Isle of Wight Branch – There is a great deal to be done on Kingswear Castle. The active members try to meet regularly at the steamer on Thursday evenings and do as much as possible. The main job is caulking but it is difficult to gather all the necessary materials together. The engineer who has been helping Alan Ridett has done grand work on the engines which gives us every encouragement to get on with our tasks and so hasten the day for the first ‘steam-up’. There is every chance that one of the Island members will be the first PSPS to be banned from using the facilities of the Medway Queen! We have been in the habit of quenching our thirst after working on Kingswear Castle, but have to admit that we are not always the prettiest of sights after a session….
Blackheath Rally 1968 – Our stalwart modellers one again demonstrated their loyalty and endeavour by steaming their models across the water, and astern, with skill and dexterity, driving rain and high wind failing to daunt their ‘bulldog’ spirit. On addition to Alan Waller’s masterpieces Royal Eagle and MV Royal Sovereign, we had for the first time Peter Stocker’s PS Royal Eagle, which is a life like prototype. Charles Carter’s PS Monarch, a replica of Cosens famous paddler continues to attract the crowds.
Wessex Branch News – We have commenced a specially named Kingswear Castle Fund. £3. 9. 3d made at our last buffet supper auction was placed in it. Having acquired Kingswear Castle it is most important that we do all we can both financially and practically to help. The meeting on July 27th turned into a working party instead. By various means we were all soon aboard and work commenced. Chipping, scraping, varnishing, sweeping, and of course talking, all made the time fly very quickly. Young helpers living on the Island appeared, heaving huge tractor tyres aboard, probably to be used as fenders in the future.
The Portsmouth paddler – The return of Alec Rose gave Ryde her greatest day for years when she carried 312 passengers out to meet Lively Lady near the Nab and formed part of the huge escort back to Southsea. Radio and TV commentators spoke with suitable acclaim for ‘one of the last paddle steamers’.
Scottish notes – Caledonia undertook her Clyde River Steamer Club venture to Ardrishaig and Inveraray on May 4th – the first public sailing into the town since 1951. While some passengers remained in Inveraray for an hour, Caledonia sailed up Loch Lyne to Dunderave Castle and back. Unfortunately at about 1815, near Skate Island, a mechanical fault developed and after emergency repairs by Caledonia’s engineers we managed to limp very slowly back to Wemyss Bay where Waverley, specially sent from Craigendoran after her own sailings, carried passengers on to Gourock and Craigendoran. On June 7th Caledonia undertook Duchess of Hamilton’s Gourock to Ayr run with afternoon cruise Round Holy Isle. Caledonia performed very well on this, which is probably the most difficult time-keeping of the turbine routes.