Autumn 1983

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

Autumn 1983

Around Britain in 1983

  • Lundy: Waverley’s 1983 season commenced on the 16th and 17th April with two charter sailings to Lundy Island from Ilfracombe and Bideford. On the Sunday morning at Bideford she was greeted with good weather and an enthusiastic capacity crowd. Another fast crossing and we were soon anchored in Lundy Roads. After a smooth and musical return crossing Bideford was reached at 8.30pm and she sailed again at 10pm for Plymouth.
  • Short Sussex stay: On 21st April Waverley returned for two cruises from Eastbourne Pier. A long queue was at the pier head for the 2½ hour evening cruise to Newhaven with a return trip via the Royal Sovereign Light Tower. As darkness fell we could see the lights of ships on passage through the English Channel and ahead of us the light from the Tower. Passing close by, the keepers of the Tower could be seen waving.
  • Queen of the South: Saturday 23rd April saw Waverley on the Medway at Gillingham Pier (a real pier this time and not the cramped harbour used in 1981) for an enterprising up river cruise to Southend, Tilbury and Greenwich. Despite indifferent weather some 740 passengers were put ashore at Greenwich for a visit to the Cutty Sark. On the return to Gillingham Waverley was running early and almost arrived before the rope handlers – London Branch Members taking time off from Kingswear Castle restoration. On Saturday April 30th some 750 came aboard at Tower Pier. From Tilbury the ship was full (leaving over 40 behind) and at Southend only ticket holders could be embarked. This was to be the first visit of any large excursion vessel to Whitstable, the harbour walls were thronged, and as the local sea cadets band struck up on the dot at 3pm the Queen of the South had arrived.
  • Tyne Barrier falls: Down the Tyne the first weekend we viewed HMS Illustrious and Sunday was the usual trip to Coquet Island.The following weekend was a new venture from the Tees to Flamborough Head via Scarborough, past spectacular chalk caves.
  • A Forth discovery: On the Forth only reasonable numbers were carried, but the visit to the island of Inchcolm provoked many favourable comments. Rounding Cape Wrath Waverley made good time to anchor in Loch Linnhe on 25th May. After a full load of children to Tobermory on 26th the evening cruise was well supported and Waverley steamed back to the Clyde overnight. After attention to the paddles a ten day programme of Clyde sailings was successfully carried through.
  • Campbell fashion: The steamer arrived at Swansea early on 7th June and within hours was carrying her first passengers on a Welsh coast cruise. The last trip on 28th June from Penarth to Ilfracombe was well supported. Overall, another triumph of navigation on the Bristol Channel with an outstanding showing by the paddler on an arduous programme.

Kingswear Castle report – All the woodwork at the aft of the ship had to be removed before work on the steel could begin. Everything had to be dismantled and stowed somewhere safe, and so the aft saloon sat on the sponson deck for six months. In the words of our ex-Chief Steward (now on loan to Waverley), “it’s all one big jigsaw puzzle”.Thankfully most of the jigsaw was back together before he left for Waverley. Following completion of the aft saloon steelwork, renewal of the wheelhouse floor was the next priority.

Before – Watch it Come Down!|Bernie Thompson

After – The restored wheelhouse.|Bernie Thompson


The wheelhouse has been dismantled, stripped and cleaned. The new floor is now welded in. The turning point for KC happened on Monday 18th April when the boiler got its certificate. On arrival at KC the inspector was given a cup of tea and then taken into a nice clean engine room. The boiler was on the brink of lifting the safeties as he got his notebook out and at 113psi No. 1 valve lifted, followed by the second at 117psi. They both sat down again perfectly and the inspector went home well pleased.