musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Month: May 2013

The Death of a Soldier.

A few weeks ago I bought some wooden Poppy Crosses at the Poppy Shop. The intention being to plant some at the Mendi Memorial in Hollybrook. I haven’t gotten down to physically doing it yet, but it is in my plans. However, events from last week overtook my plans following the tragic murder of a young soldier in London. Like most ex-servicemen I was shocked, and frankly read some of the reports with horror at the sheer brutality of the perpetrators. I was also amazed to read about the 3 Women who stood up and showed their mettle. Somewhere a debt is owned to them. 
 
But out of this horror many things have happened, and the public outpouring of grief has been widespread. Tributes are being laid at war memorials all over the UK, and many people are suddenly realising what being a soldier is about. I won’t comment on the politics involved, and I wont condemn anybody. 
 
I did not have any flowers, but took one of those poppy crosses up to the Cenotaph in Southampton.  Along the way I stopped and picked some flowers from the local park (don’t tell anybody) and laid them down for Lee Rigby. A soldier, who has paid the price for being a soldier. Who now stands amongst the ranks of those who do not grow old, as we grow old. 

I expect the repercussions will still happen, the final page on this incident has not been written, if anything it is just a small introduction. Sadly, another entry has been made in the Roll of Honour, and another life has been lost. 

Stand at ease Drummer Lee Rigby, your duty has been done.
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 08/04/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:03

Netley Abbey

If you look at Google Earth co-ordinates  50.877893°, -1.357482° you will see where I was yesterday: Netley Abbey, a Cistercian monastery and Tudor great house. Founded in 1238 by the Bishop of Winchester, the remains include the church, the chapter house and the Abbots lodging. Today the site is dominated by the ruins that are really magnificent in their dereliction. Considering the age of the structure it is in a remarkably good condition, and apart from some fenced off areas is open to everybody.
 
 
The ruins are a jumble when seen from the ground, but a graphic at the site does give you more of a sense of the general layout.
 
 
This is part of the church from outside. while the image below is of the opposite side of the church, probably where the main entrance to the church was. 


The high alter end is still intact with its beautiful Gothic style window, however the one transept is missing. Two pillars would have supported the roof, and on the base of one an inscription is still legible “H. DI. GRA REX ANGL.” (Henry, by the grace of God, King of the English)
 

The Abbots Lodging was very interesting because much of the ground floor roof is intact. In all probability the floor above may have a lot of intact features too, but that floor is not accessible

 
 
I kept on getting mental images of a person in clerical garments living here, with his furniture and staff and all that goes with it. It is a very nice building, but somewhat strange. The abbot had his own hall for entertaining guests, a private chapel, and his own latrine. There is a stream running underneath the abbey, and it provided running  water to the monks dormitory, as well as to the hospital. The stream is split before the building and a branch would have run by the kitchen. There may have been a well in the kitchen too.
 
The site is very popular with the locals. While I was there a wedding couple were being photographed in the grounds, while groups of people were strolling along enjoying the sunshine (which made a nice change). It is a very pretty place and I expect just a little bit creepy at night. . 
 

Sadly though, graffiti exisits on some of the stonework, and I am sure that somewhere in these ruins there may be the local monastic equivalent of “Kilroy was here” scratched in Latin.

I know what the Abbey looks like today, but what did it look like in the late 13th century? An artists impression does exists as below.
  
It does not seem to be an elaborate structure, however, the craftsmanship of the building is very evident in the ruins that are that are left.  The stone is not a local product either, and may have come from France or the Isle of Wight. 
 
When Henry VIII suppressed the abbey in 1536, the monastic life came to an end. 
 
 
The buildings were then granted to Sir William Paulet, the first Marquess of Winchester. He converted the abbey into his own country mansion.  Using much of the original buildings, his additions were built mostly in brick and were removed in the 19th century.
 
