Solway Shipping    


The news and views of the latest events along the Solway Coast

Ships Expected
Port of Workington    
Port of Silloth       "Wilson Amsterdam" 15th August  "Heyn" 16th August

North West Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority have acquired a new patrol vessel to replace the ageing "Solway Protector"  The 20m. long "North Western Protector" is capable of a top speed of 25 knots. The authority covers almost 800 miles of coastline between the River Dee in Cheshire to the northern end of the Solway Firth up to 6 miles offshore. The picture shows the vessel in Whitehaven a few days after her naming ceremony.
MV "Priscilla," pictured here docking at the Port of Silloth with a cargo of fertiliser from Klaipeda Lithuania two weeks after departing, a journey which would normally take about five days. The delay was caused by the ship running aground on the Pentland Skerries which is situated between the Orkney Islands and the Scottish mainland off Caithness.
Despite numerous attempts to refloat her she was stuck fast for several days and the salvage team decided the only way they could get her free would be to remove some of the cargo to lighten her. Over 1300 tons were transferred into her sister ship "Alana Evita"   This proved successful and "Priscilla" was finally removed from the rocks on the next tide and towed to a sheltered bay in Scapa Flow for inspection.
When HM Coastguard were happy that the ship appeared safe she was allowed to proceed to Silloth along with the "Alana Evita". It is thought "Priscilla" will go to a dry dock for a more detailed inspection when departing from the Cumbrian port.
An unusual visit of a ship to Kirkudbright  across on the Scottish side of the Solway Firth took place when CEG Universe arrived for a cargo of scallop shells. They are for export to Holland. Sam Kelly has recorded the arrival  here
The annual Maryport trawler race took place over the weekend in near perfect conditions. Leading the trawlers out to the start line was the Maryport Inshore Rescue boat.
Several boats came from the Isle of Man for the race. Two are pictured below.
"Free Spirit 11" from Peel
and "Ramsey Jak"
Maryport boats, "Our James"
...and, "Sincerity"
once all of the trawlers had left the Silloth Inshore Lifeboat and the Workington Lifeboat followed them out.
During the the 1960's/70's the Workington Town Band organised trips to the Isle of Man, usually on Bank Holiday Monday in August, as means of raising funds, which was extremely popular with West Cumbrians. The photo below shows the passengers on deck of the "Mona's Isle" as she sailed from Workington on one such trip.
It was always a time of much excitement as the Isle of Man Steam Packet vessel docked ready to receive the passengers. Workington was an extremely busy port in those days with lot's of activity with ships arriving with iron ore for the local steelworks, and ships loading up with steel products for export, so when a steamer turned up looking spick and span and covered with flags and bunting from one end to the other it was quite a sight from the dirty hard working commercial ships that usually called.
On the evening of August 30th 1982 after the "Manxman" had departed from Douglas on her return voyage back to Workington,  a force 8 gale had developed in the Irish Sea during the day and by the time she had arrived back at Workington it was deemed unsafe to attempt to dock so the 1000+ passengers on board had to spend a night on the storm tossed Solway Firth! (I'm pleased to report I had given that particular trip a miss!) This was to be the Manxman's last visit as a few days later she was decommissioned out of the Steam Packets service and was laid up in Birkenhead to wait for a new owner.
Manxman departing, it was not unusual to see the steamers leaving stern first at a similar speed and turning when clear of the entrance channel.

Local film maker Julia Parks has made an amazing short timelapse film of ships in the Solway Firth ports, watch it  here.

                                 To see more photo's of shipping in the Solway Firth don't forget to check   Cumbria Ship Photo's