Autumn 1979

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

Autumn 1979

Kingswear Castle report – Achievement is now obvious even to the casual observer. Paddle wheels and paddle boxes are removed while the main outboard bearings are being refurbished and completely new paddle wheels are being made. A number of engineering firms have recently shown interest in the project and are providing excellent assistance free of charge or at cost. The upperwork bow plating repairs are almost complete, new forward well deck frames are welded and new steel paddle box frames into position.

Encouragement needed for KC workers – Basic to success is the doubling of a number of hull plates below the waterline. The AGM resolved that priority be given to hull repairs. Mr Knight spoke at some length of his fears that good work done could be jeopardized if the vital work of repairing the hull plates was not put in hand. Those who give their time for work on KC get satisfaction from a job well done, but they need encouragement from the membership in the form of financial support. There is no Fairy Godmother for Kingswear Castle. Restoration has been handled throughout by the Society’s own members.

Roy Barclay (left), formerly second engineer, Bristol Queen, makes his acquaintance with the Waverley’s machinery and one of her engineers, Ian Muir.|Olivia YR French

Waverley’s English season highlights 1979

  • May 13th: A really hot sunny day. We sailed out of Chatham Naval Dockyard with a Naval pilot and the services of a naval tug. This was an unexpected bonus as Waverley was originally planned to sail from a Rochester wharf. We sailed up river to look at the city of Rochester before leaving for our destination, Southend.
  • May 26th: Unable to go round the Isle of Wight due to weather conditions. Proceeding up Spithead we saw the Queen Elizabeth II outward bound. She saluted Waverley with three deep blasts of her siren. A thrilling moment as Waverley returned the greeting with three blasts of her steam siren.
  • May 27th: We cruised from Southampton via Bournemouth and Weymouth, and were expecting to turn off Portland Bill as on a previous cruise. But Waverley carried on round towards Chesil Beach where we had a superb view right down along the Dorset and Devon coast to Brixham and Berry Head.

Waverley charter 16th June – At 9.15 around 50-60 people were already queuing to join Waverley at Stobcross Quay for the first major outing of the year for the Society. Over 300 boarded at Glasgow for a somewhat blustery sail down river. Good time had been made to Gourock only to discover that the expected crowd on the pier where still seated in their special trains around Greenock due to a delay. Fifteen minutes later the stampede down Gourock pier started – over 700 crowded towards Waverley’s gangways. Leaving Gourock we had almost a full complement on board. Right up to the Kyles of Bute, through the narrows and into Loch Riddon they combed the deck with raffle tickets. At our destination, Millport, traders had a field day with passengers crowding shops and the crazy golf course.

North of the Border – CalMac announced a drastic package of economies to meet increased fuel costs, which includes Maid of the Loch finishing her season 1st September. By mid-July Maid of the Loch had a 20% increase in traffic. Luss pier will not now open until 1980, although a new pier was opened at Inversnaid on 28th June. A new circular tour has operated, from Glasgow by rail to Ardlui, launch to Inversnaid, Maid of the Loch to Balloch and return by rail. Back on the Clyde, Queen of Scots has reappeared on cruises from Dunoon, Rothesay and Kilcreggan. Finally a comment from a Glen Sannox passenger, quoted in the Glasgow Herald, on the vessel’s vibration – “It tickles the feet!”