Lydia Eva drifts out of Yarmouth

THE Lydia Eva, the world’s last surviving herring drifter, is preparing to steam back to Lowestoft for her winter sleep.

Her annual hibernation comes at the end of a successful summer season in her home port of Great Yarmouth where she has been visited by thousands of people.

But while she is dozing engineers at Smalls will carry out a raft of maintenance jobs and give her boilers a full clean.

Dona Watson, a trustee for the charity which cares for both the Lydia Eva and the Mincarlo, said that while the main restoration was complete there were still smaller projects to be tackled to enable her to go further afield to places like King’s Lynn and Ipswich.

“We are planning to go back to Lowestoft on Wednesday,” she said. “The tides are right but it just depends on the weather. She is going back under her own steam, literally. We are not even picking a tug up until we get out of the harbour. She is coming back next May. We have had a brilliant season. We do not have a lot of passing traffic but people who come on board really want to see her. We have had steam enthusiasts from Australia and one from Canada who restores ships on the Great Lakes.

“We have had lots of children on board this year and they enjoy the visits – especially when they discover there is no bathroom.

“And this year we have also had groups in the evenings for private visits which is where we found the gentleman from Westcotec Traffic Systems of Dereham who offered to pay for the coal she will be burning when she returns to her winter moorings.”

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The Lydia Eva marked her 80th birthday this year and celebrated on June 27 with her engines steaming. She also enjoyed a civic reception at the Town Hall to mark the completion of her restoration programme.

Mrs Watson also thanked Essex and Suffolk Water for its donation towards water for her boilers. The season was only marred by one theft when thieves took advantage of low water to break in and steal around �10.

To book a daytime or evening visit contact Dona Watson on 07901 915390 or visit She will be steaming from Yarmouth to Lowestoft on Wednesday, between 11.30am and noon, weather permitting. For the latest information check the website or contact 07901 915390 for the latest information. It takes about half an hour to get to the harbour’s mouth and another two to get to Lowestoft.