Summer 1981

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

Summer 1981

Bristol Channel news – It was with deep regret that Bristol Channel enthusiasts learnt in early January that P&A Campbell were to cease their passenger ship operations. For the best part of a century White Funnel ships have been a part of the summer scene, and it will be almost impossible to imagine Ilfracombe without the familiar sight of a White Funnel at the end of the pier. Both Devonia and Balmoral lie in Bristol City Docks. Both ships have been offered for sale but no takers have come forward. A considerable amount of equipment is expected to be removed from Balmoral for use on Prince Ivanhoe and it then seems likely that Balmoral will be sold for scrap.

Maid of the Loch sails on – Following an outcry from the local authorities which have given grants for the Maid of the Loch’s continued operation and for the rebuilding of the piers, CalMac has decided to continue to run her. In 1981 she will sail from 23rd May until 29th August on a similar schedule to 1980.

Prince Ivanhoe – The ship still sits at Glasgow Stobcross Quay and is still called Shanklin, the procedure for renaming taking longer than expected. The plan is that she will spend part of May on the Bristol Channel, return to the Clyde for June and go south again for July and August. Shanklin already has her engineering team and they are now getting to grips with the task of re-assembling the port engine.

Waverley’s new boiler being positioned.

Waverley – New boiler installed – The most spectacular part of Waverley’s reboilering has been completed. Early in March the men from Clydedock moved in and the next day off came the famous tri-colour funnels. It was quite a sight to see and thanks to some quick telephoning by Gill in the office, a bevy of “nutters” soon gathered to watch. They were lucky because if the first attempt had been successful it would all have been over by lunch. The crane turned out to be too small and a bigger version was hurriedly sent for. Inglis’ 1947 drawings had shown funnels weighing 1.72 tons each and while everyone knew that the replacements fitted in 1961/2 were heavier, nobody expected a staggering 4.5 tons each! There were dozens of unusual photographic angles since the ship then appeared to be going in the opposite direction to the funnels plonked on the quayside. Then Waverley had only some 300 yards to go to the bottom of Finnieston Street where the 175 ton crane made short work of lifting out the 52 ton boiler. Later the ship was towed back to her normal berth. The new boiler is now ready and waiting for delivery. The plan is to fit it at the giant crane following sonic testing of the hull. Thus the ship will have been without a boiler for only six days.

Kingswear Castle back in the waterKC came off the slipway on 7th March. A previous attempt had been made on Friday 6th but there was insufficient water at high tide. Later that night a group of members were again down at the Marina to see if she could be moved down a little on the 1.00am tide but to no avail. On the Saturday the weather was poor with high winds and rain. Nevertheless there were a good few hands to help with the ropes and fenders. A group of working party members made the short trip out into the Medway and round to the mudberth where the vessel is now moored. A Worthington Simpson circulating pump circulating pump has been located and purchased to replace the original. The decorative scrollboards have been restored and repainted at home by one of our members and they are now back on board.