23rd Annual Meeting – This took place in London on 26th March and the President said in his customary address that while the message and effort of the Society are conveyed in words through Paddle Wheels, words alone are not enough. Practical skills are needed to keep the Society flourishing while others lend valuable helping hands by doing non-practical but equally vital jobs on Waverley or Kingswear Castle. Professor Robinson stressed to his large audience that apathy must not be allowed to kill our two ships. He singled out for special thanks Nick Knight, for his excellent guidance to the KC restoration team and to Mrs Margaret Russell for her efforts towards the Society’s application for Charitable Status.
North of England Branch – On 13th February many attended a very interesting meeting on board the Lincoln Castle, when Ian Muir presented a comprehensive selections of films and slides. Later we were saddened to learn of the death of our committee member Arthur Mount. Arthur was a long standing member of the Humber Paddle Steamer Trust and took a great interest in the saving and maintenance of the Lincoln Castle, one of the vessels he commanded at the time of her withdrawal.
Stobcross scene – After the success of the 1982 season the Waverley management might have felt entitled to an easy winter but two or three additional problems emerged to tax the minds of our full time “crew”. While the new boiler has been a success, one problem has been an undue build up of silt in the tubes, and one day’s sailings were missed at the end of August last year. Alterations were carried out during February and March to permit occasional flushing out of the system. Stobcross itself has been under threat from the new multi-million pound Scottish Exhibition centre now under construction. New offices are to be built at the city end of Lancefield Quay, less than 50 yards from our former home. The Scottish Development Agency are to contribute £40,000 towards the cost of the new offices – Waverley will be off round Britain when the change of address takes place.
Kingswear Castle report – Replacement of the after decks has dominated the work programme during the last three months. The removal of old planking revealed the total extent of the severe corrosion of the structural steelwork. Repairs got under way immediately. Defective deck beams, carlins, stringers etc. were either replaced or repaired with new sections welded in. The ship may appear to be in a state of complete chaos. Visitors and workers alike had to walk the plank if they wished to reach the security of the fore deck and the layout of the walkway seemed to change position from day to day so that even the regulars could be thrown off balance – especially in the dark!
Ryde – This fine looking paddle steamer Ryde Queen (ex Ryde) continues in her role as a late night pub/disco on the outskirts of Newport, Isle of Wight, although she is now only open on three nights per week. To the casual observer she would appear to be basically sound which is a great credit to the former shipbuilders Denny of Dumbarton from whose yard she came 46 years ago.
Boob of the month – A new twist to Loch Lomond sailings was given in an advert by the British Tourist Authority in the New York Times. Readers were informed that a nice way to see Loch Lomond is from the deck of the Countess Fiona which sails from Balloch Pier to Rothesay daily during July and August.