Charting our new course – Many hours were spent in deciding the future for our own ship. The choice was not easy. We have the offer of adequate mooring and repair facilities but we first have to move Kingswear Castle to her new proposed berth on the River Medway. This is where the element of luck presents itself. She is not a new ship, nor is she a ship designed for heavy weather and there are inevitable risks in towing a vessel such as this over a distance of open sea. This factor weighed heavily against our proposed course of action. On the other hand if we are able to get her to the Medway (and there is no very strong reason why we shouldn’t) the prospects for the ship are enhanced. To get Kingswear Castle operational again we shall need to raise ten times as much money in the next two or three years as we have in the ten year existence of the Society so far.
Waverley study group – Society member Mr Terry Sylvester of Barry, has prompted the formation of a study group within the PSPS to ensure that the paddle steamer Waverley does not come to a premature end. Initial plans are for a comprehensive dossier on this important vessel to be produced.
Scottish notes – Waverley, in James Watt Dock, Greenock, is being prepared for another season. Nearby at the East India Harbour are Scotland’s three turbine steamers, Duchess of Hamilton, Queen Mary II and MacBrayne’s King George V. The Caledonian Steam Packet Company’s plans for 1971 were announced on December 14th. Duchess of Hamilton will be kept in reserve. The CSP’s general manager said “Once we have experience of the coming season we will reconsider the Duchess of Hamilton’s future”. Since Queen Mary II was so greatly underused in 1970 the announcement comes as small surprise. This year Waverley will be based at Gourock will operate from Craigendoran only at weekends. On May 25th Waverley has her first trip to Inverary since September 1965.
Bristol Channel – The annual trip to the Isles of Scilly is again being taken by Balmoral, and it is unusual in that the ship calls at Padstow on the outward sailing. The fare is unaltered at £10 for the three days from Cardiff back to Cardiff.
PS Princess Elizabeth – The former South Coast paddler is moored below Tower Bridge and is due to commence operation as a floating club with bars, restaurant and other facilities. This year the Society annual meeting moves venue to PS Princess Elizabeth. The Medway Queen is closed for three months whilst the Marina is completed so what better location than aboard Princess Elizabeth, newly restored on the London River?
DEPV Farringford – Mid November saw the departure of Farringford for her annual overhaul at Husband’s Shipyard, Marchwood. Extensive work has been carried out on the paddle ferry’s passenger accommodation with the replacement of the famed ‘Southern Railway Decor’. The ferry is now scheduled to run daily until early in November.