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Steam Coaster “Naviedale”

The steam coaster ‘Navidale’ was built in Ayr in 1906 for Spillers (the former dog food company) and named the Wheatear. She carried grain from and to Cardiff until she was sold in 1926. She was renamed Grovenhill and moved to Belfast and probably carried coal.

In 1932, she was sold to George Couper & Co. Ltd., Aberdeen and then in 1948 to Charles B. Simpson, Aberdeen and Helmsdale. It has been since discovered that the ship carried ammunition across the channel just a few days after the D-Day landings in June 1944. The ship was later scrapped in 1956 at Dublin.

The picture shows the boat delivering coal at Wick Harbour in the 1930s. There was a coal pit at Brora, located ten miles south of Helmsdale, which provided a source of fuel for local industry, including woollen mills, distillery and brick works, as well as the domestic market. George Couper also owned the steam drifter’s Helmsdale, Berriedale, Halladale and Rimsdale and steam drifters Ada, Bertha, Clara and Dora.