Cornwall April 2011: King Harry Ferry

15 April 2011

After a long drive from Suffolk, we arrived safely at our cottage for the week above the King Harry Ferry offices on the River Fal. This is the view from our bedroom window as dusk begins to fall.

20 April 2011

Although we were staying by the King Harry Ferry route, the ferry itself was down in a dry dock at Falmouth having its first five-yearly maintenance. On Wednesday it was due back at 1pm, and Stephen took the Trelissick Woodland walk to watch it being pulled up the river. It is rounding a buoy which is a long way over to the west side of the river.

The woodland walk, now a very brisk walk to get back to the cottage ahead of the ferry and tugs.

After a flying visit to the cottage to get Lucy, we went down to the ferry landing to see the ferry being brought in.

The arrival has brought a few others to watch the once-in-five-years spectacle.

First the ferry is pulled towards the far bank to get the upstream side on the upstream

All seems to be going well though she is now on the wrong side of the river

And heading upstream with the wind, and the two tugs and the pilot boat seem to be a little unclear as to the plan

A remarkably thin blue line is run out to the ferry by the little inflatable

Though a little yacht has other ideas, with the harbour master watching closely from his little boat

The pilot boat is now on the upstream side, appearing to be doing the work you might expect of the tugs of nosing the ferry around

The thin blue line is now attached to the ferry and is safely ashore, with the tug Valid pulling the ferry for the moment

But when Valid runs out of room, the old Bedford with faithful driver Dave is brought into action

The ferry is now gradually pulled into shore by the Bedford

Safely grounded, though with a tendency for the floating end to drift, something the tug seemed remarkably poor at doing anything about.

The thin blue line is now put into service pulling a thicker blue line (you can just see the joining ring), which in turn is attached to the big chain.

The thin blue line wasn't quite up to the job, and snapped with a loud bang.

But the thicker blue line was now attached to the Bedford and the chain is brought through the ferry mechanism

Meanwhile Valid is keeping the ferry on station (for a while) and this valiant chap is making sure the end of the blue line on this side, attached to the other chain, isn't lost.

The Bedford pulls the chain itself

...which is then fixed to its new mounting which we'd seen being fixed on earlier in the week

The thicker blue line being coiled, ready to be put in the back of the shed to be brought out again in another five years.

The chain appears on the upstream side - job almost done.

21 April 2011

Next morning, and the 0720 service is the first to run for a fortnight

22 April 2011

Our final morning and though it was quicker to take the road to Truro, we wanted to use the ferry on our way home. This chap is a statue on the upper walkway on the ferry, complementing one who sits by the ferry offices with his feet outstretched. Both look disconcertingly real from any distance at all.

Lucy at the wheel as the ferry crosses the Fal. Our cottage and bedroom window can be seen behind the company offices.

Looking downstream from next to that statue. The glass wall on the downstream side is an excellent innovation on this ferry number 7.

A last look back at the Feock side of the river before heading back to Suffolk.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson