The Riverdance was hit by a freak wave in gales and was driven onto the shore off Anchorsholme during the night of 31 January 2008. Thousands of packets of McVitie’s chocolate biscuits have washed ashore – presumably a little salty after floating ashore… I’ve not yet been able to ascertain what Burtons Biscuits factory in Blackpool have to say about that!
There’s a fair bit of traffic around the area with people going to have a look. The ship is a ferry of the rear gate roll-on, roll-off type. The Promenade road is closed to traffic and pedestrians by the police at the moment. The road has been closed for a a bit as roadworks have been ongoing, but I think the police have closed it to pedestrians to try to prevent any repeat of the amateur salvage operations of the type seen in Cornwall a while ago. Certainly it’s hard to understand what the risk might be that requires the area to be blocked off
Just how close to shore the ship is can be seen from this shot, taken from the garden in front of the flats along the seafront at that point. A good viewpoint is also to be gained from Anchorsholme Park. If anyone feels the urge to go for a shufty, I’d recommend parking a bit off and walking down either from Cleveleys main car parks or from the main road parking areas between the Esso garage and Cleveleys town centre. The roads between there and the seafront were choked when I went down and as the ship is likely to be there for a while you have plenty of time.
A high tide is going to be necessary to re-float her, even if they take off fuel to lighten her as I gather is the plan.
Riverdance, now listing heavily as work continues to empty out the fuel in the hopes of re-floating her later this week.
They were hoping for months to be able to refloat her whilst the residents of Blackpool shook their heads sadly and thought “No chance…” Well they have now come to the same conclusion and are in the process of cutting up the ship and taking it away bit by bit. We went down on Sunday morning to have a look and the stern of the ship has already disappeared. The first week of the operation saw the welding torches start a fire aboard the Riverdance – always a distinct risk of this type of operation.
So after six months it seems Anchorsholme is to lose the biggest tourist attraction since the Abana suffered the same fate in the late 19th century. At least there are a few spars of that wreck still left on the beach for people to see. Only a few hundred yards away in fact! Sad end to a ship.