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Some of my favourite haunts, visited in the past on family holidays


The Crinan Canal and the puffer Vital Spark.

Vital Spark was the name of the coastal steamer, or puffer, used for carrying coal and other goods rather inefficiently around the islands of the Inner Hebrides, immortalised in the Tales of Para Handy, by Hugh Foulis (alias Neil Munro of the Glasgow Evening News) and originally written for that paper about 1900. First published in book form in November 1931, the stories subsequently were turned into three TV series between 1965 and 1974, in which this boat had the star role. She now lies rusting away in one of the canal basins at Bellanoch on the Crinan Canal.

How about bringing the old girl out of retirement for a remake of the series, somebody??!! The gentle humour of the books needs airing again in these days of violent and often senseless programmes aimed at those who cannot seem to understand subtle nuances of the English language.

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