Western Belle

In the English Lake District, on several of the Lakes, there are lake operations all year round.

And of these, the Ullswater fleet of five vessels are an interesting bunch being I believe, all on the historic ships register. My special favourite, currently, is Western Belle and not just because I witnessed some of her delivery voyage from the Thames to Maryport in West Cumbria, NW England. I came across her by chance in Ramsgate and then saw her later in Maryport awaiting a large crane and a 30 mile truck journey to her new home on Ullswater. Though that isn’t the reason she is a favourite - it is the stupendous funnel she has subsequently been fitted with!

I am a sucker for a good funnel and this one breaks records for a craft of her type and size!

Their smallest vessel, Lady Dorothy, is the sole wooden craft and it was commented to me that she is the one the crews like to be aboard in poor weather as she rides the waves so well and keeps dry.

As many readers will know, MV Balmoral had a bad 2017 season with much awful weather and cancellations, some due to changes in MCA policy. Furthermore, for the 2018 season the MCA has decided that she, like other craft having doubled plates due to past repairs or worn patches, now bears repairs that are no longer acceptable.

It is said such plates can fail without warning and any doubled plates will have to be restored to the original configuration before approval can be obtained.

Balmoral has not the funds to carry out these repairs and other works for the 2018 season. And so she is laid up in Bristol under maintenance while a Heritage Lottery Fund application for a £3.75mn project is processed, for which Balmoral will need to contribute at least £375k. I can only wish her, her trustees and volunteers all the best in their task.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - February 2018 Issue
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