Around 1700 the new owner decided to demolish the church and sell the material; he contracted a Southampton builder to do the work, but the contractor was killed by a by a piece of falling masonry, and demolition was stopped and the building was abandoned.
 
By the second half of the 18th Century  the abandoned buildings had become a favoured “tourist” attraction, and a concerted effort was made to conserve the ruins.and remove some of the additions. 
 
 
 
In 1922 the abbey passed into state care by its owners, and conservation and preservation has continued since. 
 
A place like this does photograph very well in black and white, and is supposedly haunted by at least two ghosts. I know that the abbots lodging had a distinctly different feel to it….
 
   
 
 
It is well worth the walk to see this beautiful old building, and while it may seem to be just another ruin, it is worth considering that long before Jan Van Riebeeck was born this building had already been in use since 1238.
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images replaced 08/04/2016
 
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:04

Farewell Ark Royal.

Today another iconic ship left on her way to the breakers. HMS Ark Royal set off from Plymouth on 20 May 2013 under tow for Turkey where she is to be broken up. It is always sad to see a ship go to the breakers, they are usually with us for so long, and we cannot really picture a time when they are no longer there. The Ark was launched on 2 June 1981, and at that moment I was almost 18 months into my national service. It is now over 30 years later and she is heading for her end.
I was in Portsmouth twice this year, and on my second  visit was on a harbour cruise where I spotted her amongst the other ships at the dockyard. She was partly obscured by HMS Edinburgh, but she still loomed over her, as if to say “I am still here, don’t forget about me”.
 
 Sadly, even HMS Edinburgh may soon be taking that long last tow, or end up laid up at Fareham Creek like so many of her fleetmates. The days of these ships are finite, and as much as we wish they could be with us forever, we know that very rarely do preserved ships last very long. Those that do survive into preservation have a tenuous existence, always at the mercy of accountants and rubber stamps.
Many years ago I saw another proud aircraft carrier on her last commission: HMS Eagle called in Durban during December 1971 while we were holidaying there. I was 10 years old and the sight of that ship never left me, and was probably more fuel for my love of ships. Sadly I did not see the Ark at the end of her tow rope, but I know people watched her go, and waved, and ships blew their sirens for her, and as she disappeared into the haze I know that there were many who shared a tear for a great ship. She will live on in the history books, and in the memories of those who built, sailed and loved her. Her entry in the book of great ships is written; as the fifth ship to bear that proud name.
Fair weather for your final voyage HMS Ark Royal.  
 
Postscript.
I revisited Portsmouth and Gosport on 28/09/2014 and Ark Royal’s fleetmate HMS Illustrious was alongside being destored prior to being laid up for sale.
 
 
*Update 07/12/2016*
This morning HMS Illustrious slipped her moorings and was towed from Portsmouth en route to the breakers.  Fair weather for your final voyage HMS Illustrious.  
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images replaced 08/04/2016. Illustrious images added 08/04/2016, updated 07/12/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:04

Southampton Shipwatch 26: MSC Opera

This shipwatch was originally a short one because I only had a short glimpse of the ship in question and was hoping to get better pics of her at a later date. MSC Opera was scheduled to arrive at QEII on the 18th of May at 07H30. And, when I got there at of 07H00 she was already alongside. This is the resulting image:

 

I was not able to photograph her sailing either, as I was out gallivanting. She is scheduled here again on the 25th, so hopefully I will be able to get more images then. The Opera is one of the Lyrica class ships, and as far as I recall they were loosely based on the Grand Mistral that was in Southampton this past week. Until I can get better images though this is all I can say about Opera.

Arrival 25/05/2013

And, as promised MSC Opera arrived just before 07H30 on 25 May.  The last of 5 ships scheduled for the day. She also arrived as the weather turned, so the one set of pics are in cloud, the other in partial sunlight. 

 
Compared to the bulk of QM2 she is small, and I was looking for that resemblance to Grand Mistral in her too. 

