Eppleton Hall paddles on – Eppleton Hall should now be nearing her new home at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. She was forced to put in to Dover on September 24th to repair a fuel pump. Mr Scott Newhall, her skipper and owner decided to make straight for Lisbon and she received rough treatment in the Bay of Biscay. So slow was her progress that she ran out of fuel off the north west coast of Spain. After refuelling at sea, she reached the Portuguese capital on October 10th. Since her departure from Lisbon, Eppleton Hall has been progressing leisurely, sometimes under sail, down the West African Coast. Calls were made at Madeira, Las Palmas and St. Vincent in the Cape Verde Island. “The ship has handled beautifully” wrote Mr Newhall. Instead of the shortest route across the South Atlantic to Brazil, the course was changed to make straight for Georgetown, Guyana. Eppleton Hall arrived there on December 10th 1969 – the last paddle steamer to cross the Atlantic, and probably the only one to do it under its own power this century.
Scottish notes – Plans for the 1970 season were announced just before Christmas. The paddle steamer Caledonia is to be disposed of and there are to be no river sailings. At the end of her summer season both of Waverley’s engineers retired. Second engineer Mr Charles Reid was with the Clyde steamers for many years and Mr William Summer has been chief throughout the paddler’s life. Their places are being taken by two equally skilled engineers, Messrs Peat and Williams from the Caledonia.
Inauguration of Scottish Branch – December 13th saw the inauguration of the Scottish Branch in Glasgow. The meeting was well attended. There has been a long-felt need for a Scottish Branch of the PSPS since the Clyde and Loch Lomond are likely to be the very last strongholds of the paddle steamer in Britain.
PS Ryde – The steamer remains moored south of the coal hulk in Portsmouth Harbour with the hull paintwork now in poor condition and the funnel uncapped. It is understood that in the timetable for next summer South Parade Pier has no service – we can draw our own conclusions from that!
Bristol Channel notes – At present Balmoral is lying in Weymouth Harbour, whence she will emerge in May painted in full Campbell colours following her purchase from Red Funnel. Westward Ho, with her engines in bits around the galleyways, is wintering in Barry Dock. St Trillo is tied up alongside.