Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A good but wet weekend

One of Billy Connolly’s one-liners starts “In Scotland there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”. Whilst the punch line is not suitable for a PSPS blog this phrase was certainly appropriate for those of us who left Pacific Quay in lashing rain on Saturday morning for a cruise to Loch Long that could best be described as atmospheric.

Sunday’s weather continued to be wet but with occasional bright spells for the cruise to Tighnabruaich. Whether it was the promise of some sunshine or it being the last day of the season, the ship was well loaded and seemed packed when rain cleared the open decks. 

The rain didn’t seem to dampen spirits and with many well-kent faces on board there was much to chat about. For the steamer enthusiast there was also good opportunities for retail therapy. The shop did a brisk trade and had a full complement of shop keepers. In addition your PSPS branch organised a sale of books and prints. The branch would like to thank the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station for their donation of prints and paintings for this sale. 

The rain kept off for the final run up the Clyde in the dark with engines running at 50 rpm. With the final ring of the engine telegraph signalled the end of the season, the ship arrived back at Pacific Quay at 20:00. For us passengers it was time to go home and look forward to May 2014. However, as always, for the ship’s crew there was still work to do. So to conclude our last sailing report of the season it is right to acknowledge the crew who do much to make the great experience that is Waverley.

David Shirres  

 Saturday's wet departure                                                                            Photo: David Shirres

Some sunshine on Sunday as Waverley arrives at Largs                                  Photo: David Shirres

Tighnabruaich in the rain                                                                                    Photo: Roy Tait

A wet passage through the Kyles                                                                          Photo: David Shirres

A collective noun for shopkeepers?                                                                    Photo: David Shirres

Passing the Titan                                                                                                 Photo: David Shirres

Full ahead up the Clyde with engines at 50 rpm

The season's final berth                                                                                    Photo: Roy Tait

Thursday, 17 October 2013

WSN Fundraising Sale

During August this year, the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station ran an exhibition of steamer prints and paintings, most of which were supplied by Ian McCrorie. The prints and paintings were then sold in aid of funds for Waverley. The remaining pictures have now been given to Waverley Steam Navigation Company to allow further funds to be raised. It is intended that over the the final weekend of the sailing season the remaining prints and paintings will be on sale on Waverley.

In addition to the pictures some of Dr Joe McKendrick's collection of steamer books will also be on sale to raise funds for Waverley. It is planned that both the books and pictures will be on sale over a period of time (about an hour) during both Saturday and Sunday (subject to availability) in the lower bar area of the ship. Passengers will be invited to view the items and make a purchase (donation) in aid of Waverley.

The following photographs give some idea of the prints and paintings which will be on sale. Each picture is framed with glass.

P.S. Waverley off Arran (Original watercolour by J. Farquharson)
Waverley and QE2 1990
 P.S. Jeanie Deans, 1884 (Kerprints)
T.S. Glen Sannox at Brodick (I. Orchardson print, limited edition)
 T.S. King George V at Oban North Pier (R. Forsyth print, limited edition)
P.S. Waverley in rural setting
Queen’s Dock, Glasgow
Clyde Puffer
DEPV Talisman, Dunoon (Ian Orchardson print)
P.S. Jeanie Deans
T.S. Duchess of Argyll, Gourock (Ian Orchardson print)
T.S. St Columba, Princes Pier (Ian Orchardson print)
Clyde Puffer
P.S. Mercury, Rothesay (Ian Orchardson print)
Paul Semple

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Back in Glasgow

On a wet Wednesday night Waverley passes Braehead at 20:00, 42 hours after leaving Weymouth, a voyage of about 560 nautical miles.

It's good to see her back in Glasgow ready for her final cruises of the season this weekend.

David Shirres

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Medway Queen - On the Move

The Medway Queen preservation Society have issued the following press release:-

Following the re-dedication of the Medway Queen at the Albion Dockyard in July the workforce there has been busy with completion of the construction and finishing touches to our ship. Apprentices and instructors from the Medway Queen Preservation Society were also in Bristol for a while to complement the Albion workforce. The successful rebuild of Medway Queen’s hull and establishment of the Gillingham Pier base has only been possible because of a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and considerable financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the INTERREG IVA 2 Seas Programme. 

The tug “Christine”, operated by A. J. & A. Pratt of Rainham, has been contracted to tow “Medway Queen” back to Gillingham and is now on her way to Bristol. When she arrives and all necessary surveys are complete and certificates issued Medway Queen will be towed out of the dry dock, manoeuvred through the locks and onto the river Avon. This and subsequent phases of the operation will be entirely dependent on both weather and tides. These factors are beyond anyones control although the tides at least are predictable. You can follow the Christines progress back to Gillingham on They are expected to take an inshore route along the South Coast and for those who dont already know, search for the Christine (UK registered tug), not for Medway Queen

The date and time of arrival in Gillingham are dependent on operational requirements and will only be predictable by following the tugs progress; it is expected to take an inshore route along the South Coast.

Our estimate is around 5 days after leaving Bristol given good weather. Medway Queens arrival at Gillingham Pier will be a major event for the area and we are planning this in three stages: (1) Arrival on the Medway in charge of the tug “Christine” and mooring up in the river to await a suitable tide. (2) Berthing at Gillingham Pier and, finally, (3) A celebration event for members and guests shortly after “Medway Queen” has been settled into her home.

When “Medway Queen” arrives the Visitor Centre will be open, but we anticipate that it will be necessary to exclude the public from the pier itself while the ship is mooring, on safety grounds. The society hopes that an impromptu “escort” of suitable vessels will follow the ship on the final stages of her journey without, of course, impeding the smooth running of the operation.

Please note that visitors will not be able to board Medway Queen at this stage.

Ship restoration is hugely expensive and Medway Queen is no exception. The support received from the HLF and the ERDF and generous grants from many other organisations and individuals have provided us with the means to reach the stage that we have, which is a fantastic achievement in itself, but we still have a long way to go to complete the job and get the ship working again. The fitting out phase of Medway Queens restoration will take place at Gillingham Pier but funds are now in extremely short supply and progress will be very slow unless we are successful in raising significant amounts of money. Our current priorities are providing safe access to the vessel for workers and visitors, restoring the aft saloon to enable it to be used for functions to generate revenue towards the restoration and restoring the engine room and machinery to working order as an attraction to encourage visitors

A “Completion Fund” has been set up to encourage donations large and small towards the cost of finishing the job. The speed with which Medway Queen can be returned to working order is entirely dependent on fund raising. We are applying to numerous grant giving bodies for aid but all will require us to provide partnership funding. Please dig deep; look on our website for details or call at the Visitor Centre on Gillingham Pier.

Financial support is essential, as are new members. Offers of help in kind and volunteers to take on the many organisational roles needed when the ship returns and visitors arrive are also welcome. The society is very conscious that the “game” is about to change. In 2014 and beyond it has to strengthen the volunteer input to the project needing not only craftsmen but also organisers and administrators.

Medway Queen afloat

Scottish Branch Committee

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

PSPS Chairman Interviewed on BBC Radio 2

On Tuesday morning (8th October) PSPS Chairman Douglas McGowan was interviewed by Chris Evans on the Radio 2 breakfast show.

Douglas gives an excellent interview which last for about 4 minutes. The radio programme is available on BBC iplayer for a week after broadcast.

The following link will open up the broadcast on iplayer. Douglas is interviewed at 2 hours 9 minutes into the programme as Chris's mystery guest.

Click here.

Paul Semple