Balmoral Annual Trip To Padstow 12th July 2011

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Balmoral Annual Trip To Padstow 12th July 2011

I arrived at Penarth pier at 0745 for the 0800 departure, Balmoral was already alongside and most passengers on board. The skies were slightly overcast and there was a cool easterly breeze blowing. Departing on schedule, and with the following breeze and flat sea it was a pleasant trip to our first stop – Ilfracombe.  We made good time, arriving a little early.

At ‘Combe about 50 left us for their 10 hours ashore and a slightly larger number boarded for Padstow.  With the same light wind, hazy sunshine and flat sea, we sailed close inshore to Morte Point, then on towards Baggy Point before turning to cross Bideford Bay and pass close inshore to Hartland Point.  We then took the direct – offshore – route towards Padstow.

Again, we had made good time and arrived early off the Camel Estuary. The pilot was ready waiting for us, so no time lost in getting alongside.  The channel to the harbour passes very close to the shore (a lot closer that it appears in the photos, below) it must be quite a sight for the holidaymakers seeing Balmoral so close to the beach.  The water here is very clear, so clear that we could see the bottom – a bit disconcerting for those of us who sail the muddy waters of the upper channel!

Once tied up, we had one and a quarter hours ashore – time enough for a cream tea or fish & chips at one of Rick Steins many establishments or a walk around the harbour and an ice cream.

Approaching Padstow, the channel hugs the shore

Shall I have – a pasty? a cream tea? or fish & chips? or all three???
Alongside, on the sand wharf.

Then it was back on board to retrace our steps.  Sailing down the Camel, we encountered a racing fleet of about 30 gaff rigged “Cornish Shrimpers(?)” they made a fine sight with their tan coloured sails – though some had to be reminded that we were ‘constrained by our draught’ and steam does not always have to give way to sail.

After dropping the pilot we passed inside of Newland Island and then kept close inshore all the way to Hartland.  Passengers who had bought (proceeds towards the appeal) a copy of the souvenir map produced by branch member Clive Headon, were able to follow our progress and identify the places passed.

Taking the scenic route delayed our arrival back at ‘Combe only slightly and we left for Swansea just 15 minutes late.  There was another slight delay when off the Mumbles, we had to board a pilot to take us into the river berth.  All passengers were off the ship shortly after 2300 and on one of the 3 coaches bound for Penarth.  Myself?, I was staying aboard, for tomorrow I was taking over as shopkeeper…………….to be continued.

Peter Havard