HRH The Princess Royal Presents Scottish Maritime Museum Volunteer Photographer with National Award for Capturing Milestone Move of Spartan and Carola 


Alan Kempster, a long-time supporter and volunteer photographer at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, Ayrshire, has been recognised at the prestigious National Historic Ships UK Photography Competition Awards Ceremony held at the Corporation of Trinity House, London, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.

Alan took home top prize in the Maritime Heritage in Motion category for ‘On the Move’, a video capturing the momentous move of two historic vessels from Irvine Estuary to the Scottish Maritime Museum Courtyard in September last year.

The video charts the move of Spartan, a 1940’s Clyde Puffer, and SY Carola, which is one of the world’s oldest seagoing steam yachts, from their previous home on Irvine Harbourside.

The 80 tonne Spartan and 60 tonne SY Carola, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels of the United Kingdom, were painstakingly moved up the Linthouse Vennel with precision and millimetres to spare.

It took over 16 hours to move the two vessels 100 yards from the Harbourside to their new home in front of the stunning, glass roofed A Listed Linthouse. 

The move is part of an exciting new project to create greater public access to Spartan, which is one of the town’s familiar landmarks, and restore the exterior of SY Carola.


David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, commended Alan saying:
“Alan is a gifted and creative photographer and videographer who has captured life and developments at the Museum wonderfully over many years. We’re thrilled that his efforts to promote and sustain our fabulous maritime heritage collection have once again been recognised.

“We’re looking forward to seeing his creative eye applied to our forthcoming festival of colour - illumination : Harbour Festival of Light, as well as other exciting events and projects we have coming up next year and beyond.”

National Historic Ships UK is a government funded, independent organisation, which gives objective advice to UK governments and local authorities on all matters relating to historic vessels in the UK. Through the annual Photography Competition, National Historic Ships UK celebrates maritime heritage around the UK particularly encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with historic vessels through photography and volunteering.

The Skylark IX Recovery Trust was also presented with a Special Commendation Award at The Marsh Volunteer Awards, which were presented at the same ceremony.

Skylark IX currently resides at the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Trust moved her from Dumbarton in May. If sufficient funds can be raised to embark on her two year restoration at the Museum’s Scottish Boat Building School, the Trust hopes to sail her to Dunkirk in 2020 to help celebrate the 80thanniversary of Operation Dynamo.


Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by 

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.



Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine and Dumbarton

o    Established in 1983, the Scottish Maritime Museum is recognised as the principal resource for material relating to Scottish Maritime history, in particular shipbuilding and marine engineering. 

o    The Scottish Maritime Museum is based on the Harbourside in Irvine, North Ayrshire, with a second display in Dumbarton.

o    The buildings and sites which the Scottish Maritime Museum occupies are part of the collection themselves: The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine is housed within the Linthouse, the A listed former Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons which was built in 1872 and salvaged and relocated from their derelict Linthouse shipyard in Govan during 1991.

o    The Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton is located on the site of the former innovative William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s first commercial ship