National news item has Montrose link

There is a Montrose connection to a recent national news item about the Royal Yacht Britannia’s purchase of the heritage vessel MV Windsor Castle.

We passed the news release to our Shipping Lines correspondent John Aitken, whose eyes lit up when he saw the name of the acquired vessel.

The story unfolds as follows.

MV Windsor Castle was launched in August, 1963, the last ship built by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company, Glasgow.

She was named ‘Fingal’ by Mrs Marjory McLean, and spent the next 36 years as the Northern Lighthouse Board’s (NLB) tender, 30 years working out of Oban, and six from Stromness, Orkney.

Mrs McLean, later Lady McLean, is the mother of Mrs Christine Smart, Kinnaber, who is well-known for her RNLI connections, and whose late husband, Noel Smart, was chairman of Montrose Port Authority.

Lady McLean’s husband, Sir Ross McLean, was Sheriff Principal of Edinburgh and Lothian, and one of his duties was as a Commissioner of the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Mrs Smart told us that she had been on board Fingal when the vessel had visited Aberdeen.

‘Fingal’ made several visits to Montrose during her career with the NLB, and in March, 2005, Shipping Lines mentioned the vessel during an article about NLB and printed a photograph of her in her NLB days.

Then in July, 2007, she was mentioned again, having been spotted by Mr Aitken moored on the River Fal, in Cornwall, under her new name, Windsor Castle.

She had been purchased in 2000 by Tamahine Shipping and has been maintained to the highest standards ever since.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Leith during the week of 25 August, 2014, and undergo an 18 month conversion, scheduled to open in Spring 2016.

As Mr Aitken concluded: “There’s always a Montrose connection!”