On 22 June 2019, Wessex & Dart Branch of the Society again took advantage of one of the 'promotional cruises' agreed between Dart River Boats (Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Co. / DSRRBCo) and Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle (PSKC) Trust when the ship was returned to the Dart on long term charter at the end of 2012.
Nearly 120 passengers enjoyed the evening cruise, which after leaving Dartmouth headed to the river mouth and turned just short of Dartmouth Castle. The steamer then made an unscheduled second call at Dartmouth to pick up some of our guests who arrived just in time to see KC 'let go' soon after 18.15!
We sailed upstream with a rising tide, turning off Stoke Gabriel and passing the site of the shipyard of Philip and Son Ltd. at Noss on Dart where KC was built. The site is now being levelled for the long-awaited marina development.
Local PSPS members and friends were joined by groups from Probus Clubs at both Brixham and Torquay. However, a special 'thank you' must go to PSPS member Jaye Green from Ashprington, near Totnes, for bringing 25 of her fellow villagers to join the cruise.
Damien Wallace was in command of the steamer and in the engine room Dan Wheeldon was looking after KC’s 114 year old engines – which were running superbly.
During sailing a raffle was held in aid of the PSPS Restoration & Preservation Fund, with the intention that the money raised – almost £270.00 – would be passed to the Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal.
The Wessex & Dart Branch were very grateful to Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company for the generous gift of a raffle prize – a footplate experience on one of the company's steam locos on the line from Paignton to Kingswear. Very appropriately, this was won by a member of the group from Ashprington and we hope she will greatly enjoy her ride in the cab and views of the line ahead.
All too soon we were back alongside in Dartmouth. Our passengers were very appreciative of the evening and they were all asked to recommend sailing on KC to their friends. Chris Phillips in his commentary gave a brief update on Waverley and the Boiler Refit Appeal which had been launched just the previous week.
The ship was immaculately turned out and the welcome on board as friendly as ever. Thank you DSRRBCo and PSKC Trust for making the ship available to the Wessex & Dart Branch and thanks to all the crew for ensuring the evening was such a success.
Another evening river cruise in 2020?