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Eilean Dubh Ferry, Inverness
Ships and Harbours
No: 277   Contributor: Colin Dunn   Year: 1968   Country: United Kingdom
Eilean Dubh Ferry, Inverness

This shows the ferry taking cars from the slipway at South Kessock.
Picture added on 01 November 2006
add commentComments:
This photo brings back so many sunny memories. As children, we looked over the side to see a huge pod of porpoises leaping out of the water right next to the boat. I don't know if the porpoises are still in the area, anyone see any?

Added by David Forbes on 09 October 2007.
David sadly the old Eilean Dubh was scrapped a couple of years ago in Invergordon. It was probably Bottle nosed dolphins you saw and yes there is still plenty of them around.

Added by Ronald Young on 10 October 2007.
I fondly remember this ferry during summer hols in the Black Isle. I was fascinated as a child watching through the engine room hatch as I think, the twin Gardners responded to the chain driven telegraphs. Also later as a learner driver being manoeuvred on board in reverse to a spot by the wheelhouse, guided by that master marshaller--I didnt know his name but he filled every spare inch!. I remember the dolphins too--happy memories.

Added by Ian Donn on 16 September 2008.
Hi Ian, im pretty sure it was Kelvins and not Gardners that was in her. They were replaced by Perkins when she was bought out of service by Macdonald Ferries.

Added by Ronald Young on 21 September 2008.
It was my uncle, Capt Robert Michie, who was the Ferrymaster at the Kessock Ferry in the late 1950's. Many a happy holiday was spent staying in the Ferymasters house which was located just behind the position where this photograph was taken.
Early each morning I went with my uncle along to Thornbush (I think) where the other boat, Inbhir Nis, was berthed and brought it to the crossing to start work for the day.
Being the nephew of the Ferrymaster I was priviledged and had the run of the place. Back and forth all day, free of charge of course.
Cpt Michie was quite a guy. On one occasion when there was a long queue waiting to board a large car skipped the queue and the driver demanded to be allowed to board first. This request was refused with the driver saying "Don't you know who I am" The reply being "Yes you can still go to the back of the queue. The driver was James Robertson Justice the film star.
Oh happy days

Added by Bill McLaren on 12 January 2010.
How many cars could she carry? it looks like only 3 or 4!

Added by Peter Langsdale on 12 January 2010.
Hi Peter, this pic is a bit deceiving she could actually carry about 9 cars.

Added by Ronald Young on 13 January 2010.
I worked on the north and south peirs and also on the Inbhir nis, in 1962 John Jack, John Linkerlater, Hughie Patience and Alex Macloud were all skippers at this time. does anyone know if any of these people are still alive, added by Bryan Poole - - on the 14th November 2010

Added by Bryan Poole on 14 November 2010.
does anyone remember Jim and Nelly Keir, he worked on the Eilean Dubh collecting fares, he was my Grandpop's cousin, my Grandpop died in 1976 aged 88.

Added by Debbie Sewell on 27 March 2011.
Ian, the chap who could pack the boat was Billy The Boat what a man! He knew how to place the vehicles to maximise space.

Peter, eight - three backed up against the passenger cabin, one in front of the wheelhouse(two if they were minis or if Billy the Boat was working) and four drive on drive off.

Added by Jan on 16 May 2011.
Billy was shown how to load the ferry boat by Alex macLeod the skipper at that time.

Added by Bill Paterson on 22 November 2011.
Going through an abandonned home I came across an old projector. Inside the old projector were a ton of original "slide" pictures taken by J. Arthur Dixon. this exact picture was in the many photos! Very neat!!

Added by Gail on 16 April 2012.
Alex Macleod is my Great Grandfather. He died in 1949. I would love to know some more about him.

Karen -

Added by Karen on 09 September 2012.
Jan? Would you happen to know Billy's full name?

Added by Matthew on 20 October 2013.
The Engines on the Eileen Dubh were Glennifer built in Glasgow. I was engineer on the ferries from 1967-1971

Added by John Crawford on 18 November 2014.
Alex MacLeod was the skipper who sent J.R.J. back to base. On subsequent crossings J.R.J. often had a chat with "Eleck" in the wheelhouse - no offence taken. Alex was my beloved dad. Billy the boat" was one of my dad's deck hands Billy Macdonald by name dynamo by nature. Charlie Heinz was his partner in crime as all frequent crossers and locals will recall. Happy days indeed. Jimmy Keir was purser on Dad's crew and I often paid a wee visit to Jim and his wife Nellie at their home next to the bobby'shouse at the top of the pier at the north side.They were lovely folks but always Mr and Mrs KEIR to me All grown ups were given such respect "in those days." Further to the information re. Billy's parking skills the official number was eight cars, but nine was possible, and again Alex was indeed to blame.I think I know you quite well Bill Paterson! x Finally, I'm sorry Karen, Alex, my dad passed away on , 6th February 1988, so there is a wee mix up here.His father was Donald by name and he died in 1948. Incidentally, Dad was also Attendant Keeper of Craigton Lighthouse, as was my grandfather before him. My husband assumed his duties after Dad's death until the beacon, sadly, became obsolete.

Added by Elizabeth Munro (nee MacLeod) on 18 January 2015.
Hi Elizabeth, I've read your comments with great interest, as I have been trying to find our more about Jim and Nellie Keir, Jim was my Grandpop's cousin, and I am hoping to come up to Scotland next year to visit Inverness, so any info you have would be great. I have a photo of them on the Eileen Dubh, which I will post, it was taken on June 28th 1953. My Grandpop is the one in the middle he was Henry Keir known as Harry, I have lots of photos of Jim and Nellie's house, and would love to know exactly where it is, if it is still there.I would love to visit. My mother who is 90 used to come up and stay with them a lot, her name is Hilda.Do you know which years your Dad and Jim worked on the Eileen Dubh? Kind Regards, Debbie

Added by Debbie Sewell on 21 January 2015.
Just read a book about Inverness by Norman NEWTON which claims that the 6 car ferry vessel Glenachulish served on Kessock crossing at some time. I have no recollection of this and wonder if any other regulars do. I also would like to ask for help in confirmation or otherwise of an early memory that I have of a passenger vessel on the crossing named St. VALERY.

Added by Elizabeth Munro on 07 July 2015.
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