Friday, 1 January 2021

Happy New Year 2021

A Happy New Year to all. 

We hope you made the best of the Christmas break under the increasing pressures of Covid. Our thanks to all essential workers who kept transport links in operation and to those working in the NHS and other essential services such as supermarkets and support services.

We cling to the hope that the vaccine will be successful in stopping the spread of the disease and that eventually life will return to normal.

Since our last posting just before Christmas, a Brexit deal has been agreed, so we hope that businesses can now plan and move forward using the new arrangements being put in place.

During the Christmas period we were based in Bowness on Windermere and on Christmas Eve we were pleased to see that public transport links were still in existence even though passenger numbers were tiny compared to what they would have been prior to Covid.

The recently launched MV Swift was spotted at the steamer quay in Bowness, awaiting an imminent departure, so a decision to take a trip to Ambleside on this ultra modern vessel was made. 

MV Swift has three decks and at full capacity can hold 300 passengers.

The ship was built by Damen Shipyards Group. The sections of boat were transported by road to Windermere and assembled at Lakeside pier. It is 34.4 metres long and uses 2 x Volvo Penta engines to power an electrical propulsion system. 

 Due to Covid, no walk on tickets were available but a quick call to Windermere Steamers booking office secured two seats on the outside deck of The Swift. We have resident passes for the services on the lake but due to such low numbers of people travelling these privileges are currently suspended.

The 24th December was a fine but quite blustery day so our decision to take outside seats was somewhat brave, but we stayed there for most of the 35 minute journey, only coming inside for final few minutes.

The interior of the vessel is very modern and welcoming, the electric heaters being very welcome after our brave efforts on the outer deck. Normally a shop and bar is open to serve passengers but again due to Covid this facility wasn't in operation.

On time arrival at Ambleside gave us ample time to take a walk around the area and also time for a coffee and cake at the steamer quay terminal before boarding Miss Lakeland 2 for our return trip to Bowness Quay.

Although Miss Lakeland 2 is a much smaller vessel we had plenty of elbow room to maintain social distancing. The captain's commentary was most interesting and we were soon within sight of Bowness,

During our cruise of the lake it was interesting to observe the Stagecoach vehicles in operation, the routes running parallel to the lake. 

The 599 open top service between Bowness and Grasmere and the 555 service to and from Keswick were observed during our cruise, all sadly carrying very view passengers but in service nevertheless. 

The 755 service to Morecambe was also spotted from the deck of the Swift.

Normal service is planned tomorrow for our Focus postings, transport news is somewhat slow at the moment but we already have a few interesting items lined up.

Onwards & Upwards as they say. Keep Safe & Well