Waverley on the slip – Waverley has been slipped at James Lamont and Sons’ yard, Port Glasgow, with a view to her return to Clyde excursion work under the control of PSPS. The Clyde Tourist Association campaigned for her retention and a meeting just before Christmas showed that everyone wanted Waverley to sail for many years to come. Grants are not made without detailed enquiry and the next step was to prove that Waverley’s condition would justify re-tubing the boiler and much re-decking. And so, on February 21st Waverley was towed to Lamont’s slipway and hauled out of the water. Whilst the surveyors got to work, the Society had essential underwater maintenance done. Sea-cocks and valves were overhauled and the underwater part of the hull cleansed and painted.
What the members think – “WITHDRAWN FROM SERVICE – the words about PS Waverley leapt out from the pages of the last Paddle Wheels” wrote Mr Hawthorne. “I am not in a position to tell either the Scottish Tourist Board or the company their business but in Waverley they have a ship that brought many hundreds of tourists to Scotland. With the right publicity she could have brought many thousands. British Rail, in spite of their complete clearance of steam elsewhere, have seen fit to retain it as a tourist attraction. Waverley could be equally viable and even more of a tourist attraction. Is it too late? If the decision is irrevocable we must keep her in running order and operate her whenever possible. Perhaps in a year or two her potential might be realised. The past 20 years have seen incredible achievements by preservation societies. After a few years in the doldrums Kingswear Castle is responding (to preservation efforts), and I am sure that the Scottish branch with the whole of PSPS behind them, will see that PS Waverley is kept alive – in steam. She must be!”
Bristol Channel – Balmoral’s weekend trip to St Ives on September 28st to October 1st was ruined by the weather. On the outward trip she took about half an hour to tie up at Weston in a force 8 gale. On passage down the channel, the wind freshened to force 9 and Ilfracombe was reached about one hour late. Passengers were taken by coach to St Ives and coach tours were laid on during their stay.
New look on the Humber – The former Solent paddle motor vessel Farringford made her debut running with the paddle steamer Wingfield Castle. Alterations include the removal of the bow and stern ramps, and fitting of side doors forward and abaft the superstructure – the work carried out at Hull has hardly improved the lines. Wingfield Castle was withdrawn on March 14th when Lincoln Castle returned from overhaul.
Straits of Dover – The former Thames vessel Royal Sovereign left for Italy in October after spending six years with the appalling name of Autocarrier, transporting lorries across the Straits. Her new name is Ischia and she is to be based at Napoli.
Kingswear Castle report – Kingswear Castle is now in a mud berth on the River Medway at the Medway Bridge Marina, having been moved in mid-December. The great timbers of a Thames barge buried in the mud prevented KC from being moored closer than about 25 feet from the landing stage. Access could be gained by duckboards and a ladder at low tide – we nearly lost one of our work leaders who had to be hauled out of the mud. By the end of January boarding problems were resolved by a couple of 35 foot timbers and after a good days work the gap was bridged by the time the tide came in – exactly a year after the first day’s work was done on board.