From Our Files

50 Years Ago - April 8th, 1961

THE replacement ferry for the ill-fated Princess Victoria is on its way to Stranraer. It is the 109th ship to be built by William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Dumbarton, for British Railway Companies since the ship building firm was established in 1884, was launched from their Devon ship yard on Wednesday. She is the Caledonian Princess and was named by Mrs D H Cameron of Lochiel, wife of Colonel Cameron, the Chairman of the Scottish Area Board of British Transport Commission. The Caledonian Princess is intended for the Stranraer to Larne route and will provide an all-the-year round service, operating two round trips a day if the traffic is sufficient. She replaces the Princess Victoria, which sank in 1953, but is substantially larger being 353ft. Long and 3,660 tons gross. When the order was placed it was stated she would be more than £1m. In addition to her 1,400 passengers the Caledonian Princess will be able to carry, motor cars, coaches, lorries, cargo, cattle and horses, motor cycles and cycles, and her twin screw turbine machinery is designed to give her a surface speed of 20½ knots.

ONE of Wigtownshire’s oldest industries – that of oyster fishing on Lochryan – has very little prospect of reopening in the near future, despite the fact that work is still proceeding on the oyster beds of Cairnryan. Investigations, started by the Scottish Marine Biologist Association started three years ago, are still going on and experiments and still being carried out in the most extensive and oldest oyster bed in Scotland, which covers an area of approximately four square miles. It was given up about ten years ago because of over fishing.

25 Years Ago - April 12th, 1986

MOTHERS in Mersecroft, Kirkcudbright, in constant fear for the safety of their children walking to and from school, have sent a 90 signature petition to the regional roads and transportation committee. The petition calls for various works to improve road safety in the area and also asked for a school bus to be provided for Mersecroft children attending Castledykes and St Cuthbert’s Schools. A campaigner said everyone was very concerned about the children especially when they were walking three of four abrest along the narrow footpath on the Gatehouse/Kirkcudbright road. One child was knocked down about a year ago while going to school. A council roads spokesman said that works on the bridge were ongoing as part of the Kirkcudbright drainage scheme. While the works were in progress daily safety inspections were made and a police officer was present at morning peak times and the safety precautions appeared to be adequate.

WHITHORN woman Mrs Mary McNeillie, of High Balcray, flies off to Paris today to get some culinary tips from the French experts. The trip is Mrs McNeillie’s prize as one of six winners in a cookery competition run by the Scottish Milk Marketing Board and the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes. The six winners were chosen from an initial entry of 6,000. All the entrants had to make a butterscotch flan. In the final stages Mrs McNeillie offered Cree Salmon Mousse followed by a citrus dessert The ladies will now spend a week watching cookery demonstrations in the La Verenne cookery school.