Category Archives: ports

The African Steam Ship Company, and the story of a piece of china

The shore at Parton, just North of Whitehaven, is a good place to find tiny sherds of pottery and china. Many of the fragments are of ‘blue and white’, of which some are willow-pattern – lucky finds are glimpses of … Continue reading

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Port Carlisle: canals and ships and trains

(September 2020: you can now also view two videos about Port Carlisle, made for the launch of my book The Fresh and the Salt. The Story of the Solway: links are on the website.) When the tide is out, Port … Continue reading

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Lighthouses of the Upper Solway: a guest post by Captain Chris Puxley

For many years, Captain Chris Puxley was Harbourmaster of the Port of Silloth and  a ship’s pilot, bringing ships up the Solway’s unpredictable channels from Workington. He has always been interested in the Port’s history and has written a book … Continue reading

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Snippets 9: ‘Seeing’ the Solway’s bottom

“Between Solway Buoy and Corner Buoy, it’s a critical region, the region that gives us the most trouble. At Corner Buoy there’s a narrow corridor – that channel is our window [to Silloth], to the East of it are big … Continue reading

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Piloting a ship up the Firth to Silloth

You have probably never thought what  it would be like to pilot a ship: to be in charge of, say, a cargo vessel with a hold-full of sticky molasses, that is about to enter the narrow dock gates of a … Continue reading

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The Walls of Parton

‘Are you looking for the old port?’ The man seemed to have appeared from nowhere, yet he was tall and strongly built, white hair sticking up straight, not easy to overlook. ‘Port?’ I was bemused – I’d been poking at … Continue reading

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Ship’s-keel scaur: but whose keel?

On a warm, calm evening in May, at a low Spring tide, Ronnie Porter led me along the shore at Allonby. As we walked, he showed me the various rocky scaurs and boulders, and he told me their names. Near … Continue reading

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The design of the Solway: an aerial perspective, part 2

September 2nd, 0845h: Andrew Lysser, pilot, aerial photographer, instructor, and owner of Cumbria Gyroplanes, and I lifted off from the runway at Carlisle airport in a silver-coloured gyroplane. This time I wasn’t nervous, and there was no wall of rain … Continue reading

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The design of the Solway: an aerial perspective, part 1

To understand how something works, you need to understand not only its design, but its interconnections and interactions with its surroundings. So it is with the Solway Firth. My ongoing fascination with the Firth’s ‘design’ is why I have recently … Continue reading

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Snippets 2: A chance encounter, as lifeboat ’47-024′ leaves the sea

The man with the camera seemed to know a bit about lifeboats. We were standing on the dock at Whitehaven harbour, watching as a lifeboat was hoisted out of the water. I hadn’t known that was due to happen: I’d … Continue reading

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