Yours for £95,000 ... Para Handy’s Vi­tal Spark, the last of the work­ing puffers

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Holly Ban­croft

THEY be­came im­mor­talised in the tales of Para Handy, but now the last work­ing puffer is up for sale.

The Vi­tal Spark, named af­ter the boat in Neil Munro’s sto­ries, could be yours for £95,000.

At present berthed at In­ver­aray Pier in Ar­gyll, it took owner Archie McArthur ten years to ren­o­vate her.

The busi­ness­man an­nounced his de­ci­sion to sell his Vic72 puffer, built in 1944, on Face­book, say­ing: ‘A hard de­ci­sion af­ter years of ex­pen­sive works but I have de­cided to put the Vi­tal Spark on the mar­ket. All the hard work is done and the po­ten­tial is end­less. The sale can in­clude the pier, so no berthing fees.

‘You’re not just buy­ing a ship, you’re buy­ing into Scot­tish his­tory and the world’s last pri­vately owned, com­mer­cially work­ing puffer.’

Puffers were the work­horses of the Scot­tish coastal trade in the 19th and 20th Cen­turies.

The Para Handy sto­ries were first se­ri­alised in the Glas­gow Evening News in 1905 and quickly be­came hugely pop­u­lar. Be­tween the 1960s and 1990s, they were adapted into three TV ver­sions in­clud­ing one star­ring Gre­gor Fisher.

Mr McArthur, from Dunoon, said: ‘You are only ever the cus­to­dian of these his­toric ve­hi­cles. They pass through your life and I’ve done my bit now.

‘I will only be sell­ing it on to some­one who has the same pas­sion for puffers and who un­der­stands fully what these ships are. This is an iconic Scot­tish ship.’

TV ADAP­TA­TION: Gre­gor Fisher as Para Handy in 1990s

ICONIC: The Vi­tal Spark at In­ver­aray

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