Sunday, 30 December 2012

Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle' on the River Dart

A ship that is no stranger to me, a location that is also known to me . . but put the two together and you have a dream come true! Paddle Steamer 'Kingswear Castle' on the River Dart today, with the tug 'Christine' that brought her to the River from her former operational waters of the River Medway. More information on the ship can be found on her owners, the Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust's website and her charterers, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company's website which includes sailing information and details on her maiden voyage in 2013. Roll on 29th March . . .

Surprisingly another of the former River Dart Paddle Steamers survives, the 'Compton Castle' is at Truro and currently a vacant retail 'unit'. Her story can be found here and the specification for her lease here. Perhaps more surprising is that her 'engine room' is preserved in pristine condition on the Isle of Wight. 2014 marks Compton Castle's 100th anniversary.

A trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway.

With a new attraction in Dartmouth it wasn't going to be long before I made the trip down. There's no better way to arrive in Dartmouth than behind the steam train, sadly no Torbay Express from Bristol to Kingswear today so it was a swift drive down the M5 to board the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company's 1100 service to Kingswear. 

Here we see former GWR 42xx tank engine 4277 'Hercules' at Paignton.

On route to Kingswear passing Goodrington Sands.

The new Kingswear 'Signal Box'. . . 

. . . and Kingswear station.

Paignton Harbour

The view across Paignton Harbour this morning.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Old St Mellons - Winter Wonderland

No white Christmas this year but here's a few pictures of our neighborhood from a couple of years ago. Thanks to all who follow my blog, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year . . . .

Sunday, 23 December 2012

QE2 for scrap?

Press reports are suggestion QE2 has been sold for scrap in China. The ship was initially sold to Dubai but the plans to make her into a hotel have stalled with the economic downturn. It appears the recent bid to return to the UK as a hotel on the Thames have come too late for this classic liner.  

For the press story see - End of an era for the QE2.

Here is the last transatlantic liner departing Southampton bound for New York on 10 October 2008, her final crossing.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Flying Phantom . . . 5 years today.

Five years ago today the Clyde based tug 'Flying Phantom' was lost whilst assisting the ship 'Red Jasmine', seen below about to make fast off Greenock (Picture John Huggins) on that fateful night. Three men lost their lives on the tug, these were Capt Stephen Humphreys, Bob Cameron and Eric Blackley. 

Stephen was a good friend . . . .

Thursday, 13 December 2012

MV Balmoral finished with engines . . . ?

On Wednesday 12th December Waverley Excursions Ltd, operators of Waverley and Balmoral made a statement ending much speculation regarding the operation of MV Balmoral in 2013 - see here

It is interesting to note the wording that ''Waverley Steam Navigation, the ships owners will set up a group to look at alternative ways of utilising the ship in 2013 and to seek a robust operating programme to offer prospects of a return to service.'' This suggest's Balmoral's career with Waverley Excursions is over after 26 years and paddle steamer Waverley will go it alone. Over Balmoral's 63 years in service she has generated a dedicated band of supporters she will need them more than ever in the coming months . . .

More information on the ship can be found on the National Historic Ships Register.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cormilan - IMO 7928043

Fowey's tug Cormilan, ex Coatham Cross in Falmouth last week assisting the local fleet. Both her and fleetmate Morgawr have remained active around the South West following purchase by Fowey Harbour, notably Morgawr which is often found working in the Plymouth area. A great source of income no doubt for the Harbour Commision in these difficult financial times. 

Morgawr is no stranger to working in Plymouth - when operated by Svitzer as Holmgarth she and sister tug Hallgarth, now St Piran were often charted to cover dry docking's and busy periods at both Devonport and Portsmouth Naval bases.

SD Meon

Serco's Fleet Tender, one of the few RMAS Fleet Tenders in service which were once numerous around the coastline. SD Meon and sister SD Menai are used to support RNAS Culdrose in training. Soon to be painted into Serco's new white superstructure style. I have sailed on a number of these in various sea states (!!) and have always found them to be superb little ships!

RFA Lyme Bay

A few pictures of the RFA's Lyme Bay being cold moved from dry dock to berth by the Falmouth tugs assisted by the Fowey based Cormilan last week following a period of maintenance. 

A&P Falmouth Tugs

Falmouths tugs at work - German built Ankovra and Percuil together with flagship St Piran, the former South Wales tug Hallgarth.

St Piran


Summer Wind - IMO 8410574

Final preparations underway aboard Summer Wind before returning to service having been laid up on the River Fal in recent months. Reefer ships days appear numbered with much of their cargo now containerised - enjoy them while you can! 

Queen of Cornwall - St Mawes Ferry

Queen of Cornwall working the St Mawes ferry route last week. Very nicely maintained despite it being late in the season.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Penzance Harbour - 28th November

Ivor B, soon to be heading to pastures new I understand.

Scillonian III in dry dock receiving a fairly extensive refit this year.

Putting my Sigma 10-20mm lens to good use!