 

The major difference that gives her a bit of an edge is that she has been built up above the bridge and around the stern, and has a not too awful funnel.  She is not quite as square as I expected.

opera 102 

 

And then the sun made a token appearance. brightening up the stern view of the ship as she headed towards Berth 106. 

Although when it comes to slab sided sterns I think Crown Princess will win hands down.

And with her alongside it completed the lineup of ships for the day. In the Western Docks we have Crown Princess, MSC Opera and Celebrity Eclipse.

 

And at QEII we have Queen Mary 2, with Ventura up at the Ocean Terminal. Now if only the weather would clear up.

Sailing later that day.

Sailing later that day.

Early Arrival 24/09/2014

 

 

 

© DRW 2013-2018. Images updated 08/04/2016

Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:05

An Aeroplane up in the Sky…

There is something about an aircraft flying overhead that instinctively makes me reach for my camera. They are not always easy to photograph at the best of times and photographing aircraft overhead is often a pot luck thing. I have been doing it for many years, and even today amongst my many images there are strange pics of aircraft from underneath. Most I can’t ID, some I can. The one limitation however is image resolution, many images are zoomed in at their max and then cropped, so quality may be iffy. Here are some of my favourites.

A Robinson with floats!

The aircraft is an Embraer 195, operated by Flybe.

Embraer 195

Bombadier Dash 8 Q400

Bombadier Dash 8 Q400

These twin engined turbo props seem to use Southampton as a base as they are forever hauling their rear ends over the harbour.  I hadn’t seen too many business jets here though, so this was a first for me

 This chopper I spotted in Portsmouth, and I was hoping that it would do a few more passes overhead, and maybe even call a friend or two, but alas it did not. Instead a Chinnook came over and I was really happy.
I had first seen, or rather I had first heard a Chinook in London but could not pinpoint it to try get a pic. Since then I have had my ears open for their very distinctive sound. This was however, not the last Chinnook I would see. Keep reading this blog!

 

Chinook jackpot time arrived when we were near Salisbury and I heard that familiar egg beater on steroids sound…. 

 

And he had two friends as well.
 

I have also seen this strange bird on a number of occasions, and it does appear to be a Britten Norman BN2A MkIII Trislander.

However, everything really was overshadowed by the best flypass of all. On 5 and 6 May Southampton held a Maritime Festival, and we had a visitor on both days.

 

 

And after seeing that, everything else seemed mundane.
However, even when I was in London I would score the occasional great shot, and my pride of place is this one.

He was flying so low I doubt whether I even used the maximum zoom of my lens to take the pic. I also saw much larger aircraft en route to or from their destinations.
 

 
I was quite surprised to find out that this is an BAe 146,  similar to the one I had flown in while I was in the USA, and one of my favourite passenger jet aircraft too. And having seen one, I was hoping to see another.
 
And the inevitable business jet, or maybe some celeb?
 
Or on their way to Southampton perhaps? 
 
 
And my old friend the Avro-Liner. It is hard to believe that the 4 pics above were all taken on the same evening within an hour of each other. 
 
At at very long range, the contrails of a 4 engined aircraft heading somewhere.
 
And disturbing the peace in the cemetery.
Or photobombing an arriving cruiseship, or just flying overhead.
I also spotted this air ambulance coming in to land at Southampton General Hospital, she was low enough to get semi decent pics of without using a zoom.
 

On a steam trip to Boskburg, I was also able to catch an SAA and Mango aircraft on the approach to ORT,

rsdepotday 076 
And at Rand Airport I grabbed this Cessna:
And while grave hunting up at Kromvlei I was fortunate enough to catch a Tiger Moth in flight, as well as a yellow thing.
kromvlei 179 
And finally, the first time I saw one of those new fangled airbus A380’s was back in South Africa; flying over Boksburg. I have since flown in one and frankly they are still like sardine cans, but with more sardines.

