Friday, 27 April 2012

UPDATE - PHILIP H TOLLEY Friday 27 April 2012

We are sad to announce, after a short illness, the death yesterday of long time Bristol Channel Branch member Phil Tolley.

A sympathy card has been sent to Phils' wife Audrey on behalf of the committee and all branch members.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday 9th May 2012 at 10.00am. at Totterdown Methodist Church, Bushy Park Road, Bristol BS4 2EG

If anyone has a photograph of Phil that they could send/email for us to put on the web site, we would be very grateful - many will have known his name but can't put a face to it.

Peter Havard

Friday, 20 April 2012


With the new Friends tickets being usable across all sailing areas, below is a schedule of the dates when the ships are in each area.


Western Isles - June 1 to June 11

Clyde - June 16 to Aug 26

Bristol Channel - Aug 29 to Sept 9

South Coast - Sept 12 to Sept 27

Thames - Sept 28 to Oct 14

Clyde - Oct 20 to Oct 21


Irish Sea/Isle of Man - June 14 to June 17

North Wales - June 18

Bristol Channel - June 20 to July 1

South Coast - July 3 to July 4

Thames - July 5 to July 19

South Coast - July 22 to Aug 12

Bristol Channel - Aug 14 to Aug 28

Irish Sea/Isle of Man - Aug 30

Western Isles - Aug 31 to Sept 4

Northern Ireland - Sept 7 to Sept 9

Irish Sea/ Isle of Man - Sept 10 to Sept 15

North Wales - Sept 16

Peter Havard


 A new 'Friends of Waverley' ticket has been announced.  It will replace the existing annual regional Commodore tickets and cruising voucher schemes.

The information pack states that "it is very keenly priced (cheap! PH) at only £175 for an adult and entitles you to unlimited sailing all year round, for both ships and on all their routes throughout the UK"  terms and conditions will apply and Friends tickets will not be valid for some special cruises/charters.

Unlike the old Commodore ticket, the new Friends tickets do NOT guarantee a place on board.  Passengers will be boarded on a first come, first served basis.  For popular cruises it is recommended that the office be called and a place booked in advance (0845 1304647)  The other significant difference is that the ticket only covers the cost of the sailing on Waverley and Balmoral, all coach transfers, connections to and from the ships, and shore excursions are excluded and have to be paid for separately.

It is understood that Lifetime Commodore tickets will continue to be valid and used under their existing terms and conditions.

For full information/prices etc on the Friends ticket go to the WEL website where an application form can be downloaded or telephone 0845 130 4647

Peter Havard


The Bristol Channel Branch A.G.M was held on Saturday 14th April at the Walton Park Hotel, Clevedon. With only about 2 dozen members attending.

The minutes of the previous years AGM were circulated, read, agreed and approved.  The Chairman gave his report on the 2011 season and gave news on the 2012 timetable, the new 'Friends of Waverley' season tickets (see separate post) and informed us that a new Waverley web site will be on-line shortly.

The branch accounts were circulated  and were read through/explained by the Chairman (in the Treasurers absence).  The Secretary gave a short report on the winter meetings and advised that a different venue for the Bristol meetings was being sought.

All current officers were prepared to stand for another year, and with no other nominees, all were re elected.  Vice Chair Moyra Denby did state that 2012 would be her final, final, final year and she will definitely be standing down next year.

A number of things were discussed under 'Any Other Business' - I wasn't taking notes so can't remember them all - one was, W.E.L. has increased the minimum number of tickets for charitable fundraising group bookings from 20(?)  to 50.  It was felt that this number was too high and would deter many groups booking - apparently, groups have been booking, taking the generous discount and not passing it on to the charity.  Solution - group pays the full price and WEL pays the discount to the charity.
One other thing was, early notification of the P.S.P.S. Annual General Meeting being held in Bath on Saturday 17th November.

At the close of the AGM business, we were able to look at the items that Andrew Gladwell had brought along from the PSPS archive, they were mainly items from P & A Campbell, there were also a number from Sidney Robinsons collection.  After that we all adjourned to the dining room (overlooking the Bristol Channel) where we enjoyed a very well presented, tasty three course lunch before heading for home.

Peter Havard

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Balmoral left her berth at Princes Wharf, Bristol at 0900 hrs yesterday and proceeded to Glasgow/Greenock where shortly, she will be dry docked together with Waverley.  She left Bristol with a lot of part finished jobs still to be completed - looking rather like a floating workshop with all the usual winter work-party clutter lying around the alleyways.  Again this year, I've been recording the winter work and will write up a short article in the next week or so.

I was watching Bals progress down the Avon on AIS and was wondering how I could get off  work to take a photo as she came down channel, when I noticed Isambard Brunel  hovering around Avonmouth dock entrance.  If Chris Jones is aboard IB, he'll take a photo, I thought  - and he hasn't let me down!

Landed the Avon River pilot at Avonmouth Dock entrance - photo courtesy of Chris Jones

Bals AIS track 0900 to 1930 on route to Clyde -  April 11th 2012
Peter Havard

Monday, 9 April 2012


Members may be interested to know that the old Dorset Belle (soon to be renamed) is now based at Cardiff and has been carry out sea trials for her new owners.

She will shortly commence 3 daily sailings of 90 minute duration (April until October) starting from her berth in the old Mountstuart dry dock (next to Harry Ramsdens), then proceeding across Cardiff Bay, out through the locks then down channel towards Flat Holm and back.  The Severn VTS web site has had Dorset Belle listed as having arrived/departed from Penarth Pier on each of the last 5 days - don't know if they plan on using the pier as a departure point for their vessel in the future???

The vessel is licensed to carry 200 passengers. The 90 minute trips are priced at £10.50 for adults, children free - maximum of 3 free children with each paying adult.  Food for thought here on childrens pricing for trips on our ships??
Dorset Belle berthed outside Penarth Marina

Peter Havard

Friday, 6 April 2012


The timetable for the Bristol Channel sailings is now available to view/download from the Waverley Excursions web site, as are the North West, North Wales, South Coast and Thames timetables.

The banner at the foot of the timetable looks promising - Balmoral  from June 20  to August 28 and Waverley from  Aug 29 to Sept 9 - in reality, Balmoral is only on the channel from 20th June to 1st July, then again from 14th August to 28th August.  The total number of scheduled days sailings (both ships) is 37, down almost one third on last years figure of 52. Let's hope that in the 3 weeks that Balmoral is on the South Coast (Olympics) she has good weather, good loadings and makes a lot of money!

The timetabled sailings for the channel are much the same as usual -  there's a Padstow trip on Sunday 1st July.  There are no sailings from Newport (coach pick-up and drop-off only).  There are 4 Swansea departures (all marked 'To Be Confirmed')  and 2 trips from Briton Ferry.

Peter Havard