Two Waverley Stalwarts

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

Two Waverley Stalwarts

Above: Great to see them back aboard – Jim Clark (fiddle) and Ian Moffat (Accordian)

For a large part of her preservation years passengers aboard Waverley have been entertained by a wide variety of musicians. Jim Clark, accompanied by the late Len Edwards, and by Ian Moffat have combined the entertainment with raising funds to keep the paddler in service. It is estimated that Jim’s efforts have raised in excess of £25,000 and he has been greatly missed by many Waverley supporters over the past couple of years in which has suffered some ill health.

It was a great boast to all Waverley’s regular passengers and long serving crew members to see Jim back aboard during one of the paddler’s early August sailings and even more so on her final sailing of 2009 to Tarbert in Loch Fyne on 25th August when Jim and Ian performed many old favouites and raised well over £200 in generous donations from the passengers.

On the second call at Tarbert on Tuesday it was announced that there is reason to hope that the paddler will be able to return to a full programme of calls at Tarbert. (The paddler’s Tuesday itinerary to Tarbert is one of only 2 of the 2009 Clyde excursions that have operated since the start of the ship’s preservation operation in 1975 but in the last couple of years she has only been able to call at certain tidal conditions). The East Pier at Tarbert has been in service for around 130 years having been built to accommodate the huge 300 foot long paddle steamer Columba, which was delivered from J & G Thomson’s Clyde shipyard in 1878 to serve on the prestigious ‘Royal Route’ mailboat service from Glasgow to Tarbert and Ardrishaig, the latter at the eastern extremity of the Crinan Canal. Passengers from Columba could traverse the Canal on the small steamer Linnet, boarding another paddler (notably the Chevalier) for onward passage to Oban (where they could connect with other steamers to the Hebrides) or continue to Fort William and Corpach tho connect with the Caledonian canal paddle steamer for onward transit to Inverness.

As Waverley departed Tarbert for the last time in 2009 Jim and Ian played ‘We’re no’ awa’ tae bide awa’ while passengers joined in the singing that reflected the sentiment of the occasion. Great to see both gentemen aboard again.

Above: View of the East (or Columba) pier at Tarbert, Loch Fyne from Waverley following her final departure of 2009

The longest Clyde paddle steamer of all, Macbrayne’s Columba arriving Tarbert East pier

Stuart Cameron