A BOAT enthusiast has recently completed his latest project which will see a steamer operating on the River Wye at Tintern for the first time in 100 years.

Jim Simpson lives in the town and has always had a boat on the Wye.

South Wales Argus: Jim Simpson

He explained that a friend, Richard Parker from Newport, had for many years been building a steam engine and boiler to put in his boat.

However, due to health problems Mr Simpson discovered his friend was going to sell the steam engine and boiler.

"One of my previous boats was an Admiralty whaler," he explained.

"I had always thought how nice it would be to have a steam engine in a whaler instead of a noisy diesel engine."

Mr Simpson heard a whaler was being sold without an engine on the river Severn and was able to buy it, an "opportunity too good to miss"

He has since been kept occupied "for the past twenty months" converting the ex-Dartmouth motor whaler 8819 to a steam launch.

South Wales Argus: Belle Marie

The new vessel has been named Belle Marie.

The La Belle Marie was the last steam boat to work out of the Wye port of Brockweir and so Mr Simpson thought the name fitting.

Belle Marie is currently moored in the Wye at Tintern looking for a crew.

Mr Simpson says Belle Marie is the first steam-powered boat on the Wye in Tintern for 100 years.

The 27 footer is equipped with a 10hp steam engine and boiler which can be fired by both wood and coal.