52 in 2015 Week 13 Free Choice

A free choice this week and i can choose my subject. It’s been a while since I visited “the Duke” and as he’s only just down the road it seemed a good idea to go and pay my respects. Yesterday started off in typical fashion of the weather we have been experiencing recently; wet and windy. Not ideal for photography, but the weather prediction for what it’s worth, advised of clearing skies and sunny patches. Better.

Anyway to “the Duke”. What a state he is in, his age and neglect are really starting to show. Sure there have been some attempts to tart up this venerable old man but in my opinion they have failed miserably. I’ll leave you to judge if you think the same as me.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Duke of Lancaster

Duke of Lancaster

Once a railway steamer passenger ferry “the Duke” operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979. Today he is beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Dee, north-east Wales. Lots of things have happened to “the Duke” since he was brought to Llanerch-y-Mor with the latest being to cover him in artwork from well-known street artists. When I visited yesterday it was obvious that someone had not done their homework. Rust is starting to break through and destroy the artwork. I might be wrong but since my last visit, well over a year ago, it looks like the colours are fading in the artwork as well. What a sorry state this venerable old man has gotten into.

On the way back from visiting “the Duke” I stopped off at Talacre. One thing about Talacre Beach, it’s fine on a sunny day but on a cold and very windy day it’s not the best place to be with a camera. The sand dries out very quickly once the tide has gone out and the wind quickly whips up a mini sandstorm. Not ideal for camera and lenses, even ones which are dust and weather-proof.

Talacre Lighthouse

Look to the left of the lighthouse. You can see the patterns created by the sand as it whips from left to right across the beach. Sand is everywhere, small patches of it are forming on the rocks but this is washed away when the tide comes in. However the shifting sand is starting to rebuild the dunes that were destroyed in last years storms, which is a good thing.

That’s it for this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoyed my visit to “the Duke” and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this venerable old man.

52/2013 Week 19

It’s been a while since I visited the Duke to see what DuDug have done to him. So far on the port side they have only added two pieces of artwork. The starboard side however has more and I will be writing about them in a later post. Be sure to look out for it because there are some amazing pieces of artwork painted on the side of the ship.

For new readers who have not seen my earlier posts about the Duke, here’s some background info. The Duke of Lancaster is a railway steamer passenger ship that operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979, and is currently beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Dee, north-east Wales. It was intended to be used as a static leisure centre and market but because public access to the ship is via a bridge under the North Wales railway line, which is too low for emergency vehicles. it had to close.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Or, for this week….”The Duke Gets A New Livery”.

I have written before about the “Duke of Lancaster” an abandoned passenger ferry berthed just a long the coast from me. Nicknamed “the Funship” it has been used as night-club and a storage facility, but in recent years it has become a rusting hulk, no longer in use. I first saw “the Duke” whilst travelling on the train to a photography exhibition in Birmingham. Instantly, I knew it would make a great subject, all that rust against the white of it’s hull.

Duke of Lancaster

The “Duke of Lancaster” is in quite a good spot to be seen by trains passing from Holyhead to London, it’s visible from the main coast road and the North Wales Coastal Pathway passes along both sides of “the Duke”. That photo was taken over two years ago and since then “the Duke” has got worse

A couple of weeks back I was passing “the Duke” when I spotted something different about it. Someone had managed to get onto the dock, not an easy task, and painted graffiti on the hull.

The Duke's New Livery

It had to happen sometime, it was just too big a target, but getting on that dock is not easy. One side, the side you can see here, is protected by the river and lots of razor wire. The other side has a high fence and razor wire as well, which stretches right into the sea.

No Access To The Duke

To get access to this part of the coast I had to clamber over rocks and rubble which seems to have been dumped to try and prevent access to this particular part of the beach. The razor wire stretches right down to the low tide mark so getting onto the dock would not be easy.

The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that the “graffiti” was not done during the night. First of all the height of that blue piece of art, ladders or staging were needed to reach that high. Secondly, there’s no artificial light on the dock after dark, so some form of lighting would have been required to work at night. It would have been seen from the road.

Further research, led to me a website talking about a project to cover “the Duke” in street art from well-known artists in that field. You can read more about the project by following this link.

So what does it mean for “the Duke?” First of all he’s starting to get famous. As the project grows and more art is added, coverage in the local press has grown.

The Duke's New Livery

Since this photograph was taken, more art has been added and I’ve got a planned trip this week to photograph the recent additions. Access to the dock is still not allowed, but there has been talk of the dock eventually being opened. I think that’s a long way off, as UK Health and Safety rules are very restrictive and a lot would have to be done to the dock to enable it to be open to the public.

Getting to “the Duke” is not easy. The North Wales Coastal Pathway is designed for ramblers and cyclists, not cars. Near “the Duke” it’s slippery and muddy when wet and in the summer months rutted and uneven.

The Bridge

You can see the path here. That bridge carries the main Holyhead/London railway line and is one of the reasons “the Duke” failed as a night club. You can’t get large vehicles under the bridge. It’s too low. I’m 6’ 2” (187 cm) and I have to duck to get under. In an emergency rescue crews would not be able to get their vehicles to the dock.

The project to cover “the Duke” in street art is a great idea. It means I can go and photograph and get different photographs every time I visit. Other photographers in the area are showing an interest in “the Duke” and are visiting to photograph. Local press have been covering the project and eventually it might be picked up by the nationals. This in turn could lead to a renewal of interest in the “Duke of Lancaster” which can only be good for tourism and the local economy.

Duke of Lancaster

The Duke of Lancaster is a railway steamer passenger ship that operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979, and is currently beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Dee, north-east Wales.

The Duke of Lancaster is a railway steamer passenger ship that operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979, and is currently beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Dee, north-east Wales.. However the latest Wikipedia entry says the ship has been painted completely black and has left the mooring. I only live about 20 minutes away so I need to go and check if it’s true.

This image has been created with Machinery HDR Effects from a bracket of  3 RAW images (-2 to +2). Image details ISO 100, f16, camera Samsung GX-10

Weekly Photo Challenge: Possibility

The Duke of Lancaster is a railway steamer passenger ship that operated in Europe from 1956 to 1979, and is currently beached near Mostyn Docks, on the River Deenorth-east Wales.

The Lancaster was sold to Liverpool based company Empirewise Ltd, who intended her to be used as a static leisure centre and market. She arrived at her new home at Llanerch-y-Mor, near Mostyn, on 10 August 1979. The ship was beached and the hull was sealed — not in concrete, as is commonly thought, but surrounded by a large tonnage of sand pulled out of the Dee estuary. Known as “The Fun Ship”, it was also possible to visit her bridge and engine room. Conversion for use as a 300-room hotel did not appear to go beyond the preliminary planning stage. Its use as “The Fun Ship” was relatively short-lived and it was subsequently closed to the public because access to the ship is via a bridge under the North Wales railway line, which is too low for emergency vehicles. Over time, the vessel has become increasingly derelict.

The ship was later used as a warehouse by its owners Solitaire Liverpool Ltd, a clothing company registered to the same address as Empirewise Ltd. Despite rumours that the ship would be scrapped, the company stated that they have no plans either to sell it or to restore it and its current use is uncertain.

Despite having large amounts of its exterior paint work covered in red-leading, the interior of the ship is supposedly in very good condition.

So with the interior still intact and the ship only encased in sand rather than concrete, what do you think is the possibility that this ship will ever sail again?

Should you wish to visit the Duke of Lancaster to photograph it there are two paths either side of the river. Take the right-hand side path as you face the ship. The left-hand path leads down to high gates and lots of razor wire.