Saturday, 30 May 2009

The New Season Gets Off to a Great Start - Glasgow to Oban

First thing Friday morning and a queue of over 200 wait to board PS Waverley
on a rather grey and overcast morning -
but the forecast for the weekend was good!

By now with well over 400 on board, following her calls at Greenock and
Campbeltown, Waverley rocks and rolls her way around the Mull of Kintyre.
This far it has remained grey and overcast during the voyage, despite reports from home of
loads of blue sky and sunshine back in Glasgow since we left.
With a stiff (cold) breeze,
passengers remain wrapped up but
Waverley is heading for that spot of blue in the distance.

A few miles can make all the difference!
Soon all the coats were coming off, the bottles of suncream were being dug out
of the bottom of rucksacks, and the cream was being liberally applied as we
enjoyed the last five or so hours of the voyage in the most idylic sailing conditions.
If only we could "bottle" such a Waverley experience!

Looking back down the sound of Kerrera as we approached Oban Bay

A sun drenched Oban Bay with Calmac's Isle of Mull and Clansman at their linkspans.

Despite all the suncream, it was a very colourful, but very satisfied, load of passengers who streamed up the gangway onto Oban North Pier, just after 20:00 hrs. It was quite amusing to hear the conversations on the pier along the lines of "Does anyone know where such and such hotel or B&B is?". However, the vast majority are seasoned travellers who stay in the same places year on year, and for these ones you had to be careful not to be trampled in the rush as they made their bee lines with trolleys and bags.

For approximately 200 of Waverley's passengers, the journey still had a fair bit to go
with return coach travel to Glasgow. The "Dodds of Troon" convoy was soon assembled
and set off back to Glasgow where we arrived just about on the dot of timetable time at 23:00
One of Dodds buses is seen here heading along the shore of Loch Etive

An advantage of the later than originally planned visit to Oban, is more hours of
daylight with the return trip to Glasgow being almost all in daylight, and through some
really lovely scenery - which compensates greatly for the necessary coach journey -
as seen above and below.

Many of the passengers returning to Glasgow on Friday night still have plans to go
back sometime over the weekend to sail again on Waverley in the Western Isles.

The Sunday evening sailing from Oban to Fort William and back has been arranged
as a Ceilidh Cruise with entertainment being provided by Oban Gaelic Choir
The cruise is intended to raise funds for both PS Waverley and
the annual Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival.

Details are below - the weather looks really promising and it
should be a great night of traditional Scottish entertainment.
Please come along and support the evening cruise
if you can be in Oban on Sunday night

Charles McCrossan

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Haw Maw! The Kettles Huv Boiled!

Two photos taken yesterday by Deryk Docherty as Waverley tests or "floats" her boiler safety valves whilst alongside Custom House Quay, Greenock.
Quite an awesome sound if you're standing in the vicinity when this happens!!
Gavin Stewart

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Waverley's third move of 2009 - Arriving back in Glasgow

Waverley arriving back upriver after her move from Drydock yesterday,
and a short "shakedown trip" around the upper firth this morning.

Passing the former Elderslie drydocks as she makes
her approach towards her berth at the Science Centre

Safely alongside at the Science Centre at 13:00

All involved have put in a really huge effort AFTER the boiler repairs were completed to get her steaming back up the river today. There will still be long hours to be worked so that we can all sail off on Friday morning at 07:00 with a few gallons (or litres - for those so inclined) of sunblock on board as the weather forecast looks really good at present.

A very big thank you and well done to all involved in getting her back into operation!

Charles McCrossan

Waverley's Second Move of 2009 - Out of Drydock!!

(Words by Gavin Stewart, Pictures by Gerry Deegan)

Early in the afternoon of Tuesday 26th May our little paddler came out of her temporary home in Garvel Dry Dock, Greenock.

Gerry Deegan - a native of Inverclyde and a former shipyard engineer - was on hand to record the event on camera. Many thanks to Gerry for allowing the branch to use his excellent photos.

Clyde Marine tugs Boojum Bay and Beaver Bay assemble on the dock wall ready to assist.

The dry dock gates open and the tugs take up position.

Waverley's deck crew get a line out to the tug as the paddler's bow edges clear of the dry dock entrance.
Waverley looking a million dollars - glistening in the afternoon sun - complete with new Edward Waverley on her starboard paddle box. The previous one was washed away during her particularly stormy passage down the Irish Sea en route to the Solent last year. The new one was cast from a special resin by volunteer Jim the Joiner and attached last Saturday. More on this in a later article.

The tugs begin to turn Waverley and head towards Custom House Quay - a regular calling point for the ship during her Clyde season.

