels would not, or dared not go. They went to remote places among the lochs and islands where the visit of the puffer provided the sole link with the outside world. Lack of pier was no obstacle to the puffer. Her crew would beach her, unload the cargo on the sand and sail away on the next tide. If beaching was impracticable she would drop a cargo of coal in the shallows and the customers would wade in and pick it up. If somebody wanted sand the puffermen would dredge it from under their keel and take it to the required destination.
Dan McDonald, a landsman who won the respect of captains and crews of the puffer fraternity for his enthusiasm for and knowledge of a craft which he made a lifelong study, often sailed with the puffermen on their voyages. For years before first publication of this book his puffer talks have delighted Glasgow audiences and, when it came out in 1977, the volume was an instant best-seller. It has been scarce and much sought after for many years and this reprint has been eagerly awaited.
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Book Description House of Lochar, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111899863125