In late August I was in South Stoneham Cemetery, which is where RJ Mitchell is buried, and it is on the flight path of Southampton Airport. I was photographing his grave when an aircraft took off. Unfortunately it was hidden by the trees, and I only spotted it when it was quite far away; it was the first time I have ever seen a stringbag! These dated biplanes were involved in so many battles and the records of bravery amongst their crew is outstanding, and it is a testament to the aircraft and their design that they outlived their replacement.
and I managed to get another shot of the Trislander
and I have no idea what this is.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that the skies are rarely empty, there are always aircraft around us, it just happens that now and then we must cross paths.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 07/04/2016 

Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:05

Southampton Shipwatch 25: Silver Whisper

Technically Silver Whisper is not a new ship to me, I first saw her in Hong Kong in 2008, and she was actually much nicer than I expected back then. In fact she is a semi regular caller in South Africa. 
Silver Whisper in Hong Kong 2008

Silver Whisper in Hong Kong 2008

She arrived in Southampton on 16 May 2013, but I missed her arrival, so decided I would do an afternoon sailing stint instead. She was berthed up at Mayflower and scheduled to leave at 18H00. By the time I arrived it was already almost 6 and there was another small reefer on her way out, and she had Silversea on her side; and I wonder if she wasn’t somehow connected to Silver Whisper? Maybe some sort of support vessel?
 
Having not seen the sun in quite a few days it suddenly seemed very bright and was really making photography difficult, even hiding behind the parking sign wasn’t really helping. Silver Whisper unstuck herself and silently got under way. No toot of the horn or anything!
 
At just over 28000 GRT she is not a really big ship and they all have a reputation for excellent service on board. Her sister ship is Silver Shadow.
 
Then she was past me, and I got a chance to see a full profile, although photography wasn’t really happening because of the bright sunlight. 
whisper 028
 
I am not too keen on her stern, it reminds me too much of an iron,  but then I have seen much worse and at least she does not have a pudding bowl or a ducktail. 
 
Then she was out of effective range as she proceeded past the QEII terminal and once again it was time to go home. I liked how she came into port without a huge fanfare and sailed without one. No loud pop music blared from her decks and no raucous announcements disturbed her passage; and that is how it should be.
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 07/04/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:06

Southampton Shipwatch 24: Grand Mistral.

Another interesting vessel that may have had  an influence on at least some of the ships afloat today. Grand Mistral was scheduled to arrive at 07H45, the last of the four ships that were due on the 15th of May 2013. I will make one comment, and that she is the squarest cruise ship I have ever seen. But enough of that.

Originally built for the now bankrupt Festival Cruises in the late 90’s she did not impress even back then. This ship does not have a lot of curves, except possibly on the artwork on her hull. She is operated by Ibero Cruceros, and can carry 1700 passengers.  I believe she was heading to Amsterdam from Southampton.

 
Oddly enough she was accompanied by two tugs and she does not have stern thrusters. She was due to berth at City and when the time came for her to go alongside it did take quite a bit of time and nudging.
I especially like the girl perched in the lifeboat recess. They should have tried to incorporate more of the figurines into the hull like that.

I have to admit I was really curious about her stern, would they have cut it of abruptly? were there any curves? and what about balconies??

 

Question answered. Because she was going so slowly I was able to take a walk up to Mayflower Park, something I had never been able to do with any other ship when they were between Town Quay and City. 

 
Sunlight unfortunately was sadly lacking on this fine morning, in fact it was downright miserable and cold. Aurora was sitting up at Mayflower and I was hoping to at least get a pic of her and Grand Mistral sailing if I had gotten home early enough.
 
 
When I got home I quickly changed and dashed off to the harbour. She was due to sail at 17H00, with Aurora scheduled for 20H00. First however, we had to see Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth off. They were both delayed by the arrival of  Hapag Lloyd’s Kuala Lumpur Express which meant that there was no way Grand Mistral was going to sail on time either. 
 
Even once the two Curnarders had sailed there was no movement up at City. And I was beginning to feel that it was time to leave myself. 
  
