The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 SCOT II - Yard No 184 - Icebreaker/Tug - Ministry of Transport - Built 1931

Leith Shipyards

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SCOT II - Yard No 184 - Icebreaker/Tug - Ministry of Transport - Built 1931


SCOT II is an ice breaking tug built for work on the Caledonian Canal in Scotland.

She was a very familiar sight around the Canal and on Loch Ness for many years, and as was said she was the smartest ship in the trade.

 Watch the BBC News Video of
 SCOT II here.

Owners    Department of Transport Caledonian Canal
Registered    Inverness Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Icebreaker/Tug Launched    19/03/1931
     Lloyds 100 A1 for Towing   Services  & Ice Navigation  Handed Over    29/03/1931
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    75' 0" Weather    Calm
Beam    15' 0" Time to Water    35 seconds.
Depth Mld     8' 6"      
G.R.T.    59      
Engines    MacColl & Pollock Steam Compound      
Props    1      
Speed    9.5 Knots      
Other known names   N/A    
Current Status    Rescued from rusting away, now awaiting restoration and back home on the Caledonian Canal.    
Content on will be added as and when available. 

She is seen here on trials in the Firth of Forth

(Photo courtesy of the Loftsman collection)

Ships History

As she looked after conversion to Diesel in the 1960's
(Photo from the Save the SCOT II group)

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her
on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

The SCOT II had a few owners but spent most of her working life on the waters of the Caledonian Canal, where she was a well known sight on the waters.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.

The sorry state of the old ice-breaker tug Scot II, before she was rescued by the Save the Scot II group, who hope to be able to restore her to her former glory and to see her back plying the waters

of the Caledonian Canal again.

You can see a lot more of her restoration project and as she was when she was the finest in the trade on the Caledonian Canal the waterway that connects the east coast of Scotland with the west coast.




The photograph above shows the fine lines of her stern, shades of the old "Clipper ships" there.

The restoration of the SCOT II is now being continued with her status now as a charitable trust being set up, which now means she has every chance of being restored.

She is still in a sorry state and this will be a massive restoration project which will mean that she is going to require help from all quarters from knowledge to funds and the following recent photographs show just how large a project this is going to be.



To be continued.

Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.




Pencil drawing by Hector MacDonald who was 1st mate on her for many years.

Some photographs sent into the website by H. Boa and yet another good reason to get this old lady restored, they are from memories of a school trip taken in 1975 the trip was taken down the canal and for many of the children of the Knockbain school this would be the first time on a ship, with the pictures taken when the ship was still looking in good nick, before her owners then had a go at wrecking her and trying to convert her using people who did not really know what they were doing when it came down to ship renovation or conversion.


More memories of a school trip down the Caledonian Canal in 1975


Old steam tug and the barge "Great Ouse" on the Caledonian Canal 1975

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.

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-1 #2 RONNIE GORDON 2017-01-21 09:01
I towed Scot2 from the shipyard to Ardyne after her wheelhouse and cabin had been removed. It was most unfortunate that a column of water from a seawall drain filled her with rainwater and sank her, she was refloated at a very low tide when we enlisted a Green Godess fire engine to quickly expel the water. I'd love to see any improvements when they're done.
0 #1 roger squires 2011-09-05 17:05
I have in my Narrowboat a Ruston &Hornsby 3ydz No.460262.built in 1960. this engine was dispatched to henry Robb Leith for installation in the Tug Scott11" so i believe i have the Generator engine which was installed in this tug.

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