It's been a busy Summer here on the Colvend Coast with record temperatures in July. I guess I must apologise for blog post's being thin on the ground but I hope you will forgive us. There is so much to do around here that we haven't had a spare moment to post. What we do have is lots of material written, in the wings so to speak, and we will be posting it at intervals over the coming weeks.
|Rockcliffe courtesy of Dalbeattie Museum website.|
|Regatta day at Kippford courtesy of Dalbeattie Museum website. http://www.dalbeattiemuseum.co.uk/stories/harbours-and-quays-from-solway-firth-to-dalbeattie/|
Because of the steep and narrow beach, ships to be repaired were floated sideways onto the beach and then winched onto blocks. This launching system meant that re-launching was also sideways, a difficult procedure that once nearly damaged a newly-repaired schooner. The Cummings then laid down a proper slipway, with a cradle onto which ships could be drawn. Once in place, a capstan winch ashore could draw cradle and ship up the well-greased slipway for repairs, then assist in the careful re-launching.
The slipway was finally disposed of about 1914, as the level of shipping declined. James and his brother John Cumming died, the lease was taken over by Mr. Collins of Birkenhead, but the business dwindled to small boat repair and ended in the 1920s.
There are still many prints of the old ships of the Urr in the 'Anchor Hotel', which was actually the shipbuilders' pub. They received a dram of whiskey twice a day as well as three shillings (36 old pence or 15p.), per day in wages. This was at a time when ordinary labourers received barely half that sum. The publican used to cover the benches in newspaper, as the shipbuilders' clothes were well-tarred from their work.
There is still a small recessed slip, but this is not on the line of the slipway, which was slightly farther to the north. However, the Kippford Slipway Ltd., though largely a boat-chandlers, does keep up some of the old tradition.
|Kippford: Sailing vessel crossing the road on the slipway|
(Source: www.old-kirkcudbright.net - The Stewartry Museum Collection)