Archive for the ‘Ships’ Category

Our River cruise on the Medway took us past Chatham Historic Dockyard

Reminders of Chatham’s military history now blend into the environment

Old Dockyard sheds

HMS Cavalier, a destroyer launched in 1944 which served for 28 years in the Atlantic, Pacific and Baltic oceans.

The tower of HMS Ocelot, a submarine, shows over the dock wall. It was the last naval ship built in the Dockyard at Chatham. Launched 1962.

HMS Gannet, a sloop, built at nearby Sheerness in 1878. Used as a patrol and communications boat.

The Submarine sheds. Now used as repair shops for ferry boats.

Dockyard cranes



We were very fortunate to get some great views of Tall Ships while we were crossing the river on the cable car.


Keith and I spent a day at the Tall Ships festival this week. Our first stop was at The Royal Arsenal at Woolwich where a number of visiting ships were berthed.

Artemis built in 1926 as a whaler. Later converted to a freighter and now used as a floating hotel cruising the Baltic.

Replica of The Nao Victoria which circumnavigated the world in 1519-1522

Tolkien was built as a diesel powered tug operating out of Rostock. In 1995 she was in Rotterdam when the company who owned her went bankrupt. She was bought by a private individual who removed her diesel engines and converted her into a top-sail schooner. She operates cruises in the Baltic and the North Sea


TS Royalist belongs to the Sea Cadets and is used for training.

When the ships leave Greenwich on Sunday, they will sail to Portugal before crossing the Atlantic to Canada.

Golden Hinde

Posted: March 24, 2017 in Devon, History, Medieval History, Ships, UK
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This full sized replica of the Tudor Warship, Golden Hinde, has been berthed in Brixham Harbour for over 50 years.

It serves as a museum to the life and voyages of Sir Francis Drake. The Golden Hinde was his most famous ship in which he circumnavigated the world on a journey of over 36,000 miles.

PS Waverley alongside at Gravesend

PS Waverley alongside at Gravesend

The PS Waverley is the oldest surviving passenger-carrying sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

SS Waverley approaching Gravesend

PS Waverley approaching Gravesend

Built in Glasgow in 1946 for the LNER railway she carried rail passengers from Helensburgh on the Clyde estuary along Loch Long to Arrochar. In 1948 the railways were nationalised and shipping services passed to the Caledonian Steam Packet Co which continued to operate Waverley on the Helensburgh – Arrochar route.

PS Waverley passing Greenwich

PS Waverley passing Greenwich

In 1973 CSP became part of Caledonian MacBrayne and they immediately took the decision to withdraw Waverley from service. Anxious to ensure preservation of this historic ship they sold it to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for £1.

PS Waverley was restored to good order following a fund-raising campaign and entered into service doing tourist trips along the River Clyde. It also tours the UK outside of the summer season doing river and coastal trips. It has been declared part of the National Historic Fleet.


PS Waverley approaching the Greenwich Penninsular

PS Waverley approaching the Greenwich Peninsular


It has always puzzled me that it is illegal to dump a car on the road but no such law exists about dumping boats and so on many of our estuaries we find graveyards where old, damaged and unwanted posts are driven onto the mudflats and left to rot.


On our Hoo walk last week we came across just such a graveyard with boats in all states of decay.



I guess there is one point where the boats, at least if they are wood, differ from a car, they do rot and over time become part of the environment.



On the south-bank of the pool of London, between London and Tower bridge is an area of regenerated warehouses. The two notable sights being HMS Belfast and London City Hall.

HMS Belfast with HMS Severn a navy patrol boat alongside

HMS Belfast with HMS Severn alongside

HMS Belfast is a cruiser launched just prior to the second world war in 1938. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities she struck a German mine and was in dock undergoing repairs for 2 years. In 1942 she was appointed to the fleet guarding the convoys in the Arctic and in 1944 she supported the landings on the Normandy beaches. In 1945 she was transferred to the far eastern fleet. She was retired from active service in 1963.


There followed a period of indecision as to her future but eventually it was decided to form an independent trust to operate the ship as a museum in the pool of London. It opened to the public in 1971 and ownership was transferred to the Imperial War Museum in 1978. It also serves as a mooring place for naval ships visiting the pool of London. On the day of our journey, HMS Severn a Royal Navy patrol vessel was moored alongside.



London City Hall is the home of the Greater London Authority. It was built on the south-bankat the turn of the century and opened in 2002 replacing the old county hall in Westminster.

City Hall

City Hall

Another highlight of my day at the Tall Ships Festival was some smaller barges which was also present on the river.




Seeing these barges which were once a familiar sight on the rivers of this country reminds me of a rather unique birdwatching trip I did many years ago on the River Blackwater in Essex. A barge similar to these served both as a mobile hide as well as accommodation and enabled us to get into some otherwise pretty inaccessible places on the estuary and all with no travelling or walking. It was a truly lovely way to travel and very restful.

Tall Ships Festival (3)

Posted: September 9, 2014 in History, Ships
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Dar Mlodziezy moored at Greenwich Penninsular

Dar Mlodziezy (The gift of youth) is one of six ships of this design built for the Polish and Russian Navies as training ships. She was launched in the 1980s. She is largely used by cadets at Gdynia Maritime University in Poland. She regularly takes part in Tall Ship races and has also circumnavigated the world. During the festival the crew has been joined by young people from the Greenwich area.

Mercedes passes Greenwich

Mercedes passes the Dar Mlodziezy giving a size comparison between the two ships

Oosterschelde passes Greenwich with the Greenwich Dome in the background.

Tall Ships Festival (2)

Posted: September 7, 2014 in History, Ships
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Onto the main site at Greenwich waterfront.


The Tolkien passes the O2 arena

The Tolkien passes the O2 arena

The Tolkien was built in East Germany as a motorised tug boat. After she became uneconomic to run she was purchased and refitted as a schooner in 1995

The Gallant passes Greenwich waterfront passing down-river

The Gallant passes Greenwich waterfront going up-river

The Gallant was launced in 1916 and served as a herring drifter. Eventually left to rot she was salvaged as part of a Dutch government scheme to provide employment for young people. Rebuilt by the Tall Ship Gallant Foundation she is a regular at Eurpean sailing events



Iris is another ship originally designed for herring fishing, she was launched in 1916 and in her first year brought 1683 barrels of herring back to the Netherlands mainly from the fishing grounds around the Shetland Islands. She was later used as a general trader and latterly as a cruise boat making trips to the North Cape.

Lady of  Avenel going upstream towards London

Lady of Avenel going upstream towards London