#tallships- Last year a visit to Scotland was made to investigate a former Irish Lights lightship dating to 1910 that in much more recent years had been a museumship there but is now to be found relocated in England to finally begin restoration work, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Launched as the lightship, Penguin for the Commissioners of Irish Lights at the Dublin Drydock Company, the vessel now named Arctic Penguin of Glasgow is now a rare surviving example of an Irish built vessel. Constructed of an iron hull on a steel frame. Above decks a fixed lantern was fitted to warn off shipping from the dangers along our coasts. Between 1910 and 1920 the Penguin was located at the Daunt Rock Station. After that decade the vessel served as a spare lightship.
In 1966 the lightship was sold and throughout the last half century has served several subsequent owners. Notably, in 1982 a conversion took place that saw an engine installed on the vessel that became a three-masted schooner offering sail training excursions.
The attractive town of Inveraray on Loch Fyne has been home to this floating landmark for many years. Since 2010, however the ship's role there as a maritime museum ceased. In addition access to the deterioting pier has been closed to locals and tourists alike by Argyl and Bute Council.
Arctic Penguin was towed away this year from the stunning scenery of the Scottish loch to the Cumbrian port of Barrow-in-Furness. Since arrival initial repairs have taken place to the 100ft vessel that is to be drydocked on the Wirral, from where the ship will be restored to seagoing condition.
Instead of operating from the Scottish west coast as previously reported, Arctic Penguin will be based out of Barrow. Earlier this year the north-west English port marked its 150th anniversary with celebrations that included vessels among them Arctic Penguin (see pictured) calling closer to the town quays.
At 107 years old, Arctic Penguin is rightly recognised as a vessel of importance, as the former lighship is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV) which comprises of more than 1,300 vessels. This register is one of several organised by the National Historic Ships UK, the official voice for historic vessels in the UK.