MV Balmoral gave toot on her horn yesterday as she left Penarth for her last round trip of the season from Penarth – a voyage to Ilfracombe and back.
She returned to Penarth Pier last night and then anchored off Penarth overnight before early this morning returning to Penarth Pier to pick up her last passengers of the season for a final one-way trip from Penarth to Bristol Docks where she will be laid up for the winter.
At first light this morning however there was only a small turn out of passengers for the early breakfast-time final voyage of the season.
When Balmoral cast off from Penarth Pier in the grey dawn, there was no customary end-of-season toot on her horn – perhaps a concession to local residents living on the sea front who might have been still asleep.
The ship’s crew had gone to the trouble of dressing the little ship overall in maritime signal flags to provide a sense of occasion for her morning departure – but there were, alas, few people on the pier or on the Esplanade to see her as she let go her lines for the last time at 07:15 and turned towards Bristol and the long gloomy winter ahead.
Passengers sailing on her from Penarth to Bristol this morning were to be brought back from Bristol by coach.
Today brings to an end a difficult and testing season for Balmoral and for the MV Balmoral Trust which operates her, but all concerned hope the little ship, which has brought so much pleasure to so many people in Penarth, will be back again next summer.