I recently had the pleasure of taking my grandchildren on a river trip from Trelissick, near Truro to St Mawes on Fal River’s high tech ferry, the Kingsley II.
This delightful classic wooden ferry boat was built by Cornish boatbuilder Percy Mitchell in 1934. It’s recently been adapted to be powered by both electrical and diesel engines, with the helmsman being able to switch from one to the other with ease.
At the moment there is no infrastructure on the jetties to be able to charge the battery so the operators are combining both power sources. When the boat is in the St Mawes and Trelissick estuaries, the electrical power is used as it is much quieter for passengers and less likely to disturb wildlife. Once out in the main channel the boat runs on diesel power, which in turn charges up the electrical storage.
This is groundbreaking technology and I am thrilled that the Fal River team have chosen to be leaders in the field, backed up by Southampton University and Reap systems. How exciting would it be to see the hundreds of boats on the Fal alone running on green energy?
It was a glorious day for our trip and the Fal River team made us all welcome. Grandson Sam (age 7) spent his time with the crew at the helm and even managed to switch the boat from diesel to electric fuel, which he was very excited about.
Car-free days out on the River Fal
We are lucky to have a number of linked ferries up and down the Fal so it is easy to explore this beautiful river without needing to use the car. Enterprise Boats travel the River Fal between Truro and Falmouth, making several stops along the way so you can make it a full day out, visiting Trelissick, St Mawes and Falmouth before the return journey. Details of ferries and timings can be found at www.falriver.co.uk and you can save 10% if you buy online.