Coming alongside - note the bow rope already ashore. Once safely tied up works would proceed to ready her for passengers on Friday 29th May.

Whilst all the attention was on Waverley the vessel with which she had shared the dry dock with for the past 8 days - Irish roro ferry Foyle Rambler emerged and headed down river eventually out to sea to return to Ireland. Must have been interesting when she got to open sea!!

So there you have it - the plan is for her to sail on trials with an MCA surveyor on today before heading back up river to her berth at Glasgow Science Centre where she will welcome her first passengers of 2009 on board on Friday - sailing at 0700 to Oban.

Heres hoping for good weather!!!

Gavin Stewart
Vice Chairman - Scottish Branch

Monday, 25 May 2009

All Over 'Til Next Winter!

Saturday past was the last official work party of the Winter. The ship is currently in Garvel Drydock, Greenock receiving her annual overhaul and survey which will result in the renewing of her passenger certificate for another year.

The recommissioning of her boilers continues apace and the current date for coming out of Garvel is Tuesday 26th May.

Works undertaken by our dedicated group of volunteers (unfortunately not all in the photo) on Saturday varied from Portable Appliance Testing, Painting of the deckhead underneath the bridge wings and after boat deck, cleaning and polishing that masterpiece that is the Main Engine through to rebuilding the Ladies Toilets after new screed and lino was installed.

These works further emphasise the contribution of volunteers - to have all those tasks and the others completed throughout the winter - undertaken by sub contractors would have cost an absolute fortune which in these difficult economic times is just not viable to companies such as Waverley Steam Navigation and Kingswear Castle.

All that remains is to thank our volunteers one and all for their unwavering enthusiasm and committment to keeping ALL our ships sailing.

The photo above was taken by Waverley's legendary purser Jim McFadzean at afternoon teabreak last Saturday.

Heres to Season 2009 - may it be all we wish for and more!!

See you aboard.

Gavin Stewart

Vice Chairman - Scottish Branch

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Waverley's First Move of 2009 - Further Downriver.

Further to Charles's coverage of the paddler from her berth in Glasgow to Erskine Bridge here are some shots from further down river.

These first two shots - taken by Tom McNeill shows the entourage passing Langbank.

Waverley had quite a crowd waiting for her as she rounded the Garvel Bend (not just seagulls!).

Clyde Marine's Damen Tug "Bruiser" on the bow.......

.....and "Battler" on bringing up the rear.

The sun came out at this moment - causing the river to reflect nicely on Waverley's Port Side.

After turning off Greenock Ocean Terminal the entourage headed back towards the entrance to Garvel Dry Dock.

The following shots show Waverley edging closer to the entrance to the dock.

Finally Waverley's bow nudges into the dry dock.

So there you have it - our paddler is safely into dry dock - she should be coming out (under her own power this time) either over the weekend or early next week ready to undertake her first sailing of 2009 - to Oban leaving Glasgow at 0700.

Gavin Stewart

Waverley's First Move of 2009

Monday 18th May saw P.S. Waverley make her first move downriver from her winter berth in Glasgow - without turning a paddle wheel! In order to allow recommissioning work on the boilers to continue while other routine inspections are carried out in the drydock, Waverley was towed to Greenock where she entered Garvel Drydock late on Monday afternoon.

(Note: As Waverley's engine and Paddle Wheels are directly connected through the crank shaft, the Paddle Wheels were "tethered" in order to stop rotation and avoid movement of the engine components - a few sore arms and shoulders among Saturday's volunteers are testament to the "tethering" work done)

Two tugs, Bruiser and Battler of Clyde Marine Services were used in the move

Here Waverley makes her first movement of 2009
as she moves off her winter berth at Glasgow Science Centre

tug Bruiser on the bow rope with tug Battler astern

Now all organised and off they go down river

Approaching Erskine Bridge

Even under tow, Waverley looks a smart vessel
reflecting the work undertaken during the winter by crew,
and volunteers, on deck and superstructure,

Approaching the Erskine Bridge,
the tugs and Waverley make a fine sight

Just about to pass under Erskine Bridge

Hopefully she will move back up river under her own power early next week.

Charles McCrossan

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Waverley Fund Raising Concert

A Fund Raising Concert in support of the operation of P.S Waverley is being held at

Adeladie's - Bath Street, Glasgow (just at corner with Pitt Street)

Friday 22 May, 2009 7:45 - 10:30

Tickets £8

Available from Tickets Scotland 0870 220 1116

or book on-line at (and scroll down to the date)

More about Eddie Walker here

Charles McCrossan