Typically, as the bus passed the Red Funnel Ferry Terminal I saw that she had finally started moving, but there was no way I was going to bail out and follow her. As I write this Aurora has just blown her horn to sail (08H07), but I wasn’t really in the mood to hang around for her. I will hopefully get her some other time.
 
Impressions of Grand MistraL? A forgettable ship, as far as I am concerned there was not a lot of designwork on her exterior, in fact if you looked really quickly you would probably be able to mistake her for a car carrier. 
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 07/04/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:06

Southampton Shipwatch 23: Caribbean Princess

The only reason I went to go see her was really to compare her against the other ships of her ilk that had called here during my time in Southampton. Theoretically her fleetmate is Crown Princess, although that ship is probably closer to Azura and Ventura than Carribean Princess is. The major difference is that Caribbean Princess still has her push handle on her stern.  Reading a bit further it appears as if Caribbean Princess is the only representative of her class (Caribbean Class), while Ventura/Azura are both Ventura Class vessels, and Crown Princess is a member of the Crown Class.

The weather when I took the pic below was much nicer than when the ship finally sailed so please excuse the very un-Caribbean like weather in the sailing images.

 
Sailing was set for 17H00 but it seems as if these are arbitrary figures because she only started dropping her lines at  roughly 17H20. I did not hear the safety announcements either, but it could be that the wind drowned them out. 

 

It was a textbook sailing, very similar to a number I had witnessed recently, and all I really wanted to see was what she looked like once she started to swing and presented her rear end to me. With visibility being very low and a slight drizzle coming and going I did not want to spend too much time at Town Quay.

 

And now that her rear end has been revealed I can compare it to other rear ends.

I think that when they were considering the phrase “has a stern face” they may have been referring to this pair of sterns. Overall though I was not impressed by this ship, or any of her sisters for that matter. But that is a personal opinion and I cannot say what they are like on the inside. However, they are impressive to see, especially from close by.

 

And then it was time to go home as the ship started to move out of view behind one of the car carriers, I couldn’t help think that they could have been distant cousins too.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated and links changed 07/04/2016

Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:07

Visiting Fort Nelson

Another retro blogpost, and this time it is Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. I had seen the fort when we had popped into Portsmouth in April, I had intended going back there one day but logistically it was too difficult to reach it without a vehicle.  One of five forts situated on the summit of Portsdown Hill it is part of the protection of Portsmouth Naval Base. Fort Nelson is now part of  the Royal Armouries and houses their collection of artillery.  

Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill (1500×78)

According to my landlord, the forts were built to protect from invasion by the French coming over the landward side of Portsmouth, and it is confirmed by the fields of fire that the fort has. 

Portsmouth from Posrtsdown Hill (1500×609)

The first thing you see at Fort Nelson is: 
 
This is 14 Inch MK VII, and was made by Vickers-Armstrong in 1946, and is the last of her type. These were destined for ships of the King George V class battleships, although this particular gun never went to sea. The gun with its counterweight weighed in at 91 tons, the maximum range at 40 degrees elevation was 35,4 kilometres. 
 
A portent of things to come?

The Fort is a typical grim foreboding place,  It was purely functional so aesthetics did not come into its construction.
 But once inside it was a different ballgame altogether.

Some of these guns are the stuff of legend, like the mighty 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun or the equally deadly and respected 88mm gun used by the Germans in WW2 in both and anti-aircraft and anti-tank role. .
 
My own particular interest is in naval gunnery so my eyes would really be on the lookout for that.  I am an infantryman though, so the Arty is just seen as a necessary evil to make  aloud noise while we did the cleaning up.
 
There are a number of naval weapons on display, although I do not have the information on them because that was sadly lacking on a number of the displays outside the building.
 
My landlord was hoping that we would be able to see the firing of the 25 Pounder which happens each day, but we got our timing wrong so had arrived too late for that. It was a pity because I had last seen one in action when I was very young at a Military Tattoo.
 
