By Amanda Eleftheriades, photo by Charlie Sherry
The Skylark IX, one of the little Dunkirk rescue boats, embarked on a new stage of her own recovery journey today as she was piped out of Dumbarton bound for the Maritime Museum in Irvine.
The little boat with a big history was waved off from Denny Tank Museum in Dumbarton by members of the Skylark Recovery Trust and a crowd of well-wishers from the local community.
The Trust was set up to rescue the little boat from the bottom of the River Leven in Balloch where she lay rotting after years of service as a pleasure cruiser on Loch Lomond.
And after much tender loving care by volunteers from Alternatives Community Drug Services, the Skylark IX was ready to be handed over to a professional restoration team who will continue to bring her back to her former glory.
The team at the Maritime Museum in Irvine will continue to work with local volunteers from West Dunbartonshire who will receive expert training to bring the little craft back to life – the end goal is to have her ready for the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk in 2020.
Paul Lee, volunteer with the Skylark Recovery Trust and Alternatives, said: “We helped make a replica of the Skylark out of parts of the boat – we planed down some of the wood and used a rusty nail to make the anchor.
“I had the fantastic opportunity to go over to Dunkirk with the Trust and we sailed the model at Dunkirk, it was a very humbling experience – I didn’t fully appreciate it until I was standing on the beach, what those soldiers went through.
“It’s a privilege to be part of the Skylark’s journey and hopefully one day we will be able to sail over to France in her once again.”
Read the full recovery journey of the Skylark IX in the first issue of Clydesider due out later this year.