Monday, 26 August 2013

Balmoral Meeting Saturday 31st August

On Saturday 31st August at 2pm there will be a meeting held aboard Balmoral at her berth outside the M Shed in Bristol city docks. All supporters are invited to attend to hear of the latest developments for bringing the ship back into operation.
Supporters will be able to go round the ship and view areas not normally available to them. Balmoral volunteers are soon to complete the required work to allow the ship to hold events to help raise local support and funds.
The Balmoral appeal website can be found here.
Paul Semple

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Cardboard Vessels

Our latest blog reports on an inland event. Last Sunday the Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS) held its annual Fun Day which takes place each year on the third Sunday in August. This saw around a thousand people watch the annual cardboard raft race which last year featured a cardboard tribute to our ship. Sadly no paddlers featured this year.

The rules require boats to be constructed from cardboard in any form but not be waterproofed. String and adhesive tape may be used only to tie and sew the boat together. The boats have to be manually propelled around a circular course of roughly 100 metres whilst rescuing a plastic duck from the jaws of a crocodile. The winner did this in 1 minute 15 seconds.

As can be seen it was all great fun - even for those who sank. Of the twenty entries, ten stayed afloat. Whilst steel hulls are a clearly preferable design, the LUCS event perhaps shows that cardboard vessels could be a useful design exercise for budding naval architects.

 As LUCS supported our 2013 evening charter it seems reasonable to give them a plug on our blog. LUCS boasts the only canal museum in Scotland, is open at weekends until the end of September and offers a self-drive hire boats. Further information is available at

Maybe a visit to LUCS is an option for those lost for something to do once our paddler heads south.

Report by David Shirres

Friday, 16 August 2013

Another Dolphin

Well actually it's almost certainly the same one.

Thanks to Keith Robertson who, in response to our latest post, has sent the picture below.

Dolphin lovers have only two Wednesdays left this year to see the Dolphin at Ardlamont Point from a Waverley cruise to Tarbert.

A Dolphin and a Dog Leg

The forecast for 14th August was bright at first with cloud and rain later. It was perhaps not the most promising day for a sail on Waverley. Nevertheless over 400 were on board for the Wednesday trip through the Kyles of Bute to Tarbert. Waverley's cruise that day started at Ayr but your correspondant joined her at Rothesay by which time the sun had been lost.

It still stayed bright through the Kyles of Bute where many were on deck for the narrow passage through the buoys

The regulars on board trying to see the Dolphin at the Ardlamont Point Bouy which those of us on the starboard side missed he /she appeared on the port side away from the buoy

At Tarbert most folk braved the threatened rain for the 3/4 mile walk into the town. There Waverley's invading passengers overwhelmed coffee and gift shops during their hour ashore.

 Waverley leaves Tarbert for her short cruise in Loch Fyne whilst most passengers visit Tarbert

Arrivals at Tarbert - CalMac's Isle of Cumbrae ferry from Portavadie whilst Waverley returns from her Loch Fyne cruise

Waverley docking at Tarbert for a prompt 1620 departure which had some hurrying for the gangplank

Those who visited Tarbert experienced some light rain but were lucky to be on board when the ship ran into a rain squall after leaving Tarbert which cleared the decks. By Ardlamont Point the rain had lifted and it was time for dolphin spotting. This time he / she swam by the bows on the Port side, the same side as the buoy and presented a fine sight.

With the high tide, after leaving Tighnabruaich the regulars were spectualting whether the ship would take the Dog Leg channel through the Kyles of Butes and so she did.

Through the dog leg channel in weather best described as atmospheric

Leaving the ship at Rothesay was a good opportunity for photographs even though by then it was quite dull.

After a great fish supper from the Squat Lobster by the pier it was time for 1900 ferry to Wemyss Bay, the last of the day back to the mainland. 

So all in all a good day's sail showing that a great sail on the ship doesn't need bright sunshine

David Shirres

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Balmoral Appeal on ITV News

ITV News West Country have broadcast a news report on Balmoral's appeal to raise £350k to ensure that Balmoral can sail in passenger service next season.

The report can be viewed by clicking here.

P Semple

A new website

As some PSPS members will be aware Waverley Excursions Limited have a new website. This has a much cleaner look and is easier to navigate that the old website.

It also offers a facility for Friends of Waverley to book their trips. Just select the BOOK NOW option, indicate that you are a member and provide your membership number when asked. As our previous blog indicates, pre-booking a cruise on  the ship is now almost essential.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Hospitality Cruise - Part 2

More photos from Sunday's hospitality cruise. Thanks to PSPS member Roy Tait for supplying these photos.

 The queue at Glasgow for the sell-out cruise. Regrettably some prospective passengers were turned away at Glasgow and Largs

 Waverley's passengers hour-long invasion of Lochranza

Waverley returns to Lochranza Pier after her short cruise. With this being the last call 2013 season call at Lochranza the air was soon filled with the now tradtional "Lochranza Streamers"

Captain Gellatly senior describes the various bridge instruments to PSPS members whilst Caption Gellaty junior keeps watch.

One of the crew working Waverley's steering wheel and telemotor

Two paintings were auctioned on board to raise funds for Waverley. Our esteemed Chairman holds these whilst Iain Quinn waved his gavel. The painting on the left is Queen Mary passing through the Kyles of Bute and on the right the Paddle Steamer Caledonia. 

 An enjoyable day draws to a close as Waverley returns to Greenock and Glasgow

Hospitality Cruise report

Our hospitality cruise this year had a new feature as it took place on a sell-out Sunday which is now a regular event with discounted tickets, coach tours and good weather. Whilst it's good to see the ship full, it is a problem for those of us used to a "turn up a go service". As a result some branch members were unable to attend. Obviously we all must learn to book in advance.

Nevertheless the event was well attended with our Chairman Peter Reid hosting proceedings and Captain Graeme Gellatly offering us a warm welcome to the ship. Tea / Coffee and cake in the lower bar followed by bridge and engine room visits is a familiar though welcome routine for long-standing members and a great way to introduce new members.

Today's sail was Glasgow to Lochranza outbound via Greenock - Largs - Rothesay and the Kyles of Bute. The resident dolphin off Ardlamont point put on a splendid display, not seen by those of us in still the lower bar. He/She? is well worth looking out for on cruises to Tarbert.

It was a fine afternoon for those of us taking time ashore at Lochranza offering great views of the ship on departure and arrival.

Whilst at Lochranza it was discovered that one of the ship's engineer's has his boat there.

It was also apparent that CalMac's car ferry Loch Tarbert cannot berth at Lochranze whilst Waverley is at the pier and so had to linger just off the pier for eight minutes whilst Waverley boarded her passengers.

So a great day was had by those present. Early booking is recommended for 2014's hospitality cruise.

Report and photographs by DAVID SHIRRES