The news and views of the latest events along the Solway Coast
"WORKINGTON "Arklow Clipper" 2nd Dec. "Ronja" 3rd Dec.
SILLOTH "Zapadnyy" 4th Dec. "Marjatta" 6th Dec. "Indi" 7th Dec.
A couple of photographs taken in c.1900 showing a sailing vessel being towed out of Silloth dock into the Solway Firth. In the background is the "Solway" lightship. The paddle tug on the bow is the 1897 built Petrel.
Moored very inconspicuously in Whitehaven marina are these two uncrewed surface vessels (USV's) the only sign of their presence being the small yellow tripod masts. For the past two years they have been doing underwater surveys of parts of the Irish Sea. They are owned by Xoceans and are 5m. in length and 2m. wide. It's believed that they may be doing work for BP to collect data for two possible offshore wind leases. They are also doing an hydrographic survey for the route of a power cable for the Walney windfarm.
With the ongoing but easing situation with Covid 19 a cruise was out of the question but a holiday cottage in the Highlands of Scotland provided a welcome break and a chance for a bit of touring. Calling at Corpach at the end/start of the Caledonian Canal I caught Oban Lifeboat entering the lock gates bound for Macduff on the east coast for repairs to one of her engines. In the background is where most of the logs bound for Workington are loaded.
SHETLAND TRADER being loaded
Further up the canal was HMS CHARGER
At Inverness, home base for SCOTLINE, SCOT NAVIGATOR was being loaded with cargo bound for Avonmouth
A little further up river MERSEY FISHER was discharging fuel
Also spotted was the RNLI's Stromness lifeboat VIOLET DOROTHY and KATHLEEN, a Severn class which are the largest boats in the fleet at 17.3m (56.9') and a build cost of £2 million.
Also in port was the Northern Lighthouse Boards ship POLE STAR.
Fisheries Protection Vessel "North Western Protector" pictured in the lock at Whitehaven. This vessel was the replacement for "Solway Protector" which was also based in Whitehaven.
As the cold damp weather continues and travel is restricted a great way to pass some time is to read local author Ann Lingards extremely interesting account of what's involved piloting a ship up the Solway Firth to Silloth (including a report on "Zapadnyy")
A little over 100 years ago in May 1919 the Workington shipbuilding yard of R. Williamson and son completed the 115' long steam trawler "Thomas Currell" for Sanford of Auckland but just a few months later it was requisitioned by the Admiralty who intended it to be used for patrol and minesweeping duties as a Strath Class armed trawler.
A couple of years later in 1922 she was de-commissioned and returned to Sanford for fishing in New Zealand waters. However in 1939 she was requisitioned yet again, this time by the Royal New Zealand Navy, as an armed trawler once more. In 1945 she was returned to Sanford to resume fishing duties.
At one point during this time she had been renamed "Enrico" for a short period. It seems that she was a good reliable vessel because as late as 1968, for one reason or another, she was beached at Port Hutt, Chatham Island and left to her fate. Remarkably she still survives to this day and is a fine example of the workmanship of the Workington yard.
It seems a shame that, what must be the last survivor of her type, is slowly but surely rusting away to obscurity.
My thanks to John Whitwell for his assistance.