Categories: AyrPublished On: 27.05.2020374 words1.9 min read

We are now zig zagging up the Firth of Clyde and we get to the very commercial port of Ayr run by Associated British Ports (APB). Paul Matthews the HM and his Deputy John Munro run a slick organisation. Together with the HM of Troon (see next post) they also run the pilotage service in this area and further south in Silloth.

3 or 4 large boats a week unload diverse cargos such as salt from Ireland, fertiliser from Antwerp, timber from within Scotland, wind turbines from Denmark, malt for whisky from Canada as well “Green Heart” timber from South America. Green Heart is the hardest of all hard wood being used for underwater construcitons such as wharfs and bridges. Also coal is exported to Belgium. (Don’t even imagine the post Brexit paperwork they are being trained up on!) Each ship needs to be guided in using a pilot, something John has been doing for nearly 20 years. As an expert pilot, he was asked to design and help build a brand new Pilot boat, which he proudly showed me around. Not only does the boat deliver the pilot to the incoming vessel – yes – they have to jump from the deck of the pilot boat onto a rope ladder lowered from the ship, but “SCOTIA”, John’s boat, can be used as a tug and a lifeboat. For us petrol-heads it has 2 x 400HP John Deere engines! Marine kit is expensive – their jackets, with all the latest safety gizmos cost £1,000 each. .

On the wall of the office I spotted the latest type of charts – showing underwater in 3D – so easy to read I hope these are available to us sailors soon! Thank you Johnnie for driving me to Ayr and Paul & John for a great tour. I am sorry I made you late going home! .

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