Everyone connected with the iconic Bluebird K7’s trip to Bute has heaped praise on islanders for making them feel at home during their “most amazing holiday”.
The reconstructed craft took to water for the first time in over half a century when it was tested on Loch Fad for two weeks. Last Friday Bluebird and her crew headed back to North Shields, but will never forget their time on Bute.
Bill Smith from the team, said: “It was like the most amazing holiday. The comradeship, the teamwork and seeing that big blue monster back in her element. Brilliant.
“We had no sooner said we were coming and the Highland Games got in touch.
“A massive thanks to everyone on the island. From the moment we got off the boat we were made to feel very welcome. I can safely say there is nowhere else in the world where you can step off a ferry and feel so welcomed. You feel like you have lived there your whole life.”
And Bill was also glad Bluebird got to appear at island events. He added: “It was nice to stand around and chat to people. Every five minutes we got offered a wee dram. It was a nice chilled out day. And the parade through the town was great. We know you do it every year but it felt like it was for us!”
Gina Campbell, daughter of the late Donald Campbell who built and tragically died in Bluebird K7 in 1967, also heaped praise on islanders in a letter to the Buteman.
She said: “How does one thank an entire island and an entire community that opens up their hearts and their love to Bluebird. To bring a smile to everyone after all the unhappiness your beautiful island has had to suffer.
“What I have experienced through the 10 days I spent on the island of Bute has been quite extraordinary. Never have I seen a community come together and make such an amazing success in organising, operating and assisting in every need that Bluebird and her team required.”
Jimmy Poole at Loch Fad Fisheries, which hosted Bluebird and its crew, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure and an honour to be part of your amazing project at Loch Fad.
“When you are sitting in the middle of Loch Fad, looking at the Arran hills on a beautiful Saturday evening, with the k7 on its first ever start up trial run in more than 50 years, you know this is special. There are no words to describe this feeling for me. It was truly mind blowing to be part of this adventure helping the team on the Start Boat.
“I would also like to congratulate and thank Bill Smith and his team for coming to our wee island and putting us firmly on the map. They were the perfect visitors for Bute as well as a very focused team of engineers and hands on people.
“During your adventure, you were very approachable to the locals and visitors as well as spending time chatting to the excited school children about the rebuild of the hydroplane.
“May I also thank all the people who helped make the event at the Loch a Success. This will give everyone involved special memories that they are now a part of k7 Bluebird’s history forever.”