Winter 1967

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Winter 1967

The Society’s paddlerKingswear Castle was delivered safely on August 28th and is moored, lying opposite the Medway Queen, on the Medina River. First reports are that her engines and boiler are in very good condition. The bottom was scraped and painted while she was on the slip at Dartmouth.

White Funnel notes – The dominating feature of the second half of the season was Bristol Queen’s withdrawal with paddle damage at the end of August. On the last two trips to Lundy on August 23rd and 24th she carried capacity loads. Sailings for the remainder of the season were operated by the motor vessels Westward Ho and St Trillo, the latter being hurriedly brought round from North Wales for the purpose. Bank Holiday Monday produced more passengers than Westward Ho, deputising for Bristol Queen could carry on her return sailing from Ilfracombe, and special coaches to Weston had to be arranged. It seems extremely unlikely that Bristol Queen will be in service next year and thus it seems that August 1967 marked the end of 80 years of White Funnel paddle steamer operation on the Bristol Channel.

Scottish notes – Last year Waverley lived up to the old saying that CSPC stands for “Can’t sail past Cumbrae”! but this year she managed to escape into the open waters, if only on one occasion. This was the day the QE2 was launched. The Duchess was doing a special to view the launch and Waverley deputised for her on the Brodick and Pladda excursion. Talisman sailed under her own power to East India Harbour in mid August. She was expected to be taken to Queens Dock in October but her sale to the breakers stopped this.

BL Nairn.

The end of BL Nairn – Almost a year to the day following the opening of the Tay road bridge Dundee announced the sale of the ferry BL Nairn for scrapping. This will mark the end of an era on the East Coast and was particularly sad since Dundee was one of the first ports in Britain to build paddle steamers.

A paddle tug at workReliant is one of Seaham Harbour’s two paddle steam tugs. Built on the Tyne, she had finally come to Seaham where she was ideally suited to work in the confined dock. She burns about 20 tons of coal a fortnight – most for banking as the harbour is not as busy as in the past. Eppleton Hall is not often used, but kept in reserve in case of breakdown. Helping a Gas Board collier out of dock, Reliant held her stern in position – the tug’s paddles operating separately. Then Reliant cast off, paddled across the dock and made fast to the wall. That was the end of her work for one tide, nothing more than helping one ship in and another out.

The Portsmouth paddlerRyde completed her 1967 summer sailings and left for winter quarters at Newhaven on September 25th. She did all that was required of her without trouble, maintaining the Clarence Pier – South Parade Pier – Ryde service. Plans at present are for Ryde to be back again in 1968 performing similar duties.