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October 2018

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The Berwick yard constructed a number of small ferries to different designs over the years.

Rosehaugh launched in October 1967 and completed the following March was the biggest ferry to be completed at Berwick.  Capable of carrying 17 cars and up to 150 passengers, the vessel was ordered by Ross and Cromarty Council. Propulsion was via Voith-Schneider propellers which made Rosehaugh highly manoeuvrable. 

Rosehaugh launch.
Rosehaugh was launched in October 1967. The ferry was built at a cost of £95,000 for Ross and Cromarty Council. The vessel was too big to go down the slipway,and was given a side launch at high tide.
Photo:© Berwick Advertiser

Rosehaugh on Kessock run.
Rosehaugh at work on the Kessock run.
Photo: Mike Leslie Collection.

Over the years Rosehaugh was to carry thousands of passengers on the short Kessock run connecting Inverness and the Black Isle. 

Following the opening of the Kessock Bridge in 1982 the vessel was transferred to Loch Linnhe on the West Coast of Scotland and provided a service between the Corran Narrows. 

Rosehaugh was withdrawn from this route in 2001 after being replaced by a new vessel. 

After being sold by Highland Council Rosehaugh ceased being used for passenger duties. In 2005 the former ferry was being operated by MacDonald Ferries as an oil support vessel based at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth. 


The ferry Rosehaugh.  Work on the Kessock bridge that opened in 1982 can be seen going on in the background.  The opening of the bridge led to the withdrawal of the ferry service.

The ferry Rosehaugh. Work on the Kessock bridge can be seen going on in the background. The opening of the bridge in 1982 led to the withdrawal of the ferry service.
Photo: ©

Rosehaugh was sold to MacDonald ferries and is seen here  loading drill casings at the Service Base, Invergordon. Rosehaugh was previously the Kessock ferry.

Rosehaugh was withdrawn from passenger duties and sold to MacDonald ferries. The vessel is seen here loading drill casings at the Service Base, Invergordon.
Photo:© Pat Swanson

Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania was the destination for two diesel-engined ferries built in 1965 and 1968.  The second of these was the Usiwe Kupe powered by two 78½-horse power Kelvin engines.  On completion, the ferry was towed to Antwerp before being transported to Africa as deck cargo. 

In 1998 Usiwe Kupe was operating on one engine while the other was in Mombassa for repairs. After experiencing difficulties in strong winds while taking passengers across Kigamboni Creek Usiwe Kupe sank at the entrance of Dar-es-Salaam harbour .  The Tanzanian navy made unsuccessful attempts to refloat the vessel in the following March and Usiwe Kupe was later declared a total loss.

Usiwe Kupe
The Berwick-built Usiwe Kupe would be a vital daily link transport for thousands, carrying passengers and vehicles across Dar-es-Salaam harbour until her loss in 1998.
Photo: D.Redfearn Collection

Ferry on the River Oti.

Not all ferries built at Berwick were of single-hull construction or indeed designed for estuary operations.  In February 1955 work was completed on a pontoon ferry ordered on behalf of Buem-Krachi District Council, Togoland by the Crown Agents Marine Department.  The ferry was designed to cross the fast-flowing River Oti to provide a year-round link between the town of Kete-Krachi and Nkwanta.  The river had a 29-foot flood-time rise and the existing vessel was ill suited for year-round operations. 

The solution was to build a ferry comprising of six pontoons that were three-foot deep. The significance of the shallow draught was that the ferry could be operated in only four feet of water.

Propulsion was achieved by hand-operated winches fitted to two of the pontoons that were connected to ropes tethered to the shore.  Raised ramps at each end allowed the ferry to load up to four trucks at a time. After shipment to the Gold Coast via Liverpool, the pontoons were then transported inland to their destination where they were bolted together and overlaid with a wooden deck.



Grenadines Star stamp.The final ferry to be built at Berwick was the Grenadines Star that left the Tweed in November 1978 bound for West Indies.   Eighty-two feet long and displacing just over 252 tons, Grenadines Star was designed for carrying passengers and vehicles on inter-island routes. The vessel took just over ten months to complete and was built at a cost of approximately £250,000. Maximum carrying capacity was 100 tones liquid cargo or 80 tons dry cargo. Fitted with a hydraulically operated ramp Grenadines Star was designated a ‘LCT’ (landing craft) in marine terminology. Grenadines Star was advertised for sale in 2005 having undergone a major refit in 2004. The vessel is now French-flagged and in 2007 was working out of St Barthélemy in the French West Indies.

Grenadines Star at Union Island.
Grenadines Star pictured here in 1981 at Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Photo:ole©
Grenadines Star pictured in St Bart's in October 2007.
Grenadines Star hard at work in St Barts (French West Indies) on 27th November 2007.
Andrew Hayton

Grenadines Star at Fort de France,
Another picture of the Berwick-built Grenadines Star this time at Fort de France, Martinique in April 2008.
Photo: © Yvon Perchoc

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