Waverley Evening Charter to the Kyles
On the evening of Wednesday 20th July Waverley was on charter to the Scottish Branch of the PSPS offering a unique opportunity for an evening cruise round Bute and through the Kyles of Bute. The cruise was a first for Waverley as she has never offered an evening cruise from Tighnabruaich in her career before, indeed there are no records of any Clyde Paddle Steamer offering an evening cruise round Bute from Tighnabruaich.
The weather the previous day was very warm leading to thunder storms which created localised flooding on the morning of the charter. Fortunately by early evening the rain had almost cleared. The steamer picked up 125 Tighnabruaich passengers at 5.25pm while returning to the village pier on her way back from Loch Fyne. On arrival at Largs it was clear that the unique sailing had brought out the crowds as the queue of passengers stretched the length of the pier and beyond. Due to the number of passengers boarding at Largs (over 350) Waverley’s departure was however slightly delayed.
On approaching Keppel it was clear that another queue of passengers awaited the steamer. A large party of over 90 from Millport Bowling Club were amongst those waiting.
Finally with a grand total of 685 passengers on board Waverley continued her cruise round Bute. After rounding Garroch Head she cruised between Inchmarnock Island and Bute before reaching the West Kyle with the weather continuing to improve all the while.
With her Tighnabruaich passengers ashore Waverley headed for the Kyles of Bute once again. On departure from Tighnabruaich Waverley made herself heard as if to record history in the making with a late evening departure for Largs.
On approaching the Kyles of Bute the setting sun created many colours in the sky as shown in the following pictures.
Waverley’s arrival back at Largs was on time at 10.20pm allowing several passengers on board to connect with the final train service to Glasgow.
The final financial outcome of the charter is not yet known but it looks set to be the highest revenue evening charter that the Scottish Branch has undertaken, however it is also likely to be the highest costing charter but a good surplus should be produced thanks to the support of so many passengers. It is thanks to the surplus made on recent charters that the Scottish Branch was in the position to fund the 12 paddles which were replaced during the last winter refit.
Waverley’s crew and those who work in the Glasgow office deserve thanks for all their collective effort in making the cruise possible and such a positive passenger experience for those on board.