Autumn 1971

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

Autumn 1971

Kingswear Castle, Ryde and Medway Queen moored on the River Medina.

Probably the last time three paddle steamers are seen together on the South Coast of Britain.

Historic views from the Isle of Wight – Historic pictures by Bernard Cox (printed in Paddle Wheels No.46) almost certainly show three paddle steamers together for the last time on the South Coast of Britain. These aerial views show the Medway Queen Marina site when Kingswear Castle was still moored in the River Medina. Medway Queen is seen in her familiar surroundings of the former mill pond at Binfield while Kingswear Castle and Ryde are out in the Medina. Now Kingswear Castle has completed the trip under tow to the Medway and restoration work begins in earnest.

Taming of the Loch Lomond monster for a day – PS Maid of the Loch was on charter to the society on Sunday 23rd May. There was a morning sailing to Inversnaid to disembark those going on by coach to Loch Katrine for a short excursion aboard Sir Walter Scott. Maid of the Loch returned direct to Balloch where she took on further passengers for an afternoon cruise to the Head of the Loch. Members who were not on the charter day are thinking “what a wonderful cruise” (which it was), “what a crowd there must have been”. To be precise there were 148 people and everyone of them got well and truly drenched. It rained unrelentingly all day. The vessel performed well and was excellently turned out. The crew did their best in trying circumstances, and the Chief Steward and his staff provided excellent meals. It was an expensive day for the Society but a worthwhile one.

A ship fit for a Queen – Her Majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne had a two hour cruise on board Maid of the Loch on June 29th and were entertained to lunch – not the usual CSP lunch, but smoked trout with new crockery specially purchased for the occasion! Unlike May 23rd, the weather was glorious for the royal cruise from Tarbert to Rowardennan and back, the Maid looking her best for the occasion.

Waverley – out of service last year after grounding at Arrochar, was again in trouble at the Loch Long pier on July 16th. When leaving Arrochar in difficult wind conditions, Waverley’s bow was blown against the pier as she went astern, and stanchions and rails from bow to bridge were ripped up. The mast stays also became entangled and half the foremast came crashing down on deck. Miraculously no one was injured and the steamer continued to Gourock and completed the sailing. Waverley was only out of service on Friday 17th. A superhuman effort was made to get her rails repaired in time for the Glasgow Fair weekend and this was accomplished.

MacBraynes TS King George V (1926) – the oldest excursion vessel since the withdrawal of PS Embassy had a varied and eventful spring season. She performed all of Queen Mary II’s charters from April 28th until May 17th and was seen in Loch Long, Loch Fynne and at Ayr. Queen Mary II was strike bound before her annual survey and King George V made a final Clyde appearance chartered by the Clyde River Steamer Club for an evening trip to Tighnabruaich and round Bute on May 27th.

Blackheath centenary – At the society’s annual models rally exhibitions of sailing techniques were carried out with the precision of experienced navigators, Allan Waller’s PS Royal Eagle being the cause of merited remarks. Tony Horn’s PS Bournemouth Queen with it’s feathering floats, Mr Knight’s PS Colonel Lamb, an American blockade runner, and Mr Abraham’s Cornish Queen gave sailing displays during the afternoon.