Wednesday, 9 August 2017

PIRATE 'SHIP' VISITS MIDDLEWICH


by Dave Roberts
Here's a happy discovery made while on a walk up the SUC Middlewich Branch a few days before the FAB Festival. At first glance just another immaculately turned out pleasure boat, one of thousands which pass through our town every year.
But a closer look at this boat should, if you're of a certain age, love music, and have any romance in your soul, bring a smile to your face.
For this  is no ordinary boat.
 It's named Mi Amigo, after Radio Caroline's original pirate radio ship (Update: Actually that's not strictly true. Someone's taken the trouble to point out that the original Caroline ship was the MV Fredericia (or 'Frederica' according to which account you read), later renamed Caroline - see 'comments' below).



and there's an excellent illustration of that famous (or 'infamous', according to the boat's builders, Braidbar Boats) vessel on the cabin side.

It's fortuitous that the new Mi Amigo should choose to visit our landlocked little town, as it gives us an unprecedented opportunity to give Caroline a plug in the Middlewich Diary.

For Radio Caroline is by no means a thing of the past (although, unfortunately, the original Mi Amigo is - it sank in heavy seas in 1980).

The station can be found broadcasting away merrily on the internet (and various other outlets) and is still actively campaigning for a licence to broadcast on medium wave.
The original Mi Amigo        Photo: Bob le Roi


UPDATE(August 2017): In May 2017 that campaign bore fruit and Radio Caroline was given a licence to broadcast to Suffolk and North Essex on 648 Khz, ironically a frequency formerly used by the BBC World Service.

They still have a ship, too, the Ross Revenge, which is currently at anchor in the River Blackwater, giving everyone the opportunity to take a tour of the ship

You can listen to the station, and find out all about its fascinating and astonishing history, by visiting

THE RADIO CAROLINE WEBSITE

You can also find out more about the  NB Mi Amigo at

THE BRAIDBAR BOATS WEBSITE

P.S. If, like me, you're a real pirate radio anorak, you'll know that in the sixties we in the north had our own Radio Caroline broadcasting from a ship called (what else?) Caroline, and anchored off the Isle of Man.
Halcyon days.

RADIO CAROLINE NORTH WEBSITE
JOHN BENNETT'S CAROLINE NORTH FACEBOOK GROUP

Update: Radio Caroline celebrated her 50th Birthday on the 28th March 2014 (and also at Easter 2014 - like all Queens she has an actual and an official birthday). Many congratulations to all concerned with keeping this broadcasting legend alive -Ed)

First published 9th July 2012
Updated and re-published 9th August 2017

5 comments:

  1. Hello
    I read with interest the article about the boat that is a tribute to the, MV MI Amigo.

    On Facebook, I run a very active group dedicated to the memory of, Radio Caroline North-articles, jingles, programmes, video's and so forth.

    Here is the link if you would like to take a look
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=201099863848


    Best wishes
    John Bennett
    sloopyjohnb Radio Caroline North

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great to see the photos. However, Mi Amigo was the 2nd Caroline ship. The original was MV Frederica (renamed Caroline) whereas Mi Amigo was Radio Atlanta which started broadcasting not long after Caroline went on air at Easter 1964. Both were just outside national waters off Frinton in Essex and very close to one another. The two stations soon merged and Caroline sailed to the Isle Of Man (I listened to her broadcasting as she sailed around the UK) and became Caroline North whereas Mi Amigo became Caroline South. Between them they covered a huge area of the UK and, living in Lincolnshire, I could hear both.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks John. What a brilliant Facebook Group that is, too. I've asked to join, of course, and I've placed a direct link in the diary entry itself.
    And, anon, you're quite right, of course. The Frederica was indeed the original Caroline ship, and I've added a note directing people to your interesting and informative comment.
    Thanks once again to you both for your interest. I do consider myself privileged to have lived through the pirate era. It was a unique and exciting time for radio and we've never seen (or heard) anything like those stations since.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Really good to see this......I went out to see the Mi Amigo in 1979. ...Great memories.
    Love this. ...where is the 180ft mast.....lol

    Barry Gibson. Winsford

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Barry. Presumably the British Waterways Board (or the 'Canal & Rivers Trust'as we're going to have to learn to call them)vetoed the transmitter mast, as it wouldn't fit under our little bridges...
    I'm astonished at the amount of interest there still is in 'pirate' radio. I think it's because it happened (the first pirate era, at least) when we were all young and hadn't got a care in the world.
    If I'd been a few years older at the time I'd have had a go at being a pirate DJ. That's the life for a young man!

    ReplyDelete

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