Tall ship duo wish Kerrera hub venture a bon voyage

Stefan Fritz, Jules Shaughnessy and Islay the shipdog aboard the Lady of Avenel.

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Kerrera newbies Stefan Fritz and Jules Shaughnessy are hoping their move to the island will be smooth-sailing.

To get to know their neighbours and show support for their new community, the pair embarked on a fundraising voyage in aid of Kerrera’s old schoolhouse project.

Stefan and Jules, along with ship dog Islay, invited paying guests on board their Lady of Avenel tall-ship from Oban’s North Pier two nights this week for a three-hour cruise round the island with ticket money going towards the £30,000 needed for the building’s renovation work.

‘The tickets were snapped up in days. We’re happy to help good causes and hope we’ll be able to get involved with more charities in the Oban area and with businesses too as we get to know more people,’ said Stefan, also a marine surveyor who once ran adventures from a Dutch barge on the Crinan Canal.

In July this year, Isle of Kerrera Development Trust bought the island’s old school thanks to the Scottish Land Fund but are now relying on community fundraising to pay for the work needed to turn it into a social hub for the 68 full-time residents and 15,000 visitors who stop off each year.

When it is ready, there will be a meet-up place for islanders, public toilets, access to drinking water, a chance to buy island produce, opportunities to learn about island life and even stay overnight in unique accommodation.

Stefan and Jules who run sailing and adventure holidays around the islands on their charter ship, a re-jigged and re-rigged former Russian tug boat,  recently bought a plot of land on Kerrera and hope to make it their home.

When not at sea they have been living on the Thames in Windsor but hope to re-locate to Kerrera soon.

After time in Oban this week, Lady of Avenel is heading to Ireland.

Go to isleofkerrera.org to find out more about the Old School Project.

Stefan Fritz, Jules Shaughnessy and Islay the ship dog aboard the Lady of Avenel.