“all aboard” the Balmoral



The decision to arrange a day out for History Group members to join passengers on an historic excursion ship sailing from Llandudno Pier around the entire coast of the Isle of Anglesey proved a very popular one.

In early July 2016, 50 members and friends made up a party on board the Motor Vessel Balmoral,  which was in fine shape following its winter re-fit in Bristol, before it embarked on a five month programme of daily sailings from ports around Great Britain.


The Balmoral was built in 1949 in Southampton and for twenty years operated as a passenger and car ferry to Cowes on the Isle of Wight.  She then went on to provide coastal excursions on the Bristol Channel, the South Coast and the Thames Estuary and is now run by a heritage charitable trust of volunteers who maintain and sail the ship.  The MV Balmoral is the last of her kind operating around the British coast and more information can be found on the ship’s official website:  www.whitefunnel.co.uk.

The timing of the excursion could hardly have been better, courtesy of the tides on the day of the trip, allowing a 10.15 a.m. start and arriving back at 5.45 p.m.  Sadly, the weather could have been better because it was a day for waterproof clothing.

Balmoral (2)

Through the Straits

There was mist and fine drizzle throughout the morning which prevented the passengers seeing most of the impressive scenery, both port and starboard, but fortunately there was plenty of room in the inside salons serving food and drink.

The circumnavigation of Anglesey was in a clockwise direction sailing between Puffin Island and Penmon Point lighthouse and through the Straits with stops at Menai Bridge and Caernarvon.  As the afternoon wore on, the mist started to lift and blue skies with white clouds gradually appeared.

Balmoral (3)

By the time the ship was approaching Llandudno’s Great Orme the sun came out to cheer everyone’s spirits.  From the many comments heard immediately afterwards the members of the History Group party seemed to enjoy the Balmoral experience and were not deterred by the wet start to the day.

report from Eric Smith ….

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