This page contains photos obtained during a variety of memorable weather conditions. Some shots are not of the best quality but still reflect some notable days at the coast.
The weather plays an important role in the life of the ship photographer. Days with good light when perfect shots are to be had are few and far between. So attention to the forecast & being equipped with the right clothing is a must.
Conditions can change rapidly from fair to foul but the ship enthusiast is a hardy fellow and battles on despite what the elements might throw at him. As long as his precious equipment can be protected from sea spray & rain etc he will press on regardless to obtain that perfect shot. Silloth & Workington are exposed to Irish Sea storms resulting in some dramatic shots. It should be said that ship's crews & port employees face much more serious hazards when going about their routine work, particularly when faced with poor weather. Manoeuvring vessels in & out of port requires considerably more skill than the photographer who is simply clicking away with his feet fixed firmly on solid ground.
Here's an example of one of those hazardous days at Workington. It's rare for the pilot to be beaten by the weather, but on 29th Jan 2016, storm 'Gertrude' did just that. 'PERFORMER' was Inbound from Garrucha, Spain on the afternoon tide, however the severity of the storm prevented the pilot from boarding. Tug "DERWENT" is seen returning to base with the pilot while 'PERFORMER' moves south to seek shelter. It wasn't until 2days later that conditions allowed the ship to enter port & unload its cargo of gypsum..
WEATHER CONDITIONS AT SILLOTH & WORKINGTON
Conditions experienced at the two ports can be quite different despite being less than 20miles apart, eg Workington can be shrouded in fog while the sun shines at Silloth & vice versa.
Silloth is not as exposed to south-westerlies as Workington & as long as ships can reach Workington anchorage safely they can usually proceed north along the Solway under normal pilotage. Tidal conditions at the port entrance are of more concern, eg, water depth at the dock entrance can be 'cut' significantly by easterly winds.
The effect of storms are more strongly further south at Workington, but it is only on rare occasions that an arrival is postponed. Once into the harbour basin, manoeuvring through the dock entrance is relatively straightforward. Departures can present other problems, eg an empty vessel with high superstructure may experience difficulties turning in the basin in high winds.
This site contains photos taken in all weather conditions. It's particulary pleasing to take shots which illustrate the qualities of the surrounding countryside. Both north Cumbrian ports have interesting backdrops in which to frame ship movements. On clear days there are excellent views of the hills of Dumfries & Galloway across the Solway Firth from Silloth. Workington offers imposing inland views of the Western Lake District Fells from the end of the pier.
Below is a selection of shots reflecting the seasonal weather changes at the two locations. Firstly Criffel, the hill to the south of Dumfries which, despite being only 570m, is a prominent feature on views from Silloth.
The first signs of winter in Cumbria are usually seen in November with a covering of snow on the Western Lake Disrict Fells. This wintry scene comes & goes for several months adding interest to Workington photos.
Below is a selection of photos taken on some of those days when the weather was far from ideal
'FOG' at Silloth, 23rd March 2011
CLAVIGO, (St.John's) IMO 9014688, was known to be on its way from the Workington anchorage to Silloth but there was no sighting until it appeared out of the mirk only a short distance from the dock entrance. Inbound from Sagunto, a Spanish Mediterranean port, the pilot & crew earned their money that day. The vessel made an unusual approach from the north, cautiosly easing its way around the outer entrance wall and making its way safely into Marshall Dock with its cargo of fertiliser.
"SWANLAND" (Avatiu) IMO 7607431, at Workington, 25th Nov 2011
'SWANLAND' is seen departing for Raynes Jetty, N.Wales on a stormy November morning. The Cook Island reistered 'self-discharging' vessel, IMO 7607431, had arrived the previous day with limestone from the N.Wales quarry. The strength of the south-westerly gale made it extremely difficult for the empty ship to manoeuvre through the dock entrance. This would normally present no problem but only after several minutes had she managed to inch out of the dock.
