Words and Images by Martin Longhurst

Friday 18 June 1999 saw the last landing at Lundy by launch from the Waverley certainly this century and almost certainly ever. It was a beautiful day with calm seas and clear skies as the paddler loaded stores at Penarth Pier prior to her departure at 0900. She headed off down channel for the first call of the day at Minehead where trippers could spend six hours in the Somerset town before being coached to Ilfracombe to join the ship for the return passage to Penarth. Passengers were also able to join the Waverley at Minehead to cruise to Ilfracombe for time ashore or to go all the way to Lundy Island.

After leaving Minehead the course took us along the precipitous Exmoor Coast seen from Waverley's Promenade Deck.

Approaching Ilfracombe where there was a substantial exchange of passengers.

Soon after heading westward from Ilfracombe we caught our first sight of the 'Mystic Isle' - 3 miles from north to south.

Lundy's Landing Beach is at its southern tip and is the only spot on the Island with safe access to the sea.

On arrival Waverley anchored in Lundy Roads and soon the landing launch Wendy had come alongside to pick up the first 28 passengers to take them to the beach.

Waiting our turn to disembark we could gaze at the cliffs on Lundy's east coast.

Then it was our turn to clamber into the Wendy and we left the Waverley behind for an hour and a half.

From the beach we could look back to the paddler and the Lundy ferry Oldenburg

In the foreground the present landing stage which is hauled up and down the beach by the tractor with the rise and fall of the tide.

In the background the new Pier under construction - the orange structure is the work platform.

A steep path leads up the cliffs to a plateau which covers virtually the whole island. This is the view from a third of the way up. The Wendy is bringing another load of trippers from the Waverley past the anchored Oldenburg.

The Waverley at her anchorage.

Virtually from the top the two steamers seem to nestle in the valley. Millcombe House is the island's hotel.

The island's hostelry, the Marisco Tavern. Outside chickens were roaming in search of a tasty morsel.

Time to return to the Waverley. The landing platform has four rubber tyred wheels and a steering wheel and is reputed to be a former trolleybus chassis. The tractor is used to move the platform up and down the beach to suit the tide. When not in use the platform is stored out of the sea's reach and the tractor returns to other duties on the plateau.

Oldenburg, having taken her passengers on board, weighed anchor and set off for Bideford.

Another load of trippers (including Jenny the Webmistress in the green cap) walk the plank to the landing platform to board Wendy for the run out to the Waverley.

The paddler seems to tower above the small launch.

Passengers are assisted one by one up on to the Waverley's port sponson.

The last load, including well known steamer enthusiast Ashley Gill, "the last person to leave Lundy by launch to join a paddle steamer," approaching the Waverley.
All aboard and the steam winch hauls up the anchor. The brass pedestal is the Docking Telegraph used to pass orders from the Bridge to the forecastle.

By the time the Waverley is expected to return to Lundy, probably in 2001, Lundy's pier will have been in use for some time - it was due to start being used in July 1999.

The paddler left the 'Mystic Isle' some 25 minutes late following delays in reboarding passengers. A single call was made at Ilfracombe on the return leg, passengers landing or joining at Minehead being coached along the coast to complete their journies. Good time was made to Penarth where the cruise ended only 10 minutes down.

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