This image taken from the battlements shows the parade ground with the solitary 25 pounder in the middle and my landlord admiring a rather large gun. 
 
While the image below was taken from a building above the gun emplacements and the direction from which the French would theoretically have come from. 
 
Assuming the got close to the fort in the first place they would have had to have then dealt with the ditch in front of the fort 
 
as well as the sheer walls of the fort itself. Naturally there would be English soldiers on the battlements throwing things at you and shouting about how “your mother is a hamster  and your father smelt of elderberries.”
 
At this point the long range weaponry of the fort would have been of little consequence as they were designed to keep the enemy away. 
 
The fort is riddled with tunnels and if the lights went out you would really be in a pickle.
 
and you find guns in some of the strangest places. These are actually mortars and they would be ideal to drop on the head of an invading force.
  
There is also an enclosed space with a number of interesting items, like a Sexton SPG.
 
And this almost familiar 155mm Howitzer from Iraq.
 
Upon closer examination it does bear a resemblance to our own G5 used during the Bush War in SWA/Angola. There is also a 5.5 inch howitzer which would not be out of place in the Artillery in South Africa. 
  
And a reminder that even behind steel armour there will always be a something that will penetrate it.
 
Of course there was a garrison of men who manned the fort and like soldiers everywhere you can bet spit and polish was more important than actually firing anything.
 
The building is laced with an untold history, and the amount of bricks used must have been staggering.
 
 
There are other period guns there, and one is tempted to ignore them as more modern exhibits are really what we can relate to so many years down the line. But it is worth remembering that many of the weapons here were considered “State of the Art” back then.
  
A place like this really provides a rare glimpse into a different kid of siege warfare, at a time when there was faith in big guns and the aircraft was not even considered. 
  
During WW2 anti-aircraft ammunition was stored here, and it must have been a very interesting place to get view the raids on the nearby naval base of Portsmouth. The bomber would destroy your previous impenetrability, and the fort was abandoned in the 1950’s. 
 
Of course ornamental weaponry is also on display, and I am particularly taken with these two examples:
 
 
And then it was time to leave, and I shall leave you with some random images.
 
Random Images.
And finally, a granddaddy from 1464.  Turkish Bombardon, To quote the blurb Made in 1464, this is one of the oldest and most extraordinary cannon in our collection.
The Turkish Bombard, with its two giant tubes screwed together, can be seen as a forerunner of the Iraqi Supergun. Beautifully inscribed in Arabic text, this Bombard is one of the jewels of the Royal Armouries collection. Unlike the Supergun, this mighty weapon was used – to hurl a 300 kg stone cannonball against its enemies.
The Great Bombard, firing huge stone balls, was the heavy demolition weapon of the Middle Ages. In 1453 the Ottoman Turks, using bombards, captured Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Turkish armies, with their bold use of artillery, came to be universally feared. Sultan Mehmet II (1430–81) was a great artillery innovator: he first employed a skilled Hungarian gunfounder, Urban, to cast bombards for the siege of Constantinople. Later, he ordered this bombard from bronze-founder Munir Ali. It is a masterpiece of medieval technology, having been cast in two pieces: barrel and powder chamber, which screw together.
It was once sited to attack ships sailing through the Dardanelles Narrows. After 400 years, visitors to Turkey continued to mention it, especially as it was still being fired in the 19th century. In 1866 Sultan Abdul Aziz presented it to Queen Victoria.”

(https://www.royalarmouries.org/visit-us/fort-nelson/galleries/single-object/196)

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 06/04/2016

Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:09

The Good Ship SS Shieldhall.

In the days before the magazine Ships Monthly became too expensive, I would often read about, and see images of Shieldhall. As usual one would sigh and say “I wish I could see her”. Well, now I have seen her, and sailed on her.
 
