Category Archives: ships

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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The vanishing keel on Ship’s-keel Scaur

Back in 2015 near Dubmill Point on Allonby Bay I finally found what I’d been searching for: the ‘ship’s keel’ for which Ship’s-Keel Scaur is named. Its timbers were as hard as iron, the keel (if that is what it … 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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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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What’s been happening at Robin Rigg? An update

Live shipping maps – watching vessels move around the seaways in real-time – can become addictive. I can easily be distracted by Danny Ferris’s Solway Shipping website with its live coverage, photos and notices of the ships that are due … 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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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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