Monday, 30 May 2011

Penarth Pier wins the Lottery!

Penarth Pavilion is set to see £1.68 million spent on it thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is wonderful news for this iconic Bristol Channel Pier which also features heavily in Waverley and Balmoral's Bristol Channel operation.

For more information see -

Thursday, 26 May 2011

4492 Dominion of New Zealand - Bristol

Steam enthusiasts at Bristol today were treated to the sight of an LNER A4 at its best!

Here we see 60019 Bittern as sister locomotive 4492 Dominion of New Zealand arriving at Bristol Temple Meads with a steam charter service for London. The locomotive was recently repainted from BR green as the owner sought to raise the locomotive's profile . . . this has certainly worked!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Milford Star

Here's a few picturs of my Milford Star model built by a chap in Bristol from a Caldercraft kit on Roath Park Lake, Cardiff today.

Pacific Castor (ex Avongarth)

Once part of Cory Towage's (later Svitzer/Wijsmuller) fleet at Avonmouth returned to Avonmouth today. Sold by Svitzer during 2009 she has spent a number of months undergoing a refit at Sharpness, it is expected she will sail to the Far East for further service.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Happy 150th Birthday 'Mayflower'!

The oldest of Bristol museum’s working exhibits - the Mayflower steam tugboat - marks her 150th anniversary on Wednesday, May 18. The Mayflower is the oldest Bristol-built ship still afloat and is believed to be the oldest steam tug in the world.

The little steam tug Mayflower was launched from a shipyard at what is now Pooles Wharf on May 18, 1861. She went to work on the ship canal between Sharpness and Gloucester and managed a working life of over 100 years. The Mayflower then spent 15 years narrowly avoiding the scrap yard before she came back to her birthplace in 1981 to be restored by Bristol museum staff and volunteers. The restoration work, which took six years culminated in an official ‘re-launch’ in 1988.

The Mayflower has been a familiar sight in the harbour, running regular weekend trips for those who enjoy the peace and serenity of steam-powered ships. The Mayflower has just undergone a complete overhaul and refit ready to resume trips just before the opening of M Shed on Friday, June 17.

Andy King, Bristol City Council’s curator of Industrial & Maritime History, says: “The Mayflower is a much-loved working exhibit and we are all incredibly proud of her long history. It’s amazing to note that the Mayflower has now spent 20 per cent of her life in the care of the city council.
“It’s really rare for any ship to survive as long as Mayflower, let alone an ordinary, hard-worked tugboat. It’s also a great credit to the efforts of the museum’s brilliant volunteers that we’re still able to keep her steaming and giving great pleasure to our visitors. We’re always looking for more people who are interested to help out with the tug and M Shed’s other working exhibits.”
Mayflower will be steaming on the weekend of May 21/22 and on other dates later in the year.

Trips cost £5/£3 and last about half an hour. Passengers can explore the boat and experience the quiet engine at close hand. Tickets are available on the day from Princes Wharf, outside M Shed.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Milford to Avonmouth - Friday 13th (!) May

Here's a selection of pictures from the return passage from Milford Haven yesterday.

A wonderful sunrise as we departed Pembroke Dock.

Approaching Dragon LNG Berth.

Tanker 'Alfa Britannia'

Tanker 'Baltic Marshall'

Thorn Island and St Ann's

Nash Point and its old lighthouse.

Porthkerry Viaduct - a steam train special passed over just 1 hour previously, must make more effort when passage planning!

Having passed Lavernock Point we passed 'North of the Holms' and encountered nearly 30 yachts taking part in the annual RNLI fund raising race.

Back in home waters approaching Portishead.

Blacknore Lighthouse and the former Nautical Institute building.

Portishead Point

Merlin Helicopter landing at Avonmouth South Pier.

Milford Haven - Thursday 12th May

Having spent just over a week on the slip it was time to collect the Isambard Brunel and return her to Bristol.

Once afloat the running of post slipping trials presented the opportunity for a few pictures! Here we see Svitzer's Caldey and Haven on the car jetty awaiting their next turn on duty.

Milford Port Authority pilot vessel Hakin, note her similarity to Isambard Brunel in terms of hull design!

GPs tug Napia awaiting an improvement in the weather to continue her passage with a small barge.

David Abels built survey vessel Vigilance. She is due to be replaced shortly by a catamaran.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

HMS Gloucester - 10th May 2011

Type 42 Destroyer departing Avonmouth today for the final time before pauing off in June having been in service for nearly 30 years.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Orange Wave - IMO 9057123

Inbound to Avonmouth today, she previously visited in March 2005. The more usual runners with this trade are the Orange Blossom, Beebedouro and until she was withdrawn and scrapped the Orange Star.

Orange Wave

Type - Juice Tanker

Build - 1993

Callsign - ELPX7

GT - 13444

DWT - 16700

Port of reg - Monrovia

Flag - Liberia

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Southampton 7th May 2011.

A brief visit to Southampton yesterday provided the opportunity to take a few pictures of visiting ships to the port and the preserved Tug/Tender Calshot.

Asian Spirit

MSC Opera
Celebrity Eclipse


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Feasible - River Avon May 5th.

The Cornish followers of my blog may recognise this visitor to the River Avon! Her history can be seen here -

HMS Gloucester - 5 May 2011.

Making her final visit to the area before paying off HMS Gloucester arrived at Avonmouth today. The ship is a batch 3 Type 42 Destroyer and was built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston, Southampton and launched on 2 November 1982 by The Duchess of Gloucester.

Avonmouth to Milford Haven 3rd May

Here are a selection of pictures taken when taking a survey vessel from Avonmouth to Pembroke Dock for slipping on 3rd May. Having departed Avonmouth at 0500 we ran North of the Holms and hugged the coast to Nash Point so gain what shelter was available from the keen

Offshore Aberthaw is a colling water tower that collects water for the Power Station.

Approaching Nash Point

The 'Welsh Heritage Coast' has some dramatic features as can be seen here. Waverley and Balmoral undertake a number of cruises each year that provide a fantastic view of the coastline.

Once clear of Nash Point our next waypoint was off St Govans Head, Pembrokeshire passing off Swansea Bay and Carmarthen Bay. This offshore route whilst more exposed allowed us to take full advantage of the outgoing tide.

Having rounded St Govans Head we made for Turbot Bank and made our approach to Milford Haven. In the Haven were a number of ships of interest including the LNG ship Aamira which was shortly to depart from South Hook.

Anchored off Milford Shelf was the cruise ship Discovery, held in position by Svitzer Ramsey. The Discovery is the former Island Princess and was built in 1971. For more information see -

On our approach to Pembrike Dock we passed the Outbound Isle of Inishmore.

Shortly after arrival our vessel was slipped at Mustang Marine's yard as seen below.