Back in 1993/94 Trevor Potts, who runs the Ardnamurchan Campsite, sailed from Elephant Island in the Antarctic to follow Ernest Shackelton's epic 800-mile voyage to South Georgia. Trevor raised the money for the boat he and his three companions used, which he called the Sir Ernest Shackleton. She is now promised to the Scott Polar Research Institute's Polar Museum in Cambridge, so Trevor is carrying out some maintenance before she leaves.
The trailer on which she has spent recent winters had collapsed under her, so when worked started yesterday afternoon the first job was to remove it and position the boat so she was easily accessible. Stage one was for Hughie MacLachlan operating a JCB to lift her while Trevor used his van to pull out the old trailer. Looking at it, it's a miracle the boat has stayed upright.
While Hughie held the boat in position, Rob Bolton set about removing the two keels which Trevor had fitted when the Sir Ernest Shackleton was operating in local waters.
These both gave her better handling and enabled her to sit upright on the mud at low tide.
A plank, supported on four sets of breezeblocks, was then placed under the length of her keel, and the boat lowered so she rested on it. Four pinewood props were then placed to hold her upright before the strops were removed.
Hughie's only problem then was getting the JCB out without knocking the boat over.
With the boat stable, The Diary had the privilege of being invited on board. Trevor and his three companions crossed some of the wildest waters of the world using only sails and oars. They carried no engine, life raft, or emergency radio beacon, and they had no escort craft.
This is a view into the accommodation area. The circular hole in the floor is where the gas stove was fitted. It's certainly an extremely confined space in which four people had to survive during the fourteen days the voyage took them, particularly as they encountered four full gales, one of which was a severe storm force 10.
It's hoped to have the Sir Ernest Shackleton on her way to Cambridge in the new year.