The perfect perch for birds and boat watchers

While waiting patiently for a pending arrival at Montrose port approaches recently, this week’s illustration was taken from the east end of Ferryden, a regular vantage point for observing vessels arriving and departing.

By
John Aitken
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 12:00pm
The perfect perch for birds and boat watchers

While waiting patiently for the pending arrival at Montrose port approaches recently, this week’s illustration was taken from the east end of Ferryden, a regular vantage point for observing vessels arriving and departing.

From the left in the distance can be seen the cargo ship BBC Pacific, inward bound from a series of ports in South America via the Continent. Protruding over the hillside in the background along the south shore of the South Esk are the top few metres of the white-painted stone beacons, aids to local river navigation for over two and a half centuries.

Then higher still, behind the crest of the slope, can be observed the lantern of Scurdie Ness Lighthouse which has stood sentinel for over 150 years in fair weather and foul as well as peacetime and wartime. The !50th anniversary of the first lighting took place on Sunday evening of the 1st March, 2020 at 6.00 pm. At the top right of the picture, in that area are located concrete pill-boxes – a grim reminder of the dark days of World War Two.

In the foreground are the traditional clothes poles and washing lines and behind are a few parked cars of the usual ship watchers and occasional visitors while close to the camera a lonely seagull keeps a watchful eye on any riverside activity.

Always on the look-out for different ports of registry painted on ships’ sterns has been a personal interest of mine for many years, since secondary school days in fact. A few weeks ago I observed on the hull of the anchor handling tug/supply vessel Maersk Mariner, an intriguing new name to me, that of Munkebo, which turned out be a small town in Denmark located on the island of Funen.

A number of years ago I enquired of a captain of another Maersk supply ship why his company had its ships registered at different places in Denmark when the head office is in Copenhagen. He informed me that each ship corresponds with a school throughout Denmark hence the names of ports such as Vejle, Skagen, Odense, Svedborg etc make an appearance from time to time.

Munkebo’s claim to fame is due to the fact that a Viking ship burial took place many centuries ago and the king who owned the vessel was interred within its hull. Excavations took place 1935 and the site has been preserved ever since as being of great historical importance.

The town is quite modest in size with a population of between 5,500 and 6,000 inhabitants and situated near the former Odense Steel Shipyard-Lindo which is now closed. I remember visiting the area on a coach tour along the shores of Kerteminde Fjord about a decade ago on the way to visiting the house of Hans Christian Andersen at Odense.

The name also appears on a giant containership Munkebo Maersk, 214,000-ton deadweight with a capacity of 18,000 containers and having a length of 399 metres with a 60-metre beam having been built in 2014.

There are those rare occasions even with modern technology, when “gremlins” penetrate the system as happened two issues ago when eagle-eyed readers would have noticed that the massive cable laying ship Nexans Aurora which appeared off the Angus coast was said to have been built in a relatively new shipyard in The Netherlands.

This of course was erroneous as the ship details given had in fact been for the Rochester-registered Scot Navigator completed in 2017 for Scotline Ltd., built in the GS Shipyard and had berthed at Montrose in late January, 2022. Details of the Scot Navigator are 89 metres in length and 3,732-ton deadweight which had arrived from Vlissingen (Flushing).

Caption: A seagull keeps a watchful eye over the Ferryden shoreline.

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