Another high profile job for the
company was the shifting of the new gas production platform T.P.1
built for the Frigg gas field in the North Sea from Ardyne
Point, just north of Rothesthay, on the Isle of Bute to Loch Fyne,
of kipper fame. Loch Fyne has some of the deepest water on
Scotland’s west coast and was an excellent location to finish the
work of this production platform.
Suitably kitted out on the after deck.
T.P 1 underway with Crosby, Winchman,
Guardsman, Alfred in foreground
with Victoria and Margam at rear.
After 48 hrs we finally finished berthing the TP1 platform at her anchorage
in Loch Fyne. The greatest difficulty experienced in this operation was
positioning the rig at her anchorage. It proved far more difficult than
anyone had anticipated, to stop the rig turning. The four Alexandra tugs
tied up on a small jetty in East Loch Tarbert, an idyllic little fishing
village on the Argyllshire coast.
Crosby, Alfred, Victoria and Margam at East
East Loch Tarbert with Loch Fyne in background
Alfred with T.P.1
While awaiting orders we availed ourselves of the local hospitality. Myself
and another crewmember went ashore mid evening, much later than the rest of
our crew and some of the Victoria’s crew. We decided that the back part of
one pub, with an entrance in a small side street, would be our best bet for
a quiet drink, before joining the fray. No sooner had we sat down with our
pints, then the rest of the gang came in, slightly the worse for wear. A
quick attempt at a song was soon extinguished by a rather severe looking
landlord, who was in the company of some equally severe customers, and that
was just the women’s skittles team.
One of the early starters from Swansea, who for the reasons of decency,
shall remain anonymous, was prone to the odd damp fart, when inebriated, and
this was brought to the attention of the landlord’s very large Alsatian dog,
who insisted on discovering the source of this strange smell. The third time
that the dog was pushed aside and told to go forth and multiply was the spur
that the landlord needed to ask us all to leave.
Safely back on board for some supper
and a hat swapping party.
The following morning a request to our Swansea office for some money to be
wired up to a local post office was agreed and with funds running low, a
tarpaulin muster was organised for those wishing to go ashore. The night was
spent in a hotel bar near the jetty where we were moored, where we were duly
offered afters if we entertained the locals with a bit of Welsh singing .We
were only to happy to help foster international relations, but Captain
Heslop wasn’t to happy to be awoken with the gift of a can of ale on our
return, although he did put on a brave face for the photograph.
The following morning we suddenly
received orders to sail, still unaware of our destination. A case of ‘if
they’re spending money, they must be enjoying themselves, Get em out’.
This resulted in the Margam and Victoria sailing from East Loch Tarbert and
because of adverse weather forecasts, arriving in Campeltown a few hours
We spent one night in Campbeltown and , after pressure from our Swansea
office, sailed the following morning with severe weather forecasts still in
operation. Both tugs experienced horrible conditions in the North Channel
and sought shelter in Belfast Lough for a couple of days before proceeding
on passage to Swansea.