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Windermere Ferry closed for weeks

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Cumbria County Council says the Windermere Ferry will be out of action for weeks.

Last Sunday, just as tourists flocked to Windermere for the busy school half term, it caught fire and there is significant damage to one of its two engines.

There is no further damage to the ferry but it is nearly 30 years old so replacing or repairing that engine isn't as straight forward as it would be for your car and that means it's not going to be a quick job.

Cumbria County Council say they don't know how long it's going to take, but it's likely to be weeks not days.

"We are not permitted to operate as a ferry operator without two functioning engines and so therefore the ferry is out of service until we are able to undertake the repairs not just to the engine but also the hydraulics and the wiring loom, which has been badly damaged."

– Peter Hosking, Cumbria County Council Highways
The ferry is likely to be out of action for weeks Credit: ITV News Border

Windermere Lake Cruises are running a replacement service for pedestrians and cyclists.

They're every 45 minutes from 8am to 7pm for the same price as the ferry.

But it's too shallow for their boats at Ferry Nab, so on the eastern shore of Windermere they go from just North of the ferry landing point, from the Windermere Lake Cruises jetties at Bowness-on-Windermere to the ferry's landing point on the western shore at Far Sawrey.

Their boats came to the rescue on the day of the fire as well.

"One of our vessels go alongside the stricken vessel and we cross-deck the passengers on the stricken vessel to the safety of our own vessel. Once that's done then we take the casualties from that vessel to shore. We've reduced our fares. We see it that we're trying to help out the situation and ease the frustration that these visitors to the area would perhaps feel."

– John Woodburn, Windermere Lake Cruises
There's a replacement service for cyclists & pedestrians Credit: ITV News Border

But these boats can't take cars. It's at least a 30 minute diversion for drivers - longer if you're not used to the narrow country roads.

The race is now on to get the ferry back in time for the busy summer holidays.

Here's a recap of the important information about the replacement service:

  • Replacement service is for pedestrians and cyclists ONLY
  • It costs £1 for cyclists, 50p for pedestrians
  • No card payments - cash only
  • Every 45 minutes from 8am to 7pm
  • Eastern shore: it leaves from Bowness jetties NOT Ferry Nab
  • Western shore: ferry landing at Far Sawrey