A Grand Day Altogether!! – Branch Hospitality Cruise 2008

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

A Grand Day Altogether!! – Branch Hospitality Cruise 2008

(Photos by John MacFarlane & Shelagh Holt)

As you will have read previously Sunday August 10th was the annual members hospitality cruise held aboard ps Waverley during her usual Sunday cruise to Lochranza, Isle of Arran.

The main objective of these hospitality cruises are to give the branch an opportunity to mix with it’s members and also a pleasant way of thanking them for their continued support of the Society and Ships. Complimentary tea and coffee is served followed by Upper Engine Room & Bridge tours.

2007 saw a significant change in the format of this event. During winter 2006 / 2007 the Scottish Branch funded the installation of audio / visual equipment in the Lower Bar (now renamed Maltman Bar due to the extensive range of Malt Whiskies and Real Ales available) – an oft overlooked passenger space on Waverley – to permit the showing of video presentations designed to enhance the passenger experience whilst on board and also publicise the ship and her cruising areas. In 2007 this equipment was used to good effect for our hospitality event. Our then Branch Chairman Gavin Johnston presented a short photo presentation on branch activities after which tea and coffee was served while various videos were shown including footage of the steamer’s Lower Engine Room which is off limits on our Engine Room tours for Health & Safety reasons.

Anyway – back to 2008.

The day started off in style with the steamer sporting the Scottish Branch banner from her boat deck railings as can be seen below as Waverley arrived at Greenock.

On Sundays an excellent roast dinner is served in the steamer’s dining saloon which is always well received so the start of the event was delayed until after Waverley had sailed through the buoyed channel in the Kyles of Bute known as the “Narrows”.

With everyone sitting comfortably in a filled to capacity Lower Bar, Branch Chairman Stuart Mears welcomed members before handing over to our guest for the event David Rodgers (below), PSPS Member and Chairman of Waverley Excursions Ltd who gave a short talk on the company and its aims and also touched on a few ways that PSPS members could give assistance. Costs are a big issue in the current economic climate and it was shocking to hear that today’s cruise from Glasgow to Lochranza and back to Glasgow would consume in excess of £4000 worth of oil fuel alone!! It is not all doom and gloom of course but we must always be mindful of the challenges our ships face and be ready to assist where and when we can. David’s talk was very well received and I think it was good for our members to put a face to the name and vice versa. The branch thank David for joining us and look forward to working with him in the future.

Time for Stuart to take the floor again for short light hearted photo presentation on the LCD screen. This covered a variety of subjects from branch exhibitions to amusing and poignant pictures from the previous winter’s volunteer work parties. Tribute was also paid to Waverley’s deck crew for maintaining the ship in fine condition throughout the season under the supervision of bosun Jack Szkarlat. There was also a short series of shots showing the extent of works carried out on the ship’s port side paddle wheel and shaft during her dry docking.

Tours of the Engine Room and Bridge followed whilst the remaining members enjoyed a chat over a drink. The whole event was over in good time for us all to go ashore at Lochranza for a well deserved pint!!!

A very hearty vote of thanks must go to Gordon Reid – Waverley’s Chief Engineer, Bosun Jack Szkarlat, Purser Jim McFadzean and last but not least Waverley’s Senior Master Captain Andy O’Brian for allowing us to invade his ship for an hour or two!!

And finally to YOU our members for your continued support!!!

[signature name=”Gavin Stewart”]