Jul 16 2009 By Frank Hurley
A FAMOUS old Clyde puffer has returned to her birthplace on the banks of the river in Glasgow.
The MV Kyles has left her usual mooring at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine and docked at the Clydebuilt Museum, Braehead.
The Kyles was launched on the Clyde on March 12, 1872, at John Fullerton and Co, Paisley, and her first owner was Stuart Manford of Oswald Street, Glasgow.
Her construction was 14 years earlier than the Glenlee at the Tallships and only three years after the Cutty Sark.
The Kyles has been bought and sold more than two dozen times but uniquely always retained her name - the word for narrow straits of sea between hills.
In 1984 the Scottish Maritime Museum became the 24th owner and she has now become a boardable exhibit at Braehead.
Jim Tildesley, acting director of the museum, said: "The technical team at Irvine has worked extremely hard to get the Kyles back to Braehead and she now looks in very good shape. The support we receive from Braehead Shopping Centre allows us to have this very important historic vessel in sea-going condition."
In her working life, the Kyles has been a cargo carrier and fishing fleet tender. Latterly she was used as a sludge tanker and sand dredger.
Originally built from cast iron, she has been repaired and restored by the museum's technical team and volunteers with support from Capital Shopping Centres at Braehead. The public are now able to climb on board and see how difficult life on the ship was in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The Kyles will also travel up river to take part in this year's Glasgow River Festival next weekend.''