Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

So sad to see Bluebird sink into a legal battle

Not really much to say about this since we will have to wait to see how embittered this confrontation becomes.

And it all looked as if things were going so well when Bluebird ran trials on Loch Fad, on the Isle of Bute.


When Donald Campbell’s rebuilt Bluebird K7 made a return to water more than 50 years after the crash that claimed the record-breaker’s life, it was hailed a triumph of engineering ingenuity. But its next outing has been abruptly called off amid tensions about what its future should hold – and even disagreement about who owns the craft.

For Bill Smith, the engineer who has led the recovery and rebuild, the two-week test in western Scotland had been vindication for the countless hours of toil in his North Shields workshop.

There his separate Bluebird Project team busied itself, doggedly refashioning crumpled metal and replacing original parts damaged beyond repair by the savage impact of the crash.

“It’s a living, breathing, educational piece of history,” the 51-year-old beams enthusiastically.

“Now it’s about letting as many people as possible see it, getting the thing out there to inspire.

Standing waterside at Loch Fad last summer, Gina Campbell told the BBC her views had changed having seen her father’s vessel brought back to life.

“Months ago I’m thinking she must become a museum piece,” she said, before explaining that she’s changed her mind about Bluebird.

“She’s not ready to sit in a crusty old museum.”

Mr Smith agrees and is calling for a part-year display at the Ruskin. He wants a new contract drawn up with an agreed number of months set aside during which the hydroplane would run.

Both sides reluctantly admit lawyers might eventually become involved in a bid to break the impasse.

Mr Robinson describes it as a “delicate situation”.

“There is an ongoing legacy, which is what this is all about as far as the village is concerned.

“I find it a bit disappointing and frustrating.

“I think the whole project was supposed to remember Donald Campbell and Bluebird.

“Somehow or other, they seem to have slipped down the agenda.”

Bluebird: What next for Donald Campbell’s record-breaker?

In a way, I’m not surprised to see this.

When I was playing at ‘Business and Companies’, people who were friends were affronted when I demanded contracts/deals at the start.

The reason was simple – the formality meant we knew where we stood if/when things came to an end, and there was no room for interpretation, or “But YOU said…”.

Bluebird First Trial on Loch Fad - Courtesy o Zak

Bluebird First Trial on Loch Fad – Courtesy of Zak


13/02/2019 - Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , ,

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