To the Bristol Channel
Report by Martin Longhurst
Waverley completed her Western Isles season in grand style in continuing brilliant weather. On Monday 1 June 2009 she sailed from Oban to Tobermory and Tiree with an orchestral ensemble on board playing a special arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture by London-based Waverley enthusiast Jonathan Cohen. At Tiree the ship was joined by a former Assistant Purser, Simon Morgan. He had intended to catch the connecting coach from Glasgow but missed it by 10 minutes. Rapid consultation of the Internet revealed it was possible to fly from Glasgow Airport in time to join the paddler’s return voyage, so being the jetsetter that he is, that is what he did! A short cruise was given out of Tiree.
Tuesday took the steamer back south to Port Ellen, Campbeltown and Ayr. Only small numbers took advantage of this opportunity but those aboard had a grand trip.
The paddler then headed south for Avonmouth, arriving at 16:00 on Thursday. The passage was good except for some unexpected swell to the north of the Isle of Man.
The Bristol Channel season started on Saturday 6 June with a series of up channel cruises between Penarth, Clevedon and Weston. It was a rather wet day but the cruises were well supported. A jazz band joined at the second call at Weston to give a Show Boat circular cruise in the evening.
The weather forecast for Sunday was not encouraging with strong winds predicted. However, Captain O’Brian decided to give the trip a go and was rewarded with about 180 out of Clevedon and more from Penarth. Heading west, the weather improved and the sun came out before we reached Ilfracombe. Leaving the Devon port, almost 400 were aboard for the trip to Lundy for the annual Church Service. On the way the steamer was briefly joined by a school of dolphins, many of whom leapt out of the water to see what was making that strange noise. After a visit of two hours, the paddler turned east, still on a calm sea under blue skies – so much for the Met Office and their gale!
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