There was great excitement when the Harbour Commission and ABP, the port Operator, managed to persuade the Hebridean Princess to visit Teignmouth on the 22nd of July.
Apart from the port’s busy commercial trade, this is the first time that a passenger vessel of this size has visited Teignmouth since Victorian times. She arrived on the morning tide from Dartmouth, took on the pilot and was led into the harbour by the Commission’s Damen tug the Teign C where she was swung and made fast alongside the main quay.
She was met and welcomed to the town by various local dignitaries. The passengers spent the day in Teignmouth together with a visit to Compton Castle and she sailed on the evening tide for Portland. She was built by Hall Russell of Aberdeen as a ferry, launched in 1964 and operated extensively in the Northern Isles. At the end of her working life she was refitted for a new venture as a small luxury cruise ship.
For a ship of over 50 years old she is immaculately maintained with comfortable luxury accommodation. She carries 49 passengers with some 38 crew so it sounds if everyone is more than well looked after. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have cruised in her on two occasions and is the only passenger vessel under the red ensign to have a Royal Charter.
I was most surprised to find the teak decked bridge had all her original fittings and controls with magnificent highly polished brass Chadburns telegraphs which are fully operational for controlling her two Crossely engines. Not only that, she had the original brass steering wheel with gyro compass in front and a periscope for the magnetic compass on the monkey island. And yes they have quartermasters to steer the ship as well!
This all took me back to my days as a midshipman in Blue Funnel. A real vintage ship and extremely well maintained. It was great day for Teignmouth and hopefully she will return on her next cruise along the south west coast.
(Chairman Teignmouth Harbour Commission)
ABP Port Office, Old Quay Road
Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8ES