Waverley’s return to Clyde service – When Waverley raised steam and moved out of James Watt Dock under her own power on May 14th it was a proud moment for the Society and all concerned with her return to active service. History had indeed been made! Even when disappointments arose, still the effort and support won through. Twenty long months of hard, unpaid work have gone into the success Waverley is now enjoying. Thanks must be extended to all who helped with the project – the appeal fund stands at £54,110 including a first instalment from the Scottish Tourist Board. After lying dormant for about 20 months Waverley came to life on May 10th. Steam was raised over a period of almost 72 hours. Waverley is sailing on the Clyde again – something many of us thought would never happen.
Waverley’s shake down cruise – The first real public sailing – the Society’s charter sailing on May 24th – started at Anderston Quay. 785 passengers embarked, and in glorious sunshine, Waverley headed downstream to Gourock, Dunoon and through the Kyles of Bute to Tarbert with passenger numbers close to certificate limit. At Ardrishaig the captain’s navigation was put to the test, first by low water and secondly, by the Navy having the best berth. Waverley undertook a cruise into Loch Fyne before calling again at Ardrishaig. Within sight of Tarbert, there were two dull thuds from the starboard paddle box and the engines were stopped. Part of the edges of one of the wooden paddle floats had come away. Waverley lay adrift, becalmed in evening sunshine while the float was detached, then called again at Tarbert. Water was taken on because the catering department had been doing good trade. Dunoon was reached at 12.17am, then across to Gourock where about five hundred took a special train, reaching Glasgow at 1.35am. Two hundred completed the excursion right back to Anderston Quay. A photo taken off Garroch Head occupied a large part of the centre page of Sunday’s paper, but the press was favourable and the reaction of the passengers even more so. Next day it was an ordinary service day for Waverley Steam Navigation Company with calls a Largs and Rothesay. Tribute must be paid to Master, Officers and Crew, working newly together, who coped well with difficulties on their first public sailing.Kingswear Castle report – A large area of plating, port and starboard, in the boiler space has been scaled and is being painted. Bilges are being still being prepared and painted and this takes a long time to do properly where the bottom plates are in the way of the engine and boiler. The fine weather demands that much of the exterior work be tackled. Teak varnishing is going ahead and remaining deck caulking will recommence shortly. There is still a big need for volunteers.
Society news – Some 50 members attended the AGM aboard Kingswear Castle, the first occasion the event was held on our own steamer. KC looked most attractive, dressed overall and flying the PSPS houseflag. It is doubtful whether so many people have crowded into Kingswear Castle’s forward saloon since her last season on the Dart in 1965. The theme of the reports was on the achievements of the past year – the spectacular progress of the Waverley project, and solid achievement in the continuing restoration of KC. The secretary reported an excellent growth in membership, now standing at over 800.