MV ‘Vital Spark’ spotted

Sep 03 2012

Yesterday, after a weekend’s camping (for Scottish summer, read winter survival), I returned home to Edinburgh via the scenic route taking in Loch Awe and Loch Fyne.

As I approached the town of Inveraray, the sign welcomed me to the town, and proudly announced that this was the birthplace of the author Neil Munro.
As a young boy, I recall my grandfather telling me tales about Neil Munro’s fictitious Clyde puffer ‘Vital Spark’ and the escapades of her skipper Para Handy, so I was a little surprised as I drove past the piers in Inveraray to see a Clyde puffer moored alongside with the name of the most famous puffer in the world emblazoned proudly for all to see.

‘The Para Handy Tales’ as they came to be known, began in 1905 as short stories in the Glasgow Evening News, and were first published in book form in 1931, and were made in to a television series in 1963, although no episodes remain as the film reels were lost in a fire. The BBC produced a further series ‘The Tales of Para Handy’ in 1994.