Day Trip to Ilfracombe

Words and pictures by Martin Longhurst

Waverley left Greenock after completing her dry docking about midday on Monday 22 May and set out for Avonmouth, locking-in at 14.30 on the following day.   While in dock, the MCA Surveyor completed his inspection before the paddler returned to the open sea late on 25 May.

Meanwhile, the Balmoral left her berth at Bristol on 23 May and headed down to Avonmouth, swung her compass and then locked in to join Waverley.   She sailed for Weymouth on 24 May, passing Lizard Point about 14.00 the following day.   Unfortunately, the weather grew worse at this point and she was stormbound on Friday 26 May and was unable to carry out her scheduled evening cruise.

On Saturday she was able to take her scheduled cruise from Bournemouth to Weymouth but the planned landing at Lulworth was not possible, owing to the sea state.   The weather and visibility were very poor and only the hardiest of passengers joined the ship.

Back in the Bristol Channel, Waverley completed her trials and took up service with a PSPS Charter from Penarth and Clevedon on Friday evening 26 May.   Alec Lewis, Bristol Channel Branch Chairman, had organised this successful venture, which carried over 400 passengers.

The weather in the Bristol Channel on the Saturday was very drizzly and misty.   The sailing was from Clevedon and Penarth to Ilfracombe but patronage was sparse.

Sunday saw the paddler sail from Newport.  A new berth is being created on the River Usk but as this was not ready, the steamer embarked her passengers in the Dock Entrance.   203 passengers came by shuttle bus from central Newport. 

The lock gates swing open to allow the steamer to depart

Newport's lock is in sections are Waverley left from the seaward part

Then to Penarth to pick up a lesser number from the crossing to Ilfracombe.   A two hour coastal cruise was given from the Devon port, west to Morte Point and east to Coombe Martin.   Today the weather was much kinder with light winds and gradually clearing skies.

Turning back to Ilfracombe on the afternoon cruise

Arriving back at Ilfracombe to pick up the cross-channel day trippers

Waverley flying the saltire while Penarth Pier flies the Welsh dragon

Back at Penarth, Waverley picked up about 70 passengers for an evening cruise that was to take them to Newport, where the morning passengers were dropped off, and then back to Penarth.   Approaching Newport it became apparent that Daniella, a heavy lift ship owned by Jumboships, was to precede us into the lock, so Captain Davis took us for several "evening circle cruises" while the two tugs gently manoeuvred their charge into the narrow confines of the lock.

Two tugs gently guiding the Daniella towards the Dock Entrance

The middle lock gate closes astern of Daniella as the paddler berths in the seaward section

The view from the shuttle bus as Waverley prepares to complete her evening cruise to Penarth

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