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TSS Duke of Lancaster – Dee Estuary

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The excellent weather forecast continued over the Sunday – Very light winds and blue skies.  This meant we had to go on the sea but where?  Midday spring tides gave lots of opportunities around the region, River Alt from Crosby, River Mersey on the flood and return, Hilbre Island, Runcorn bridge to Fiddlers Ferry and Dee Sailing club to Heswall and Dee Sailing club to Mostyn shore (TSS Duke of Lancaster).  Well, we wanted to keep away from the crowds at Hilbre and West Kirby so fancied paddling across the Dee Estuary to the check out the Mostyn shoreline.

Ian and I met at 10:00am at Dee Sailing Club (where run the Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Race) a couple of hours before high tide.   We readied our kayaks and as the tide came over the causeway, we launched heading SW towards Mostyn.   There was fog out in the middle and we were unable to see the Welsh coast but after about 45 mins we started to see the outline of the Flintshire shoreline.   As we drew closer, we could see the outline of beached TSS Duke of Lancaster.   As we approached, we spotted a small slipway and harbour masters office and decided to draw up to stretch our legs and have lunch. As we landed an official looking person approached and said, “where are you from”.   Not wanting a confrontation during these difficult times, I replied Flint and that we were just having a cuppa.  He relaxed a bit but said we were not to go up into the yard area by the harbour.   “no worries we will stay below the high tide line.”

After about half an hour the tide began to change, and we got back on the water to return to Dee Sailing club.  As we closed in, the fog disappeared, and we headed for the white cottage to the south of the causeway.  This dropped us nicely on to the causeway and to the slipway to recover our cars.   Parking on the roads above the beach was packed with 300+ cars along the side of the road.  A great paddle with lots of options from the sailing club for future trips.

TSS Duke of Lancaster is a former 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 replaced an earlier 3,600 ton ship of the same name operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway company between Heysham and Belfast.

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