John H Amos – At last, when only two steam paddle tugs remained, the “powers that be” began to see the light, so that when the Tees Conservancy Commissioners’ John H Amos was withdrawn, she was purchased by the Dorman Long Museum. At present the tug is being renovated by volunteer labour in Middlesbrough Dock, but it is hoped to open her to the public later in the year. On the Tees she had a class V certificate for 144 passengers and crew of 6, for transporting workers to the Tees dredging fleet.
Paddle steamer to the rescue – This was the Glasgow Evening Times’ appropriate headline last month when the Caledonian Steam Packet Company’s paddler Caledonia had a few days of glory and became RMS Caledonia and took over MacBrayne’s famous “Royal Route” to Tarbert under charter. This situation came about because MV Lochnevis broke down and there was no alternative but to send the mail vessel Lochfyne to Islay. The Evening Citizen weighed in with the headline “Paddle Steamer on the run after over 20 years” – in fact it is 34 to be precise!
Bristol Channel report – The big event of the Branch’s season this summer will be the charter of Westward Ho to Tenby on June 1st. We are hoping to have a Society bookstall aboard to make a profit for the Kingswear Castle Fund,and to run a draw with quite valuable prizes. Westward Ho will be joined this season by her former Red Funnel consort Balmoral which has been chartered by P & A Campbell Ltd. St Trillo will sail again in North Wales.
In European waters
- Switzerland: The Lake Thun veteran Blumlisalp is not to be converted to burn oil fuel despite the successful adaption of her Lake Brienz counterpart Lotschberg, but will sail again in 1969 much as last year. Unterwalden was the first Lake Lucerne paddler in steam this year – all paddlers except Uri were in service for Easter.
- Denmark: Northern Europe’s oldest paddler, the 108 year old Hjejien will again sail this summer from Silkeborg to Himmelbjerget, the Sky Mountain. The immaculately maintained little paddler has become almost as much a tourist attraction as the service itself.
Society news – On 20th July, almost ten years to the day when our founder originally conceived the idea of the Society, we gather on board our own ship for a small celebration. Preparations for the party will, we hope, ensure activity in cleaning and painting Kingswear Castle in the preceding weeks. The charter sailings will provide opportunity to boost our funds for work and expenses with Kingswear Castle. All members can help to put the Society before the public by wearing PSPS badges and ties, especially while afloat and out and about at events of marine interest during the summer.
STOP PRESS! – PS Kingswear Castle was steamed on the weekend of May 3rd/4th and undertook trials on the River Medina, and into the Solent off Cowes. Alan Ridett hopes to steam the vessel again in a few weeks, in preparation for some extensive filming of the steamer proposed by the BBC.