Solway Plain - past and present by the Holme St Cuthbert History Group

Russian Ship leaving Silloth
A Russian ship, the ‘Konstantin Paustovskiy’, leaving Silloth.

Silloth Docks are far from being just history. The port today handles cargo most of which is destined for Carr’s Flour Mill and their fertilizer factory. Innovia Films of Wigton import paper pulp from Spain for use in the manufacture of various protective coverings. Prime Molasses have a facility on the dock side. Here the liquid material, which is used in animal foodstuffs, is stored and then loaded into tankers for distribution throughout northern England and southern Scotland.

Ben Ellan arriving at Silloth

The ships belonging to the Ramsey Steam Ship Company of the Isle of Man are regular visitors to Silloth. The Ben Ellan (above) is arriving with a cargo of North American wheat taken from larger ships at Liverpool. Silloth once received grain directly from America until the ships employed on the Atlantic runs became too large for the port. The Ben Varrey (below) is also used to convey grain.

Ben Varry

The Eilsum

The Potosi

The Potosi (above) is leaving after delivering a cargo of phosphates from Sfax in North Africa which will be used in production of Fertilizer.

Arklow River

The British Shield

Molasses often arrives at Silloth from Bremen where it has been taken off larger ships coming from ports in India and the Far East. The ‘British Shield’ (above) is one of the largest ships to have brought this product to Silloth. The ‘Zapadnyy’ (below) is a Ukrainian ship which is currently on charter and delivers the shipments from Bremen about once a month.

The Zapadnyy

Today Silloth is the busiest cargo port in Cumbria, handling around 80 ships annually. The dock can accommodate ships of around 3,000 tons and up to sixteen metres wide. Vessels as long as 114 meters have been docked successfully.

Aerial view of Silloth Docks

Photographs © Stephen Wright and Simon Ledingham

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A record cargo of 4,152 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate, another major ingredient of fertilizer, arrived aboard the Arklow River from Beverwijk in Holland. She belongs to Arklow Shipping, a large Irish company, whose vessels can often be seen in Silloth.
Wheat also arrives from Europe. This German ship, the Eilsum, visited in July 2005.
Silloth Docks Today