From the Chairman – How many of us who attended the inaugural meeting of the Society would have cared to prophesy the paddle steamer scene on the occasion of the 50th edition of our journal. The heyday of the paddle steamer had certainly passed but there were still plenty of vessels in service. Of the surviving examples none could be finer than the splendid Waverley.
PSPS extends to Waverley its congratulations and best wishes on her 25th birthday and hopes that the future may be assured for a long time to come. A special word of tribute is due to Waverley’s owners and operators for their determination to keep the steamer in service and for their recognition of the unique asset Waverley represents as the world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer.
Our greatest challenge is the successful preservation of our own ship. Here we have all the problems presented in one package and it will need hard work, good luck and lots of money to give Kingswear Castle any chance of operating again as a Society venture.
From John Betjeman, Patron PSPS – I am proud to be associated with your Society. Smoothness and quiet and slowness are the new thrills. Noise and speed are old fashioned and going out. Fight on!Happy Birthday Waverley – Champagne, caviar, claret, Camembert, smoked salmon, asparagus tips – one would never expect to see this bill of fare on a paddle steamer. But there it was, beautifully laid out for the specially invited guests who attended the birthday of PS Waverley on May 19th 1972. Mr John Whittle (General Manager Caledonian Steam Packet Co.) welcomed guests, introducing Mr Terry Sylvester, chairman of the Waverley Study Group, who spoke for his hopes for the future of the vessel. Miss Jean Martin, fiancee of the secretary of the PSPS Scottish Branch, unveiled a fine brass plaque, presented by PSPS to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the vessel. After the ceremony there was a long blast from Waverley’s whistle and the steamer cast off for an afternoon cruise to the Kyles of Bute. Lunch was served in the dining saloon and was followed by alcoholic beverages by courtesy of the CSP! Humber – Shortage of coal led to the withdrawal of the Tattershall Castle after February 19th. For two weeks the Bridlington excursion vessel Flamborian maintained the service but no cars were taken. Tattershall Castle resumed on March 5th. The Lincoln Castle and Wingfield Castle were overhauled and by mid-May they were maintaining the service while the Tattershall Castle was laid up. News on a firm decision on her future is awaited.
Bristol Channel – On April 29th nearly 500 members of Bristol youth clubs did a day trip to Ilfracombe. As the Hotwells pontoon has been removed, Balmoral embarked her passengers in the Cumberland Basin. She also called at Avonmouth to disembark her pilot, and at Weston. The trip down was very rough. Continuing bad weather cancelled the fully booked National Trust charter to Lundy on the following day.
Blackheath Rally – A newcomer, Ernie Forbes came from Christchurch with his excellent model of PS Medway Queen complete with model figures of Captain Horsham and Tom the Coxswain! Sailing in company with Medway Queen was Allan Waller’s Royal Eagle. Ernie had some difficulty steering Medway Queen against the head winds but Allan ploughed doggedly on, sailing Royal Eagle to all parts of the lake. We paid tribute to Tony Horn’s PS Bournemouth Queen – all the way from Worthing on this frightful and wet day.
Paddling to Ormidale – 400 passengers embarked at Gourock for the charter on May 21st. The Second Snark arrived from Greenock looking just as resplendent as Waverley. A few minutes late the steamer departed for Wemyss Bay and The Second Snark went to Dunoon. At Largs and Rothesay passengers joined the steamer making some 650 for the trip to Loch Riddon. Turning into Loch Riddon Captain McEachern rang for half ahead. Waverley anchored close to the pier but dragged her anchor and a new anchorage had to be found near the mouth of Loch Riddon. Three boat loads were taken ashore and Waverley finally sailed away at 7pm. On the return trip the Rothesay passengers went on The Second Snark getting a magnificent view as Waverley came down the Kyles. A raffle on board the paddler raised £30 for the Kingswear Castle.