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 1946 to 1984 CLAYMORE - Yard No 522 - Passenger Vehicle Ferry - Caledonian Macbrayne - Built 1978

Leith Shipyards

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CLAYMORE - Yard No 522 - Passenger Vehicle Ferry - Caledonian Macbrayne - Built 1978



 The Passenger/Vehicle Ferry CLAYMORE Ship No 522


Owners   Caledonian MacBryane Steamship Company Ltd
Registered    Glasgow Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Vehicle/Passenger Ferry Launched    31/08/1978
      Handed Over    28/12/1978
Ship Details          
Length Overall    77.2 metres Launch Details    
Length B.P.    70.1 metres Weather    
Beam    15.5 metres Time to Water    
Depth Mld     4.8 metres      
G.R.T.    1,631 tonnes      
Engines    2 x Mirrlees/Blackstock Diesels      
Props    2      
Speed    15 Knots      
Other known names   2009-SIA    
Current Status   Converted to Cable Layer    
As content on The M.V.CLAYMORE becomes available it will be added here. 






It could get pretty rough crossing the sea's around Scotland

This photograph was taken en-route castlebay to Oban Jan 1978 her other calls to Coll, Tiree and Tobermory had to be abandoned due to the weather conditions.

(Photo taken by Neil King and permission given to use on this website)


Ships History

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 M.V.CLAYMORE was another ferry on the stocks ordered by Caledonian MacBrayne who must have been very pleased with the last ship they ordered (M.V.PIONEER) from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon (Henry Robb)

The M.V.CLAYMORE was the third Cal-Mac ship of that name and she was a half-sister to the PIONEER although somewhat larger and able to carry more passengers she was used on the Oban to The Outer Isles of Scotlands West and rugged coast, where she was a well known sight and a well loved ship on this route for more than 10 years.

With her 4 decks for passengers she could carry around 500 with ease and along with 50 cars on her after vehicle deck she was an impressive ship complete with saloons and bars along with cabins for 32 passengers.

She was a very good sea keeping ship and was also ideal as a relief ferry on the stormy passage from the Scottish mainland over the Pentland Firth to Orkney, a role she undertook from 2002 until 2009

The M.V.CLAYMORE was perhaps the most travelled of all the Cal-Mac ferries having also been used to ferry passengers to Douglas, Isle of Man during 1994 to 1996 for which she was given an International Passenger Certificate for 300.

She was also chartered to Hamilton Oil and ran out of ports in Wales, along with being the summer relief ship for Cal-Mac she was also used as a ferry to take passengers down the Clyde ("Doon the Water") trips were still popular for the residents of Glasgow and she was also used for the annual Govan Shipbuilders trips "Doon the water"

In May 1997 CLAYMORE was sold to Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, a subsidiary of Sea Containers Scotland Ltd. For three years CLAYMORE operated a new summer sailing from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, once this run was complete and found to be unprofitable she was moved to Birkenhead and put up for sale, although she did manage a five week charter to the Faroe Islands in 2000

She was bought by Pentland Ferries and that was when she was on the stormy passage to the Orkney Isles, this lasted till 2006 when her role changed somewhat and she was used on a short term charter to carry livestock from Dover to Calais in France.

She was then sold on to CT Offshore in 2009 and her new owners christened her SIA  and added 4 forward bow thrusters to her hull along with 3 aft thrusters to give her a dynamic positioning capability for her new role as a cable layer where she is still working for the Danish Company.

An interesting working life for another fine ship from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon (Henry Robb)

And long may she continue.



M.V.CLAYMORE at sea in this uncredited photo for now


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.


 Seen here in Port Glasgow awaiting work in this photo taken by Neil Mac and permission given to show here.




 Another rough passage for the M.V.CLAYMORE but this very good sea keeping ship just carries on.





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.

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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0 #1 Lorna M 2013-01-31 00:41
:-) Many a fun time was had on the Claymore going from Oban to Coll and back. Many adventures and things that would not get by health and safety inspectors nowadays!

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