Mid-season reflections – The highlights – and ‘low lights’ of Waverley and Balmoral’s programme in areas other than Clyde begin with the disappointment and heavy losses of the weekend of May 9th and 10th. The heavily booked sailings by Waverley from Liverpool, which included the re-opening of North Pier in Blackpool, and Balmoral’s programme for the Brighton Festival were almost completely destroyed by the weather. Dealing with several thousand refunds, and coping with many irate telephone calls meant much extra work and a dispiriting start to the season. However, the weather improved greatly to welcome Waverley to the Bristol Channel and there were good crowds for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend when the only disappointment was being unable to land at Lundy Island for revival of the annual church service.
Waverley signed off in the Bristol Channel in glorious weather, with excellent crowds aboard for the last two days of public sailing which ended with the first paddle steamer trip to Weston for a decade. Following another successful weekend of cruises from Milford Haven and Fishguard for the Dyfed Wildlife Trust, Waverley made her ﬁrst ever cruise from Holyhead, on an evening Charter on her way home to the Clyde.
An excellent number sailed on four of the five days of Balmoral’s weekend of sailings from the Tyne and Tees. The Thames area programme was again a considerable success – a splendid tum-out on mid-week days to re-open calls at Margate. Balmoral sailed from Truro to Penzance on June 19th, for the National Trust, then once again became the Royal Mail ship to the Scilly Isles on 20th/2lst June. The weather was much less favourable than in 1991, but Balmoral completed all her scheduled sailings to the Islands successfully.
Ryde report – On Saturday June 6th Balmoral passed Ryde on her way to Newport, IOW. A week later Balmoral made another cruise up the Medina River, to view Paddle Steamer Ryde. Society volunteers had spent much time and effort to make Ryde as presentable as possible. Work is progressing well on replating a section of Ryde’s hull forward on the starboard side. Work has started sanding the promenade deck rails. These are of teak, and despite over twenty years of total neglect, they have come up like new, except where the original has been replaced by mahogany. Island Harbour (owners) announced that they were to attempt to finance some limited restoration work in order to open part of the ship in her present site in 1993. Their intention is to open the after saloons as catering outlets after waterproofing the after part of the promenade deck. We wish them luck, but regard their plans as unrealistic.
Maid of the Loch – now has a security guard and emergency lighting installed by Dumbarton and District Council. A bid, supported by PSPS has been made for the vessel and a final decision on the bids placed is due to be made at the end of August.
KC report – Group bookings are coming in well and on several Sundays and Wednesdays the steamer has almost reached her maximum passenger capacity. On 10th May she was on charter to the Steamboat Association. The following day she had one of her best financial results with a morning charter to the World Ship Society, an afternoon charter, and again in the evening to the Historic Dockyard. PSPS member Alan Bruce’s golden labrador has become the first dog to hold an annual season ticket.
And 50 years ago… Passengers given a good run to Southend on Queen of the South; Farewell to the Embassy; Bristol Queen’s exhilarating performance on trip to St. Mary’s. Read more…