Jet-powered Bluebird arriving on Bute!

World Water Speed Records

Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 is about to take to the water once again, right here in Scotland. It's been over half a century since Donald Campbell became the only person to hold both the world land and water speed records simultaneously,the latter set in his jet-engined hydroplane, Bluebird K7, which crashed tragically on Coniston Water on 4th January, 1967.

It has taken 17 painstaking years and a small army of dedicated volunteers to restore Bluebird to her former glory and from 4th to 16th August, this iconic craft will be undertaking crew training at Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute.

The Loch, usually better known for its outstanding trout and pike fishing waters, will see Bluebird's team work out how best to handle a craft which can reach speeds of up to 276 miles per hour.

Bill Smith, the project leader, has had a love of Bute since his fishing trips here as a teenager and then as a diver. He says: "Loch Fad is perfect for this crew-training exercise. It's just long enough for Bluebird to get moving and just deep enough that it won't be too difficult for divers to retrieve any dropped tools!" "It's pretty exciting for us right now because we've just ground-tested Bluebird and all her systems are running beautifully. When she's put in the water at Loch Fad next week, it will be the first time in 50 years that Bluebird's engine will be started while afloat."

Bute has a proud history of innovative engineering design, well-fitting with the Bluebird project:

  • Andrew Baird, the blacksmith who built a plane, undertook Scotland’s first heavier than air flight on the island.
  • Thomas Lipton, freeman of the Burgh of Rothesay regularly raced his famous Americas Cup Shamrock yachts in the waters around the island – and boat building still continues today in the highly successful Ardmaleish Yard on the island.
  • Speed was also the key for ex-formula one driver Johnny Bute who has also long sponsored visits of classically engineered fast cars to the island through events like the Mount Stuart Motorsport Classic.

A proud part of Scotland’s Adventure Coast, Bute looks forward to welcoming the Bluebird team for what promises to be a once in a lifetime experience.


  • Everything you need to know about the Bluebird Project background can be found on the Bluebird Website 
  • Donations to support the work of the project can also be made via the website.
  • There will be no fixed day to day itinerary because the team have to approach and solve problems in a methodical way but there will be regular day to day updates @bluebirdk7 and @visit_bute. You can also follow the action via hashtag #bluebirdonbute.

Key Dates

  • 3rd August: Arrive on island at 6.20pm (5.45pm ferry from Wemyss Bay) | Arrival ceremony to include Rothesay Pipe Band and local children.
  • 4th – 10th August: Training days on Loch Fad
  • 11th August: Bute Highland Games | Bluebird will attend as a static display with some of the team on hand to answer questions.
  • 12th August: Mount Stuart House | Bluebird will be displayed on the lawn in front of Mount Stuart with some of the team on hand to answer questions (12pm - 4pm)
  • 13th - 16th August: Training Days on Loch Fad
  • 17th August: Leave Island

Other Events on Island during this time

  • 3rd – 5th August: Bute Noir Crime Writing Book Festival
  • 3rd – 5th August: Bute Bikers Weekend
  • 8th August: Bute Agricultural Show | includes 'Field to Fork' local producers
  • 11th August: Bute Highland Games
  • 12th August: Isle of Bute Sailing Club Raft Race | Fun raft race in Rothesay Bay with members of the Bluebird team presenting prizes.

Parking and Taxi drop off for Bluebird

  • From 6th – 10th August use Rothesay Joint Campus car park.
  • From car park, exit campus on foot and take immediate right turns (past Bute Produce) and walk uneven track for just over ¾ of a mile. Track not suitable for vehicles.

Key Contacts

  • For Bluebird related information and media enquiries/opportunities: 0191 296 4295
  • For Isle of Bute related information and media enquiries/opportunities:
    • Visit Bute: Alison Cross -
    • Mount Stuart Trust: Ricky Harrison –