Bluebird is all set to fly

The return of the Bluebird will take place at Loch Fad in August.
The return of the Bluebird will take place at Loch Fad in August.

After 17 years of restoration by a dedicated team of volunteers, Bluebird K7 is ready to take to the waters again, on Bute’s Loch Fad.

It’s been over half a century since Donald Campbell became the only person to ever hold both the world land and water speed records simultaneously – the latter set in the iconic Bluebird K7, which tragically crashed on Coniston Water on January 4, 1967.

The iconic Bluebird , pictured in the 60s.

The iconic Bluebird , pictured in the 60s.

The craft arrives on the island on August 3 for a two week stay, which is expected to boost the local tourism industry. It is scheduled to be on Bute for the fortnight.

Bluebird project leader Bill Smith has had a love of Bute since his fishing trips here as a teenager, and cannot wait to bring Bluebird to the island.

He said: “We are very much looking forward to it.

“We are very grateful to the local community and Mount Stuart Estate for their outstanding support, and we hope to repay that by putting on a show and bringing visitors to the island for you.

“We hope everyone comes along and enjoys seeing Bluebird and everything goes well.”

From August 4-10 and 13-16 ,the world-famous Bluebird K7 will be undertaking crew training at Loch Fad. This is a unique opportunity to see this icon of British engineering and design in action and see the team work out how best to handle a craft which can reach speeds of up to 276 miles per hour. On August 11, it will be at Bute Highland Games before appearing at Mount Stuart House the following day.

Bill added: “Everybody is coming to see this shiny blue thing working and we just see everything that could go wrong. So it’s probably more trepidation than excitement for us! It’s a very complicated machine that’s just come out of rebuild.

“We are just wanting to show the thing off in its element. Nobody has handled this machine for half a century. So it comes down to launching it, getting it out its cradle.

“It’s things like how do we start it on water? And other things like emergency procedures, radio communications. All of these things we are coming up to Bute to learn.

“To basically get the machine back to working order.”

It is hoped that the Bluebird’s stay on Bute will entice visitors from all over the world to the island. Other events taking place on the island during the team’s time here are the Bute Noir Crime writing Book Festival, Bute Bikers Weekend, Bute Agricultural Show and the Isle of Bute Raft Race.

A spokesman for Visit Bute said: “A proud part of Scotland’s adventure coast, Bute looks forward to welcoming the Bluebird team for what promises to be a once in a lifetime experience.”

As a “taster” to the return of the iconic jet-engined hydroplane, two members of the Bluebird team will be at the Rothesay Gala this Satur and Sunday.

They will provide information on the project, video and imagery of Bluebird and will be on hand to answer any questions. They will be based in the Discovery Centre in Rothesay between 10am and 4pm both days.

Bill said: “A couple of guys from the team will be there. They have never been to the Bute so they are looking forward to seeing the place.”

There is no fixed day to day itinerary for the visit in August because the team have to approach and solve problems in a methodical way but there will be regular updates at @bluebirdk7 and @visit_bute