Saturday, 30 June 2012

Branch Evening Charter 2012

The following few pictures were taken as Waverley arrived and departed Greenock on Thursday evening for the annual Scottish Branch evening charter of Waverley. Unfortunately the weather was not great although it did remain dry for some of the cruise.

Waverley arrives at Greenock from Largs having completed her day sailing

Heading for Helensburgh after departing Greenock (Photo: Joe McKendrick)

Photo: Joe McKendrick
The PSPS flag being flown for the duration of the cruise
Of course this was just the first of two charters arranged by the Scottish Branch this season. The joint charter of Waverley by the PSPS (Scottish Branch) and the CRSC takes place on Sunday 8th July and tickets are still avilable for landing at Ormidale by The Second Snark.

P Semple

Monday, 25 June 2012

Scottish Branch Clyde Timetable 2012

All PSPS members should now have received their summer 2012 Paddle Wheels magazine along with a Waverley Clyde Timetable produced by the Scottish Branch. This timetable is very similar to those produced by WEL for some years as the main Clyde advertising leaflet. The Scottish Branch committee felt it appropriate to produce enough timetables for all PSPS members. The committee would welcome any feedback on the leaflet, positive or otherwise. A JPEG image (low quality) of the timetable/fares page is given below but if anyone would prefer a pdf file of the leaflet or just the timetable/fares page which is of much higher quality please email

Scottish Branch Committee

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Waverley Western Isles 2012

Following Waverley's successful visit to the Western Isles at the start of June some pictures have been forwarded to the blog to upload taken of the ship during her 11 day visit. The following show a few of the many taken by Roy Tait and David Shirres. Both have more pictures on flickr just click the links below to see the full collections.

David Shirres Western Isles album - click here

Roy Tait Western Isles album - click here

The first selection of pictures below are from Roy Tait.
Departing Coll
Corran Narrows
Oban North Pier

Arriving Tiree

The next selection of pictures are by David Shirres.
At Mallaig on 6th June
Departing Gairloch for the afternoon cruise

Arriving back at Gairloch

Passing under the Skye bridge on 8th June
House Flag (Roy Tait)

Name Pendant (Roy Tait)
This picture was taken by Gordon Wilson from Lord of the Isles off Colonsay

P Semple 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Waverley at Greenock 17th June 2012

Waerley arriving at Greenock Customhouse Quay from Glasgow

Berthing at Greenock

View of AIDAcara and Alteje Schult form Waverley as she departs from Greenock

Waveley departs Greenock on the return sailing - mv Clyde Clipper turning nto he Victoria Harbour ahead of her

Balmoral in Passenger Service

After leaving Glasgow and the Clyde last Wednesday Balmoral was forced to take shelter in Douglas, Isle of Man due to the prevailing wind which prevented her first 3 advertised passenger sailings taking place. It was not until 6am on Sunday (17th June) before she departed Douglas and headed to Garlieston to board her first passengers of 2012. She arrived off Garlieston in plenty of time but waited off until 9:45 to ensure sufficient water at the small pier. Passengers were quickly boarded and she departed just after 10am to head back to Douglas where most enjoyed the afternoon on the island. Many took the option of travelling by steam train to rejoin Balmoral at Port St Mary and then enjoy an excellent coastal cruise back up the East coast of the island to Douglas. The journey back to Garlieston was pleasant with flat seas and mainly clear skies.

Balmoral arriving at Garlieston
Isle of Man Steam Railway-picture taken at Port Erin
Much of the steel decking in the starboard alley way had to be replaced during the past winter,
as such the wooden decking was also replaced as shown in the photograph.
Balmoral at the end of her first day in passenger service.

P Semple

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sixty Five Years Ago on 16th June 1947

This photograph was taken 65 years ago on 16th June 1947.  It shows the brand new Paddle Steamer Waverley aproaching Dunoon for the second time in her long career. Having left her base at Craigendoran at 08:45 that morning she took the service run down to Rothesay, coming back up as far as Dunoon. Thereafter, she carried on northwards into Loch Long and Loch Goil to make her maiden calls at Lochgoilhead and Arrochar. At the latter pier passengers could disembark and connect with the Loch Lomond paddle steamers at Tarbet. As a result this service was called the 'Three Lochs Tour' and it was this route more than any other that was the raison-d'etre of P.S. Waverley, the last in a very, very long line of Clyde paddle steamers and, much later (nobody could have had any inclination of it in June 1947), the Last Seagoing Paddle Steamer in the World.

Certainly, she had a 'bone in her teeth' that day - just look at that bow wave! On her trials over the Skelmorlie Measured Mile in early June 1947 with full bunkers and water tanks and added weight sufficient to simulate a 50% maximum passenger load, Rankin & Blackmore's magnificent Engine No 520, which could develop and indicated horse power of 2100, drove her along at a maximum recorded speed of 18.39 knots. I've not seen a picture of her actual running trials. If the combustion was as incoomplete as it was when this picture was taken it is mqre than likely she could have approached at least 19 knots on those trials

She did tend to generate quite a bit of smoke in her early years. It had been intended from the outset to burn marine heavy fuel oil in the six furnaces of her double ended Scotch boiiler, which was also built in Daniel Rankin and Edward Blackmore's Eagle Foundry in Baker Street, Greenock, but this plan was thwarted by difficulties in procuring the necessary combustion systems in the immediate post WWII period. Therefore, her furnaces were modified to burn coal on static grates. Apart from the fact that it was difficult to ensure reliable supplies of good quality steam coal at that time it is possible that the furnaces were slightly small for burning the required quantity of coal, particularly if the fuel had significant ash contents. In general it takes longer and requires more volume for combustion to liberate the same amount of heat from coal compared to oil. She was eventually fitted with oil firing equipent supplied by Messrs James Howden & Company of Scotland Street, Glasgow during her maintenance period in the winter of 1956-57, which is probably just as well as a new bit of legislation had just reached the Statute Books - the Clean Air Act, 1956!

