Autumn 1975

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

Autumn 1975

Waverley’s most successful season – Without any doubt 1975 has been the most successful season in Waverley’s 28-year history, more passengers being carried than ever before. Waverley performed well during the summer programme although she was plagued by boiler troubles which resulted in 12 service days being lost – not really a bad record considering that in 1973, her last season with Caledonian-MacBrayne, she was off service for 10 days. Perhaps the most satisfying of the season’s charters was the “Schools Special” on May 28th when 784 passengers cruised own the Clyde, round Holy Loch and landed at Dunoon for an hour before returning up river. Once again Clydebank gave us a proud welcome. At Govan the men waved; at Yarrows they lined the rails of partially completed destroyers and cheered while the children waved in reply. At Alexander Stephen, John Brown, Scott’s, Scott Lithgow they waved their welding torches and shouted good luck to Waverley.

Kingswear Castle report – Work on Kingswear Castle has been advancing quite well throughout the summer months and the vessel is now looking markedly better. Athwartships deck planks have been replaced and the after raised deck has had a substantial amount of planking removed for replacement. The engine room skylight has been removed and is being thoroughly overhauled, re-decorated and re-glazed. The wheelhouse roof has been re-canvassed and the bridge wings have been progressed. We cannot blame the weather for any delays this year!

Pilot William Smedley at the helm of Lincoln Castle.

Lincoln Castle’s Trent visit – PSPS charter on Sunday August 3rd saw Lincoln Castle penetrate to the River Trent’s navigable limits for a vessel of her size. After collecting passengers at New Holland and Hull, the coal burning ferry headed upstream in weather conditions more usually found in the Italian lakes – one lady soaking up the sun clad in a bikini. Capt. Charles King took the steamer close to the south shore following the twisting channel to Trent Falls. There the wheel went over to port and Lincoln Castle swung into the Trent. The old ferry point of Burton Stather was soon passed and the light hearted atmosphere of the steamer, dressed overall for the occasion, contrasted with the desolation of the Flixborough site, devastated in last year’s explosion.

Moving slowly past Keadby village until Keadby Bridge was only half a mile away, Lincoln Castle was turned just below the entrance to the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. With an audience of several hundred on the bank and 500 aboard, Hull pilot Mr Smedley’s handling of the steamer was immaculate. At this point the Trent is only about 260ft. wide and Lincoln Castle measures just under 200ft. Once back on the Humber Lincoln Castle ploughed home at over 12 knots, the sun still shining. The day’s activities brought the Society a worthy profit.

Bow view as Lincoln Castle turns.|Russell Plummer

Bristol Channel – The excellent weather seems to have earned another reprieve for Balmoral which should be sailing again in 1976. The season’s sailings have run without incident, neither gales nor breakdowns affecting her. The sailings in North Wales and at Fleetwood on June 14th –17th were successful. The ferry service from Hobbs Point to Neyland in Dyfed ceased in March when the Cleddau Bridge was opened. The Cleddau King is believed to have been sold but the converted paddler Cleddau Queen is still on the market.

Society’s first Broads cruise – On Saturday August 30th the Society chartered SS Queen of the Broads for the first time. This late-Victorian steam vessel with coal-fired boiler and reciprocating engine is well worth the journey to Great Yarmouth. We sailed from Town Hall Quay into Breydon Water, into the River Yare through the New Cut to reach Waveney. We went about before reaching Oulton Broad in order to be back by 5.15pm.