Consul moves again – Consul left Weymouth Harbour on February 4th bound for the River Dart where she is to become an accommodation vessel for the Sailing and Travel Club. The departure must have been rather sad. The Dorset Evening Echo reported: “As she got under way the house flag and name pennant were run down. A calm sea added to the quiet departure of Britain’s oldest paddle steamer – built in 1896 – and one of the oldest ships on the British Register”.
Portsmouth paddlers – The main occurrence of the winter in Portsmouth Harbour has been the transformation scene. It has been fascinating to see the vessels transformed from the long established colours to the new shades. Needless to say, the ferry fare went up with the rail increases on Feb 1st. The return to Ryde Pier is now 8/6d (42p).
River Dart Steamboat Co. – PS Kingswear Castle is at present undergoing survey and will be running as last season. Totnes Castle and Compton Castle are still at their stations although Totnes Castle has not found a buyer and is looking very unkempt.
Clyde notes – Caledonia was based at Gourock for the first part of the winter and worked the Sunday service to Millport as well as several tenders. Caledonia went into Albert Harbour, Greenock in mid-December and was relieved by Talisman. Loch Lomond passenger traffic was somewhat down from 1963, but it was decided that Maid of the Loch should sail again next summer. Plans announced include a Maid of the Loch Club and every child joining the ship will become a member without extra charge.
Queensferry passage ferries – After the opening of the road bridge two of the ferries, Queen Margaret and Mary Queen of Scots have been sold for scrap. Mary Queen of Scots was driven by a diesel engine geared to the paddles.
London & Home Counties Branch – A recent highlight was a talk by Lt. Comdr. J D Graves, second in command of PS Medway Queen during 1939-40. His remarks were illustrated by a recently built superb model of Medway Queen. There followed films and a recording of her last trip in September 1963.