Bristol Channel 2010 – Part 2

Report and pictures by Martin Longhurst

Waverley had a reasonable week in the Channel being able to undertake all her sailings as planned, except Thursday 11 June 2010 which had to be cancelled completely owing to strong winds.

On Saturday she brought nearly 200 across from Penarth to Clevedon arriving at 11.00.  Passengers had the option of time ashore in Clevedon or a coach to Weston-super-mare.   These coaches then offered an excursion back from Weston to join the steamer for her afternoon cruise circling the Holm islands.   While this was going on the paddler swung at anchor in Walton Bay prior to sailing again at 13.30.   Then she was off, with Steep Holm receiving the first circumnavigation before she steamed north to round Flat Holm.   Finally we steamed west before turning for Penarth off Sully Island.

Waverley now made the second of four calls at Penarth before re-crossing the Channel to Clevedon.   Here she picked up the band for the showboat evening circle cruise.   Next to Knightstone Harbour, Weston to retrieve the Penarth passengers who had taken the coach earlier and drop off the excursionists from the Woodspring resort.   After backing away from her berth by the flats, the steamer headed for the Principality one more for more Showboaters.   After taking water at Penarth, the final two legs of the day’s timetable took the paddler to Clevedon and back.  All in all an elaborate schedule offering passengers many different options!

Sunday was Lundy Church Service and it dawned bright, sunny and full of promise.   Waverley departed from Clevedon at 8.30 for Penarth, Ilfracombe and Lundy.   Over 200 had boarded on the English side and they were joined by about 400 from the Welsh pier.   Conditions on deck had become somewhat blustery when Captain Andy O’Brian announced that Swansea Coastguard had provided a weather forecast suggesting that there would be a force 6 northerly wind at the time of Waverley’s second call at Ilfracombe.   This may have prevented the call which raised the possibility of stranding passengers at Ilfracombe and of having to coach them home and having to carry passengers from Ilfracombe up channel and bussing them back!   Consequently he had decided to take all the passengers on to Lundy.

So we all had about two and a half hours ashore on the mystic isle during which the weather saw fit to send along a misty shower.   We then enjoyed a beautiful spell of warm sunshine.   As we passed Ilfracombe there was a gentle breeze from the south rather than the forecast strong northerly.   Arrival back at Penarth was about 40 minutes ahead of schedule but it now transpired that the bad weather had appeared at Clevedon resulting in a metre’s swell rendering a landing there too hazardous.  So five coaches had to be summoned to take us back to the English side.   So the combination of the weather forecasters and the actual weather had caused quite a bit of disruption and disappointment on an apparently perfectly fine day.

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