Summer 1978

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

Summer 1978

An epic voyageWaverley’s well-known sailings board carried the words “Cruise to Newhaven” on 15th April 1978 when she quietly left Stobcross Quay on the start of her longest journey. Four very fortunate PSPS members were able to travel down, each donating £100. Waverley slapped her way down Wemyss Bay and into the Firth of Clyde within sight of the mountain tops of Arran, heavily coated with snow. She passed Ailsa Craig in the late afternoon. The day was calm and sunny and remained so for the whole journey. The captain was able to carry on down the Irish Sea in mid-channel through the night making good time to Milford Haven to refuel. Mid-day saw our minute vessel tied up at the massive Milford terminal – a tiny 600 tonner at a jetty accustomed to super tankers. Soon she would be out in the Atlantic for nearly 100 miles to Land’s End. Waverley rolled round Land’s End at 22.30 and the passengers were given a certificate to prove it! Riding smooth seas up the English Channel, that day passed like a dreamy cruise and 17.30 hours found her welcoming aboard her pilot for guidance into Newhaven harbour. (by Margaret Russell)

Waverley announces her arrival at Newhaven on the evening of Monday 17th April 1978. The steel storm shutters on the forward cafeteria and bar windows can be seen.|John Goss

Thousands welcome Waverley on the South Coast – The most ambitious pre-season schedule ever attempted by a Clyde paddle steamer ended at Bournemouth on May 17th. From her first sailing from Newhaven on April 21st Waverley brought out the crowds everywhere. There was tremendous support from Newhaven on the non-landing cruise to Shanklin. The following day’s landing at Worthing was accomplished and there, good loadings materialised for the trip to Ryde. For enthusiasts the highlight of the programme was departures from Tower Pier with superb ship handling in the Upper Pool before passing beneath Tower Bridge.

Lincoln Castle is withdrawn – There was shock news in March when British Rail announced that they would not be returning Lincoln Castle to service. The world’s last coal fired paddle ferry to see year-round service was withdrawn after tests during annual survey revealed serious deterioration in the condition of the boiler. Estimates for fabrication and installation of a new boiler were 6 to 9 months and a BR spokesman said that the expense could hardly be justified with the opening of the Humber Bridge and probable end of the ferry service scheduled for next year.

Prince Charles opens Clyde Room – The Clyde Room at the Glasgow Museum of Transport was opened by Prince Charles with a pair of scissors used by the John Brown yard from 1899 until 1967 for cutting the tape at launchings. Some 200 of the museum’s 600 models are displayed. Two showcases are devoted to Clyde steamers. Fully detailed captions include the history of the vessels. Displays have been kept uncluttered and there are a number of paintings commissioned by the shipyards.

Compton Castle sold – PS Compton Castle has been bought by a Looe publican who intends to spend two years on restoration. She was towed away from Kingsbridge, Devon using two launches and a fishing boat. The paddler was handed over off Snaper Point where he took over the tow behind his 90ft. converted trawler. When the restoration is complete he expects to return the 65 year-old vessel to service on her original River Dart routes.