When the Waverley entered service at 08:45 on the 16th June 1947, the man in charge of her was Captain John Cameron DSC, who had also been been master of her predecessor, the Clyde paddle steamer Waverley of 1899. Capt Cameron was in charge of the previous Waverley when, sadly, she was sunk by Nazi bombers during the Evacuation of Dunkirk in May... 1940. Though there was significant loss of life Capt Cameron, a non swimmer, survived and he was proud to bring out what proved to be the last of a very long line of Clyde paddle steamers, stretching away back to the historic paddle steamer Comet of 1812, which, apart from being the first Clyde paddle steamer, was also the first commercially viable steamship to operated in the continent of Europe. Waverley will be commemorating the Bicentenary of the Comet with special sailings in early August 2012. Capt Cameron was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his wartime efforts. His association with the Clyde Steamer fleet lasted until his retirement in the 1970s. In retirement, which he spent with his wife Jean at their home in the Jordanhill district of Glasgow, Capt Cameron was an enthusiastic supporter of the Waverley preservation project in its early years as well as serving as the President of the West of Scotland Branch of the Dunkirk Veterans Association. This is the official LNER photo of Captain Cameron taking Waverley out on her first sailing sixty five years ago n 16th June 1947.

Stuart Cameron

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A 65 year old Paddler
It was on Monday 16th June 1947 that Waverley undertook her maiden voyage: little did anyone realise what a life she was starting! On her first day in service she sailed up Loch Long to Lochgoilhead and Arrochar as part of the famous "Three Lochs Tour". It was therefore appropriate that on the 65th anniversary of her maiden voyage she should sail into Loch Long. Her cruise today to mark her 65th birthday was scheduled as Glasgow, Greenock, Largs, Dunoon and Loch Long but unfortunately the call at Dunoon was cancelled due to the prevailing weather conditions with strong winds as well as heavy rain for most of the cruise.

In order to commemorate the occasion Waverley was suitably dressed as the following two pictures show, both taken by Joe McKendrick as she made her way past Govan heading down river. Those passengers on board were offered a piece of birthday cake during the Loch Long cruise before which Graeme Hogg, chairman of Waverley Excursion Ltd, gave a short speech across the public address. In his speech he noted the appreciation of both Waverley Excursions Ltd and Waverley Steam Navigation Company to all those, who in the past year, have shown much support towards the ship by the substantial number of donations made to ensure that Waverley entered service in 2012. Passengers were asked to assemble in the dining saloon along with the ship's officers as Captain Andy O'Brian cut one of the 7 large cakes. Despite the weather many of the passengers had a very enjoyable day aboard the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. As Captain O'Brian said "here's to the next 65 years of Waverley".

P Semple

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Balmoral Returns

After much effort to ensure that Balmoral was ready for passenger service the weather unfortunately prevented her first scheduled passenger sailing of 2012 taking place. She did sail across to the Isle of Man and shortly after arriving at Douglas Captain Ian Clark was interviewed. The interview can be seen by clicking the following link:

P Semple

A few more photographs as Balmoral departed Glasgow for her 2012 season

Balmoral finalising preparations before departure for the start of her 2012 season

 Balmoral eases astern out of Prince's Dock 

 The Balmoral and Waverley names together

  Balmoral's farewell blast on her horn, is acknowledged by Waverley with a long blast on her whistle

Off to sea we go!  2012 season beckons, hopefully with lots of good weather and loads of passengers.

A larger sequence of photographs from this move can be found  here

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Balmoral leaves the Clyde

With Balmoral's first passenger sailing for 2012 scheduled for Thursday 14th June it was at 9am on Wednesday 13th June she departed Princes Dock Glasgow and backed up river to be alongside Waverley for a few minutes. Both ships exchanged whistle salutes and Balmoral left for compass adjusting at the Tail of the Bank. She then left Custom House Quay Greenock early afternoon and headed for Garlieston via the Kyles of Bute. Over the coming weekend she is scheduled to sail to the Isle of Man from Garlieston on Thursday & Sunday and Whitehaven on Friday & Saturday. Waverley and Balmoral are not scheduled to meet again this season although could pass each other around the 28th August when Balmoral leaves the Bristol Channel and Waverley arrives.

The following photographs were taken today (Wednesday 13th June) by Joe McKendrick.

Balmoral turns before going astern in the river.

Off Greenock

P Semple

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Waverley to Iona

As per timetable Waverley departed Fort William on Monday 4th June direct to Oban before heading along the south coast of Mull to land at Iona. In 2011 weather conditions prevented her from landing any passengers but this year weather conditions were excellent allowing each of her 500 passengers about an hour and a half ashore on the island.

Waverley approaches Oban's North Pier

Waverley looks smart with paint work perfect and flags to mark the Jubilee

Berthing at the North Pier

Waverley at anchor off Iona

In all it was a Waverley day to remember and thanks are due to all those who have worked hard over the winter both ashore and on-board to ensure that she continues to allow passengers that unique opportunity to sail on a paddle steamer. Now in her 38th season of operational preservation the support of all her followers will help to ensure that she returns to Iona again in the future.

P Semple