Tall ship La Malouine docks at Kingholm Quay Dumfries

On 18 April 2015, for the first time after a hundred year long gap, Dumfries welcomed the arrival of a tall ship of the size of La Malouine that entered the river Nith and docked at Kingholm Quay harbour. The sailing vessel was on a six-day passage from Granville in France to Dumfries via Workington after having been acquired by Roy Kerr of Port of Dumfries Development Group. I was told that the ship was caught in a pretty bad storm during its journey but was brought in safely by its crew.

Built in Gdansk, Poland, the ship was converted into a brigantine by the Dutch designer Olivier van Meer in 1992, and, named ‘Willem’, enjoyed a career in the charter business at the Baltic Sea, carrying sailing guests, taking part in match races and participating in many sailing ship events. In 2010 it was sold to a French owner and re-named ‘La Malouine’. It took Roy Kerr three years to buy her and bring here to Scotland. Tall and elegant, the brigantine triggers romantic childhood dreams of exploration and adventures. It’s a delight to observe it in the full rig!

With La Malouine’s arrival to Kingholm Quay Doonhamers place high hopes on opening a new chapter of Dumfries sailing history, to sparkle interest in sailing in the local community, particularly in youngsters and kids, and re-connect people with the river Nith that recently received such a bad rep as a flood-prone nuisance. Volunteers are invited to lend a helping hand to restore the ship to its full potential. Roy wants La Malouine to play a role in helping disadvantaged children as well.

Hundreds of people came to Kingholm Quay throughout the day to have a look at the tall ship. Children were welcomed aboard and got their little hands on everything they could (or rather were allowed) intent on getting a rare first-hand experience of being on a real vessel. This area of Dumfries is already popular with weekenders. La Malouine’s presence can enhance their experience.

Kingholm Quay dwellers can see the ship’s masts from Kingholm Loaning, some are lucky to enjoy the view from their back gardens on a day to day basis. One such neighbour shared pictures of La Malouine coming to dock on Pet Forums. The response was: ‘But what do the dogs make of it?’ Well, I wonder…

Tall ship La Malouine docked at Kingholm Quay harbour

Tall ship La Malouine docked at Kingholm Quay harbour

La Malouine exposed as the tide wears off

La Malouine exposed as the tide wears off

Doonhamers walking up Kingholm Road to welcome the ship

Doonhamers walking up Kingholm Road to welcome the ship, dogs join too

The spirits are high!

The spirits are high!

All day long people dropped in to say hello to the crew and volunteers from Port of Dumfries Development Group

All day long people dropped in to say hello to the crew and volunteers from Port of Dumfries Development Group

Kids and their parents climb aboard to have a go at the wheel

Kids and their parents climb aboard to have a go at the wheel

Young visitors on La Malouine are fascinated by sailing

Young visitors on La Malouine are fascinated by sailing

So am I - with the play of lights of these ropes

So am I - with the play of lights of these ropes

The masts of La Malouine

The masts of the brigantine La Malouine

Captain Roy Kerr climbs the rig

Captain Roy Kerr climbs the rig

At Kingholm Quay harbour - how did the dogs take it?

At Kingholm Quay harbour - how did the dogs take it?

Lewis, one of the sailing boat enthusiasts

Lewis, one of the sailing boat enthusiasts

Captain Roy Kerr on his ship La malouine docked at Kingholm Quay

Captain Roy Kerr on his ship La Malouine docked at Kingholm Quay

Afternoon rest after helping to moor the brigantine safely

Afternoon rest after helping to moor the brigantine safely

La Malouine's arrival adds attraction to Kingholm Quay harbour as a favoured weekend location

La Malouine's arrival adds attraction to Kingholm Quay harbour as a favoured weekend location

Picnic on the banks of the  river Nith

Picnic on the banks of the river Nith

If you want to see more photos I took on the day of the arrival of the tall ship to Kingholm Quay harbour please visit my La Malouine Flickr gallery.