Appeal launched to bring back beauty of historic fishing boat as she returns to Fife

Manx Beauty is due to return to the East Neuk to be restored after operating out of Scottish ports before being based down south
Manx Beauty is due to return to the East Neuk to be restored after operating out of Scottish ports before being based down south
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A classic Fife fishing boat which is the last of its type afloat is poised to make a historic return to the East Neuk to undergo a £200,000 restoration.

Manx Beauty is due to arrive by road over the weekend, 82 years after leaving her Cellardyke birthplace as the last boat to have been built there.

The vessel, which is being transported under escort to nearby Pitkierie, will be used for social and arts events such as the Cellardyke Sea Queen festival if the money is raised for her rebuild.

The 48ft wooden boat is the last still-floating 1930s ring net boat, built to help revive the Isle of Man fishing industry.

Manx Beauty later operated from a series of ports including Campbeltown and Tobermory before being based in Birkenhead on Merseyside.

The boat’s fisherman owner, who bought her 45 years ago, latterly used her as a static shop to sell his catch after switching to a steel trawler.

Retired surgeon Professor Chris Oliver, who lives in Cellardyke and volunteers at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in nearby Anstruther, said; “She’s a unique boat that was a vital part of the fishing community.

“We must not let her die. It’s great she is coming back and will be saved from being broken up.”

Richard Wemyss, a member of the community group formed to save the boat, said she symbolised the foresight of Anstruther Provost and shipbuilder William Carstairs.

He was the son of a Cellardyke fisherman who owned an oilskin factory in the village and commissioned a series of new designs of boats after seeing the need for lower-cost vessels during the depression of the 1920s and 30s.

Mr Wemyss said: “The Manx Beauty is important in many ways - one of the few 1930s ring netters surviving.

“The ring net fisheries came into their own in the 1930s 
and survived until the early 1970s.

“Many people remember these beautiful, varnished vessels, particularly on the west coast and in ports like Whitby.

“She was the last Cellardyke-built vessel to be fishing, and, as such, is an icon for the town, representing the end of an era when Cellardyke was one of the most important fishing towns in Scotland.

“It is also a memorial to Provost Carstairs, the owner of the yard that built and designed her, who was instrumental in the development of the Scottish motor fishing boat.”

The 22-ton vessel was one of four built for the Isle of Man, whose huge fishing industry declined rapidly early last century, when fleets from the west of Scotland and Ireland moved in.

Mr PJ Moore, who represented The Manx Government at the launch of the Manx Beauty and her sister vessel Manx

Fairy in 1937, said: “The boats are of the very latest type and equipped for both ring-net herring fishing and seine-net white fishing.

“They will be able to operate all the year round and to carry on fishing at other ports besides those of the Isle of Man. They are cheap to run.”

The vessel was sold in 1951 and moved to Anglesey, then later to Campbeltown in 1966, Tobermory in 1968 and Cornwall in 1972.