The Lundy Lifeline
In 1980, the Balmoral was transferred to P. & A. Campbell’s, and in turn, was chartered out to a new company – White Funnel Steamers Limited.
Supported by the Landmark Trust, the owners of Lundy Island, the plan was to maintain services to Lundy in full co-operation.
At this time, the primary concern for the Trust was that they did not wish to lose day excursion traffic to the island. The decision was to base the Balmoral at the Port of Swansea, enabling the creation of regular sailings via Ilfracombe to Lundy Island.
Sadly, scheduling was not the most creative. Compounded by a season of poor weather, the season’s results were disappointing. Ultimately, the venture led to failure after just one year, and the final cruise took place in October 1980.
It was all over for Campbell’s, after a critical meeting in London at the height of winter. Their empire was dismantled. After twelve hears of successful, fast-paced, and reliable operation on the Bristol Channel,
This was the end of the Steamer era.
Balmoral was now to be laid-up and languished at Bristol, specifically Avonmouth. The only hope was that a promising buyer would come along, or the vessel would have to be broken up and recycled. It would be a long wait.