Summer 1992

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

Summer 1992

£300,000 must be raised by 1995 to keep Waverley and Kingswear Castle sailing – Compliance with new Department of Transport regulations will cost a massive sum in addition to the normal expenditure for routine maintenance and winter refits. We cannot expect the ships’ operating companies to be able to generate sufficient funds to cover this work, which will involve some modifications to the ships and the provision of new and expensive life-saving apparatus. Everything possible has been done and is being done by the professionals involved in the operation of our ships to make the Department of Transport aware of our particular needs and problems. The result of such action by our professional experts and by other interested bodies during the consultative stages of the drafting of the new regulations produced some welcome amendments to the original DOT proposals which would have spelt the end for Waverley as a viable operational ship. The revised regulations we can comply with, albeit at considerable cost. We are looking at the possibility of using professional fundraising help, but for 1992 and 1993 we want to see just how much we can do on our own. The message for this season is clear. Every effort must be put into the Branch fundraising initiatives on board our ships.

New looks for Waverley and BalmoralWaverley had her crankshaft re-aligned and new bearings fitted during the winter and achieved 17 knots on the measured mile. Thanks to the Scottish Branch who have transformed the promenade deck lounge in brighter colours with upholstery to match. Balmoral was dry docked in Bristol and had her newly installed propellers tested when an average speed of 16.74 knots was recorded on the measure mile. She will have an enhanced colour scheme this year – the existing green will become darker, red boot topping and pale off-white upper parts.

Maid of the Loch’s future again in doubt – The owners went into liquidation on 18th February 1992. The watchmen were dismissed at the end of December and during January there has been a concerted effort at stripping any valuable components. The wheelhouse is bare – the wheel, binnacle and telegraphs have all gone. The internal condition is very poor. Her hull and superstructure are in good condition and there are many examples of paddlers in a worse condition having been fully restored. It is expected that the Maid, Countess Fiona and land at Balloch will be sold to the highest bidder. The Society is making a case for preservation. There is general public body support and Dumbarton District Council have agreed to submit an offer. If successful, the Society is certainly assured of an active role in the Maid’s future.

Maid of the Loch on 6th May 1992.|Ashley Gill

Roddy McIsaac – Bosun, Waverley – His distinctive profile, cheery face and sense of humour have been part of the Waverley scene since the early days of preservation. At the wheel each time she approaches or leaves a pier only he knows how to interpret what the Captain means by “just ease her a wee bit now, Roddy”. Over the years he has become an irreplaceable figure aboard Waverley.

KC report – A small but dedicated team continue to keep KC sailing. Relief skipper Chris Smith whose talents stretch through every department from engine room to bridge puts in many hours over and above his required duties, and is supported by full time crew member Howard Bird. Alan Beavan, retired engineering superintendent, supervised the engine and boiler refit.

25 years ago… Queen of the South (ex Jeanie Deans) is seen on 9th June 1967 in the Pool of London.|PSPS Collection

And 50 years ago… Kingswear Castle to be purchased; Work well in hand on Queen of the South; Very poor traffic on the Clyde over Easter; Cardiff – Weston service less than daily for the first time. Read more…