‘Belle’ christened at Bute village ceremony

William Neill's lobster fishing boat Belle was officially named in a ceremony at Kilchattan Bay's old quay on Saturday, July 11, 2015.
William Neill's lobster fishing boat Belle was officially named in a ceremony at Kilchattan Bay's old quay on Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Kilchattan Bay, at the south end of Bute, may not feature prominently in the Clyde’s proud history of ship launches - but that all changed, at least in a small way, on Saturday.

The village’s old quay was the venue for the naming ceremony for the Belle, a small lobster fishing boat painstakingly built up from a near-useless shell by Aberdeenshire fisherman William Neill.

Mr Neill normally fishes for lobster out of the village of Johnshaven, between Montrose and Stonehaven, but has been temporarily resident in Kilchattan Bay since last summer as he investigates whether the Clyde might be an equally fruitful fishing environment than the North Sea, while proving a safer working area during the autumn and winter.

The construction/conversion of the Belle - which in fact took to the water earlier in the week, a low tide precluding an actual launch on Saturday - has mostly been carried out by Mr Neill in front of the former St Blane’s Hotel in the village.

That made it all the more appropriate that the naming ceremony should coincide with an open day at the property to show off its new function as a self-catering holiday let.

* More in this week’s edition of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, July 16.