Thursday, 26 September 2013

Waverley September 1973

On Monday 30th September 2013 it will be exactly 40 years since Waverley was withdrawn from service with her future looking very uncertain.

Waverley's 1973 season did not go well. She lost 9 complete days directly due to mechanical issues. On the occasions where she was withdrawn from service it was usually Maid of Argyll or the Queen Mary II which replaced her. The results of the 1973 cruising programme were described in the Scottish Transport Group's annual report as "particularly disappointing" even though Waverley did in fact carry more passengers during the 1973 season than in the preceding 10 years.

As the end of the 73 season approached rumours spread that it was to be Waverley's last season. Queen Mary II had undergone a major refurbishment and therefore it was expected Waverley would pay the price. Waverley's 2nd last day in service on 29th September was on charter to the PSPS for a special cruise round the Lochs. Sunday 30th September 1973 found the steamer undertaking a special charter for a film crew and her final public sailing was round Bute. On Monday 1st October she entered James Watt Dock, Greenock, the first part of her career was over but the best was yet to come.

The following 3 pictures were all taken during Waverley's 1973 season while in service for Caledonian MacBrayne and are part of the PSPS Collection.

Waverley at Millport on Easter Sunday 22nd April 1973. This picture has Waverley flying the Caledonian Steam Packet Company pennant from the main mast. It was later in the 73 season before the new company house flag was flown.

Approaching Gourock
At Largs
With thanks to Andrew Gladwell for supplying the pictures from the PSPS collection. Further examples of items in the PSPS collection can be viewed at the heritage steamers website.

Paul Semple

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