Autumn 1976

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

Autumn 1976

Kingswear Castle £3,500 appeal – From the Chairman: To many members the progress in restoring KC to a state where she will be ready to sail again must seem agonisingly slow. We have spent £6,800 so far, almost all of which has been raised within our membership. The recent appeals for Waverley were magnificently supported. I now make this Appeal to you confident that your response will again be generous. The quicker the target is reached the quicker will come the time when you will be able to sail in Kingswear Castle.

Medway open day 1976 – Margaret Russell wrote: On July 3rd a group of people arose early to travel to the Medway Bridge Marina, Rochester, Kent to support the Society’s 1976 Open Day on board KC. Some were going for the first time, others wondering what changes they might see since the restoration programme commenced on January 27th 1973. Nick Knight had arranged to steam his coal-fired launch Salamander for interested steam enthusiasts. Kingswear Castle would not have such a good “home” if it were not for his good offices, interest and enthusiasm. He started by making available the fitters’ hut at his yard, without which any work at all on KC, then in a very sorry state, could not have commenced at all. It became the place for workers to plan from, rest in, clean up and refresh themselves.

Other Society stalwarts also made an early start that day in order to do some jobs of work before folk started to arrive. Feeling very much the “new girl”, yours truly armed herself with a carrier full of beverages together with a stereo cassette recorder which provided taped background music in the Forward Saloon helping to create a pleasant atmosphere. When the afternoon tide floated her, most of those aboard must have felt a strong yearning for the day when the paddles would turn and we would be able to cast off.

About 30 – 35 people crossed the gangplank including several long serving volunteers. Can it be that there are so few people in our Society who really care about the restoration of Kingswear Castle? Those who came were, in the main, familiar faces, folk one would expect to come. The restoration of KC is the most important project at present being carried out by the Society south of the border.

On the credit side there is little comparison today with the rather sorry state she presented before restoration commenced. Much of the work that has already been done is not immediately obvious to a casual onlooker. The bottom and bilge plate scraping and painting goes on constantly. The after saloon is well fitted with stores, spare gear and temporary fittings but it is hoped that it can soon be cleared and used as a workshop. Thus the forward saloon can then be an attractive and appropriate place for meetings and social occasions.

Waverley to Inverary on June 12th – The sky was dark and overcast at Gourock, Kilcreggan brought a handful of passengers, and at Largs the cruise began in earnest. In the after saloon the East Kilbride Silver band entertained. Strong head winds made us one hour late at Tarbert and at Inverary Pier where passengers steamed ashore in bright sunlight, Waverley looking magnificent a the pier. We left at 4.15; Waverley prescribed a graceful arc round two Admiralty buoys and headed into the breeze. At Tarbert we took on water and on the second attempt left this attractive land locked harbour for Largs and Wemyss Bay. Then Dunoon and Kilcreggan – the remainder said farewell at Gourock and Waverley paddled into the confines of the Clyde.