The photos below give some idea of the strength of the storm she faced once clear of the dock. Transfer of the pilot back to the tug 'DERWENT' was only possible after sailing north to calmer waters off Maryport. It was a further 50min before the transfer was complete & the ship passed Workington on her way south. In the third shot SWANLAND is heading south as LINNAU approaches to make her entry.
Sadly this was her final successful sailing. After reloading with limestone at Raynes Jetty and setting sail for Cowes, IOW, she hit more storms off Bardsey Island where she floundered & broke-up. Six of the eight Russian crew lost their lives.
Underwater surveys showed the vessel to be in an inverted position on the seabed having suffered structural failure. An investigation by the MAIB produced a damning Report. A catalogue of errors was highlighted, including incorrect loading of the cargo resulting in stresses on the structure, & lack of maintenance of the 34yr old vessel.
The ship's owner, Torbulk Ltd of Grimsby, who were responsible for technical & safety management, stated that inspections were regularly carried out & faults promptly rectified but crew members disputed this.
An inquest found the six seamen to have died of 'misadventure'.
"LINNAU" (St.John's) IMO 9280689 at Workington, 25th Nov 2011
An eventful morning as LINNAU arrives from Dublin after waiting for SWANLAND to get away. The captain must have been aware of conditions in the Irish Sea before setting out.
Unusually heavy summer seas for the arrival from Bilbao. Decks are awash on the approach until calmer waters of the harbour basin are reached. The general cargo vessel is carrying a full load of baled wood pulp from Bilbao.
"RAINBOWS" at Workington
it's always a bonus to capture a rainbow. Coincidentally two deliveries of Spanish gypsum are illuminated by autumnal rainbows. Firstly, VARNADIEP (Groningen) IMO 9263540, is inbound on October 2012 inbetween showers. The third photo clearly shows the end of a rainbow to be in the harbour basin as MERIDAAN (Terneuzen) IMO 9385881 is being unloaded.
"CLARA K." (Delfzijl) IMO 9373321 at Workington, 29th Apr 2014
The arrival had been anticipated for days but was greeted by the curse of a coastal fog. Interesting photos nonetheless & the camera coped quite well at close range from the approach road at Workington Pier. The cargo was baled wood pulp from Ribadeo, N.Spain.
"SCOT ISLES" (Rochester) IMO 9243930 at Workington 3rd Mar 2015
Only a moderate spring swell is needed for the decks of a fully loaded 'Scot Isles' to become awash as she crosses the sand bar at the entrance to Workington harbour. Inbound from Corpach, Fort William with deck timber & hold wood chip.
"AMURDIEP" (Limassol) IMO 9472036, at Workington, 18th Nov 2015
Heavy seas and some rock 'n' roll for 'ARMUDIEP' as she passes over the sand bar at the port entrance before reaching shelter in the harbour basin. She had arrived with baled wood pulp from Aveiro, Portugal.
"ARKLOW BEACON" (Rotterdam) IMO 9638795 at Workington, 13th Nov 2015
Conditions were tricky as ARKLOW BEACON arrived during the first autumn storm of the year, named "Abigail". At 120m & 8,400tn DWT she is one of the larger general cargo vessels to visit the port. As such, she needs a bow line from the tug DERWENT to steady her. The photos show the difficult approach conditions, attachment of a line to the tug & safe passage into the harbour basin. She is carrying gypsum from Garrucha, S. Spain.
Shipping club, 'Yorkshire Ship Enthusiasts' liked these so much they chose the one below for their 2017 calendar.
"AMURDIEP" (Limassol) IMO 9472036 at Workington, 7th Feb 2016
On her second visit from Portugal within 3months, AMURDIEP again feels the effects of the swell as she approaches the port.
"BALTICA HAV" (Nassau) IMO 8215728 at Silloth, 27th Apr 2016
All seasons were seen in one afternoon during the arrival of BALTICA HAV from the German port of Mukran. Showers which had been circling the town all afternoon decided to deposit their snow as the ship entered dock. By the time she was tied up the sun was shining.