She usually lives at the berth at the end of the Ocean Terminal, and is always visible from Town Quay. (She has since been shifted from this position)
 
However physically getting to her is a different story altogether.  They seem to dislike single people walking through the dock gates as opposed to coming through with a vehicle. The harbour is a dangerous place so it is reasonably understandable. I was able to get to her once and managed to get images of her alongside, but getting on board is a different story. Most of the images used here were taken during the Maritime Festival of 5/6 May 2013. This page may be image intensive so please be patient
 
The vessel has had an interesting, if somewhat mundane career as a sludge disposal vessel and I am not going to expand on it because there is a website dedicated to her. However, she was withdrawn from service in 1985, and in 1988 a preservation society was formed to keep this classic beauty running. 
She is a popular attraction too, and shortly before the festival she was off to Weymouth and I was fortunate enough to see her sail one cold morning. 
 
This really made me even more determined to get on board so I made a beeline to the ship on the first day of the Maritime Festival. We were only allowed on board her just before the Lanacaster flypast and that was where I took my images of that event from. But, enough waffling. Now for some images:
 
 
Her machinery spaces are amazing. She still has a pair of triple expansion engines fired by a set of oil fired scotch boilers. The engine room is available for visits, and the engineering crew are happy to show people around.
Unfortunately, while at sea your specs and camera tend to fog up totally due to the heat and humidity. Her rudder quadrant is housed in a deckhouse at the stern and is fascinating to watch. Above this deckhouse is the emergency helm.
 
 
Her accommodation block consists of her bridge and wheelhouse, with the small shop and Captains day cabin on the next level, with a saloon below that. It is not a bulky structure, but is a tall one and it gives the ship her very distinctive look. 
 
 
A lot of Brasso gets used on that bridge, and the woodwork is magnificent. It is not a large space though and I expect it could get very crowded. The saloon area houses the bar and a galley, and a skylight provides natural light to those below. It is a very pretty room.
 
 
The ship has two lifeboats,  but they do not conform to modern regulations but have been retained along with their original davits.  
She also has two steam whistles. The one is a proper ships whistle that sounds fantastic, and the other is a strange siren like thing that sounds decidedly like it has it’s own personality. The bell mouthed object is the strange siren mounted on Shieldhall’s rather small funnel. 
Contrary to expectations she does not generate heaps of smoke out of that funnel, it probably smokes when they light up a burner in the boiler, but other than that there are just colourless hot gases coming from it. Her forepeak is a popular spot to stand while underway, and it has a steam windlass on it, as well as all the usual nautical appurtenances
 It is also where her bell is housed.
At  first I thought this was her electrical plant, but actually it is a forced draft fan, and it  is situated in a small room on the main deck level and it is powered by a small steam engine. Trunking leads down into the boiler room from here.
Although there is a modern diesel generator on the upper deck by the funnel. 
Passenger seating is mostly on benches on the foredeck. but there are plenty of nooks and crannies and shady areas to hang around in. A semi permanent awning has been erected forward of her funnel to provide more shaded seating. She does not have huge hatches on her foredeck either, rather there are a series of valves that were used to discharge her smelly cargo. 
 
 
The nice thing about her is that almost none of the working bits of the ship have been removed, today she is almost unchanged from when she was built, and I think that is part of her charm. She has no pretensions about being a fancy hi-tech ferry. She was a working ship, and although retired, has retained her look. I hope that she will be with us for many years, and I look forward to going out on her again if ever I get the chance. 
 
However, without donations and funds and volunteers and skills she will stop. So please support her as much as you can.
 
Bits and bobs.
 
There are many things on board that I liked, and I photographed a few of them as a result. These images are all about these bits and bobs.
 
 
   
 
  
 
 
 
I seem to recall that I did four trips with Shieldhall and I enjoyed each one. She is a unique relic to an age gone by, and I have a certain affection for her. Its just a pity that a day on her is no longer possible. The longest trip I did with her was down to Ryde, and I blogged about it too
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 06/04/2016
Updated: 06/09/2018 — 11:07
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