Ferries 5: Life After the Tay

Sir William High Ferry
Campaign to Bring Back the Abercraig Ferry
Scotscraig on Popeye Filmset
Scotscraig on Popeye Filmset
Scotscraig on Popeye Filmset

Once their sailing days on the Tay were over, life afloat did not always come to an end for the Fifies.

Sir William High and Tayfield

The Sir William High was sold to a Nigerian company in 1953, and she was towed out to Lagos. She then steamed four hundred miles up the Niger River, was renamed Ojukwo and ended her days as a ferry on the Niger. She was not however the furthest travelled Fifie. After the Tayfield was taken out of service in 1853 she was sailed to Australia where she paddled up and down the Richmond River until being wrecked in 1859.

Abercraig and Scotscraig

After the end of the ferry service, at first the Abercraig and Scotscraig languished in dock in Dundee, their glory days on the Tay over. Eventually they both headed for a new life in Malta. For some years they were used as pleasure vessels, until their usefulness in that capacity came to an end. The Abercraig lay for some years in a Maltese harbour. Spotted there at various times by visiting Tayside holidaymakers, a campaign was mounted at home to attempt to save her and return her to Dundee. Despite all attempts, sadly the campaign failed, and she was broken up and sold for scrap in 1995.

Scotscraig the Film Star

At least the Scotscraig had some final moments of glory. These colour pictures show how she ended her days, incredibly, as part of the 1980 Popeye film set. This was at Il-prajjet in the north-west of Malta. Half-sunk and realistically decorated with lush vegetation, for the purposes of the film she became a tropical island. After completion of filming the “Scotscraig” was towed out into the Mediterranean and scuttled. However, there is life in the old Scotscraig still!  She has become a tourist attraction!

Watch this amazing film  to see how the Scotscraig has become a popular site for escorted dives. Mostly in English after 3 minutes.

For more images relating to the ferries please search our archive.

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