Autumn 1978

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

Autumn 1978

Society news

  • Scottish Branch: PS Maid of the Loch celebrated her jubilee with the Branch’s plaque in commemoration of the 25th anniversary unveiled at Balloch in May. A magnificent 30ft. long canvas banner with the message in large red letters “Join the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society – and help keep the Waverley sailing!” has been on the starboard side of Waverley’s top deck since mid-June and has undoubtedly resulted in many new members.
  • London Branch: The Models Section annual rally on 10th June proved to be an exciting venture. The Allan Waller Memorial Trophy went to a model of PS Jean Sallie, which performed with astonishing accuracy in varied directions. The other six models featuring paddle steamers presented the judges with a difficult task awarding maximum points.
  • Wessex Branch: On July 9th members visited the Society’s first paddler, the Kingswear Castle. The secretary remarked “We must be the very first Wessex members to enjoy a four course lunch on our own paddler!”

A new cover format for Paddle Wheels. For the first time text is superimposed on a full size picture. No colour pictures yet…

Kingswear Castle report – The hydraulic test of the boiler was successfully completed on 15th July. Kingswear Castle is due to make her third short voyage to the slipway. The object will be to get the bottom plates in and renew wasted sponson brackets. The Weir pump has been stripped down and reassembled.

Irvine: Another notable firstWaverley again made history on August 22nd, making her first ever sailings to and from Irvine – the first by any Clyde steamer since before the Second World War. Irvine, once a winter retreat for the Williamson-Buchanan fleet was en-fete for the occasion. The captain brought Waverley alongside opposite the new Magnum Leisure Centre, ICI providing free berthing assistance. Waverley had sailed from Ayr via Arran to Irvine and from there set off for a floating Ceilidh complete with bands, folk singers and artistes.

Royal Route retraced on June 24th – Leaving Glasgow at 07.11 and trying to follow the timetable of Columba whose maiden voyage took place 100 years earlier, Waverley bettered the tight 40 minutes allowed between Tarbert and Ardrishaig, her sprint up Loch Fyne being timed at 37 minutes. Waverley opened her public excursion programme at the beginning of July. The weather was indifferent and loadings were not up to the levels of last year. Just as the weather started picking up Waverley ran into boiler trouble and had to retire to Stobcross Quay for a week. As steam was raised a further fault became apparent and there was another week of inactivity.

Paddling from the pulpitWaverley received some unexpected publicity from St John’s Episcopal Church, Johnstone. In his sermon on July 16th the Rector mentioned the Glasgow Fair and recalled the days when the populace used to flock to the paddle steamers as they set off for holidays, but now Waverley was the only vessel of this type left. Visitors in the congregation were urged to take a trip before returning home.