Our ‘Little Ship’ is in a sorry state after a lifetime of adventures, including several wreckings, and, indeed, what seemed like the end of her life when she sank in the River Leven in 2010. She’s been salvaged and rebuilt several times and is currently under the care of the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.
Although we had hoped to rebuild her, following an in-depth condition survey and advice from marine surveyors and maritime heritage experts, we have had to sadly accept that she will never sail again.
Undaunted though, we have taken some of her indomitable spirit to go well beyond our original vision with new plans to give her a bright future at the heart of the Spirit of Skylark Centre.
This new immersive heritage experience and boatbuilding training centre, in the grounds of the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton, will enable us to share Skylark’s story and deliver our programmes to more people in need across West Dunbartonshire.
In the meantime, we are busy planning how we best consolidate and strengthen Skylark’s timber planks with the support of Gretel Evans from AOC Archaeology, an organisation with a wealth of experience working with fragile artefacts.
We began initial conservation work on Skylark IX, which is also listed on the National Historic Ships UK Register, in Spring 2022. This work centred on preserving her name, a highly significant feature of the vessel and, before now, in danger of being lost.
The two day project to stabilise the flaking paint and timbers and preserve the name was made possible by the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and carried out by Conservator Rowan Gillis of AOC Archaeology Group.
We’re also working with a structural engineer surveyor on a new cradle to transport Skylark from Irvine to her new home in Dumbarton in coming years.
We hope to begin fundraising for this big capital development soon so watch this space!