Triumphant end to extended Clyde season – Despite her withdrawal for six weeks in the busiest part of the season Waverley carried over 139,000 passengers during her 1977 sailings. Returning to service on September 1st following dry docking for repairs to the damage sustained during her July 15th grounding, Waverley did at least finish the season on a triumphant note. Due to the re-development of Anderson Quay Waverley has had to leave her Glasgow home of the last three years and raised steam at the beginning of November to carry tons of stores and other equipment about half a mile down river to Stobcross Quay.
Kingswear Castle report – The paddle shafts were withdrawn on 1st October for welding buildup of the journals and re-machining. Paddle wheels will be essentially of the original design and retaining the bolted joint construction rather than a welded wheel which was favoured at one time. A design change eliminates the hook bolts for fastening the floats. Instead, welded on bushes house standard bolts with the advantage that corrosion crevices are greatly reduced. A start has been made on the timber paddle box sections.Lincoln Castle sails on alone – Lincoln Castle is due to maintain a one-ship Humber service while Farringford is away for a six week annual overhaul. Sealink planned to bring the Tilbury ferry Edith to the Humber to supplement Lincoln Castle’s service with passenger only sailings but this failed to materialise.
MV Balmoral – For the first time in many years Lynmouth has been visited, and among unusual trips was one from Pembroke Dock to Lundy. Further trips, Tenby – Lundy and Bideford – Lundy were scheduled for 30th September and 1st October, but gale force winds caused cancellation and Balmoral remained stormbound in Swansea Docks. The annual four day excursion from the Bristol Channel to St. Ives and the Isles of Scilly took place on Oct 14 –17, and the following weekend Balmoral was sailing out of Cowes, Southampton and Bournemouth, on charter. The ship has not been carrying such high numbers as during the last two seasons, no doubt due to poor weather. However she has been very reliably operated, and has carried out almost all advertised sailings with punctuality.
Campbell cruises on the Thames – Regular excursion sailing returned to the Thames last summer for the first time since the efforts to establish Queen of the South (former Jeanie Deans) in 1966 and 1967. P & A Campbell’s MV Devonia sailed from July 16th until the third weekend in September. The Tower Pier – Southend service started with virtually no advance publicity but loadings picked up encouragingly. Devonia operated daily except Mondays and on four afternoons there was an Estuary cruise from Southend which proved extremely popular.
Medway Queen going home – An ambitious bid has been started to return the Dunkirk veteran to the Medway from the Isle of Wight where she was opened as a restaurant and club in 1965.
Ryde Queen’s future undecided – An estimated £100,000 worth of damage was caused by a fire on the former BR steamer Ryde which was fought by 60 firemen from brigades throughout the Isle of Wight. Ryde Queen was in use as a discotheque up to the time of the fire.