Chairman’s Blog No. 1

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

Chairman’s Blog No. 1

Whilst chatting with some of my colleagues on the committee we thought that a chairman’s blog, to use the modern parlance, might be a useful inclusion to our new Scottish Blog.

But I’ve been wondering what to put into such an article. I suppose the obvious choice is a wee bit about what we have been doing in recent months.

Why the emphasis on the word “doing” in the previous sentence?

Put simply it is because in this era of Paddle Steamer Preservation, it is what we do, that will count in the end. Now don’t get me wrong, reminiscence has its place and I can and do tell salty sea tales with the best of them, but if we don’t take action as well, then we won’t have much to reminisce about before very long.

Our ships’ futures are not assured.

So, in terms of what has being occupying the Scottish Branch over the last wee while, here’s a small and certainly not exhaustive selection.

Organising and the 2008 Midsummer Nights Cruise on Waverley

Given that this was postponed twice due to “technical difficulties” (see “One Wheel On Our Paddler” articles part 1 and part 2), the amount of people involved and hours expended were considerable.

Winter Work Parties

From January until Waverley left Glasgow for the western isles, several members of the society including several committee members turned up regularly on Saturdays, and other days to help out with the winter overhaul work.

Notice boards

Last year the Branch funded the additional notice boards that can be seen in Waverley’s Engine Room alleyways. Towards the start of this season a lot of thought and effort has gone in to producing some striking displays custom printed to fit these notice boards. By the time you read this they should be just about ready for display!

This blogspot!

This is a radical development for the Society to have its first Branch Website.

From what Gavin tells me, a blogspot is just a sort of mini website. Our intention is that the site will be updated by members of the Scottish Branch Committee, and for it to be a 21st century addition to our quarterly newsletter, to be informal but informative and perhaps even humorous from time to time!

It’s already packed with interesting articles and previously unseen photographs, with such headings as: “A Blast from the Past“, “Making an Exhibition of Ourselves!“, “Class of 2007“, “Welcome. Come Away In!“, “Paddling In The Western Isles“, and “One Wheel On Our Paddler” part 1 and part 2.

Please forward the address of this innovative new facet of our Society to all your family and friends, especially any younger potential members who may be put off joining our society, believing we are stuck in the past!

Christmas Cruise Details

It’s already time to think about the Christmas 2008 cruise….sigh / humbug etc! At the last committee meeting we spent a fair bit of time on costs / ticket prices / boat availability and itinerary. Things are now going on in the background. Watch this space!

Olsen Draw

After the success of last years “Olsen Draw”, the Society threw down the gauntlet to the Scottish Branch to have a go in 2008. After some teething troubles with P.O. Boxes and the like, the tickets have been printed and are on sale.

We have a lot of lost ticket selling opportunities due to Waverley being out of service after the Western Isles sailings so, PLEASE DO YOUR BIT to help us catch up and exceed the 2007 success. Remember the first prize is a cruise for two on any Fred Olsen ship sailing from the UK!

PS Maid of The Loch Masts

The Society funded the supply and installation of new aluminium masts for Maid of The Loch (Scotland’s NEXT operational Paddle Steamer!) and these were installed just last week. The difference in the Maid’s profile following the replacement of the masts is very striking to say the least and she now looks very much like an operational-paddler-in-waiting. Go have a look and spends some money on her! The ship and adjacent winch house are both very much worth a visit.

AV presentations

Last year the Branch funded the supply and installation of the large screen television in Waverley’s lower bar (now renamed the Maltman Bar due to it’s extensive range of Malt Whiskies and Real Ales). Committee members (you know who you are!) have been hard at work producing entertaining as well as promotional and educational presentations for this facility. There’s something for every taste in the background music including, gentle traditional Scottish tunes as well as the Proclaimers and even a little Status Quo.

2008 National AGM

This year The National AGM will be held aboard the Maid of the Loch. Much thought is already been given to how, in the nicest possible way, we can upstage our Bristol Channel Colleagues who hosted the 2007 AGM on Balmoral!

Now, the $64,000 question what can you do too? Well, I dunno, what can you do? One thing I know is that I’m sure you can do something to help.

For now let’s just think about the simplest thing that we can all do without exception, and the very least we should all be doing which is:

Sailing on our ships and spending money as often as we can whilst encouraging all our friends, family, colleagues to do the same.

Kinda obvious really!

Don’t wait for someone to ask you about our boats, land the first blow in yourselves, so to speak.

Anyway I think that’s enough for now. More soon, I promise!

Oh! p.s.

Quite a few of the Scottish Branch Committee, as well as other branch reps who were in Glasgow for the council of management meeting (that’s probably a whole other article!) enjoyed a great day out on Waverley on Sunday sailing round the Ailsa Craig. If you were there we hope you enjoyed yourself. If you weren’t, why not?! Anyway I’ve included a couple of shots of the ship arriving at Ayr just to make those of you who missed such a great trip feel jealous!

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