The Scottish Mail on Sunday

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

- 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
TV ADAPTATION: Gregor Fisher as Para Handy in 1990s
 ??  ?? ICONIC: The Vital Spark at Inveraray
ICONIC: The Vital Spark at Inveraray

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