Product Number: 3026
After two millennia of tragedy on these robust shores, shipwrecks are largely a thing of the past
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The coaster has vanished from the little ports and natural harbours now full of smart cabin cruisers and pleasure yachts. Mersey traffic is but a trickle of ships equipped with the latest electronic navigational aids – although still obliged to take on a pilot at Point Lynas or the Mersey Bar. Most of our lighthouses still penetrate the dark with their reassuring beams, but all are unmanned, and the lantern of the once-famous Great Orme lighthouse is now a museum exhibit, returned to Llandudno after a sojourn at the offices of the old Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
The popular passenger service between Llandudno and Douglas ended in 1982, when the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company surrendered to the motor car and switched to a roll-on-roll-off service to Heysham. Defence cuts have ended the once regular Royal Navy visits to Llandudno. Old piers are in a sorry state. The sea-going lifeboat has been withdrawn from Beaumaris, and replaced by a modern intermediate boat, larger than the inshore lifeboats that now do nearly all the work of the RNLI in these waters, aided by the rescue helicopters of 22 Squadron at RAF Valley.
The colourful pageant of shipping apparent when the first edition of this book was published in 1973 is now reduced to dinghies, wind-surfers, power boats, water skiers and swarms of noisy water-bikers, but nostalgia and public demand has made it necessary to bring out a fourth and much enlarged edition of what has long been the pioneering classic in its field.
Another element of today’s affluence and availability of sophisticated equipment, is the increase in diving activity off the North Wales coast, much of it stimulated by the first three editions of this book (1973, 1978, 1986). Some of the resultant discoveries are set out in a new eleventh chapter written for this 21st century edition.