October Clyde Finale

Report by Martin Longhurst with additional pictures by Ashley Gill (AG)

Following the completion of her very successful Thames season, Waverley cast off from Tilbury Landing Stage at 03.00 on Monday 9 October 2006 for her journey home. She reached Weymouth to set down the shop keeper, Richard Thorneycraft, and for bunkers at 18.58. She continued just after midnight and 23 hours later she was off Bardsey Island, North Wales. The roughest stretch was between here and the Calf of Man, passed at 04.00. Four hours later the Mull of Galloway fell astern and Ailsa Craig was passed just after eleven o'clock. She tied up at Pacific Quay at 15.40 on Wednesday.

Saturday and Sunday saw three celebratory sailings to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the paddler's launch, which took place on 2 October 1946. It was a bright, and sunny morning as the steamer, with all her flags flying, prepared to leave the Science Centre. Promptly at 10.00, Captain Luke Davies swung the ship and headed down river. Calls were made at Greenock, Helensburgh and Kilcreggan and each pier contributed many extra passengers.

Awaiting departure from the Science Centre

At Blairmore a rendezvous was made with Clyde Marine's small motor vessel Kenilworth, which was on charter to the Clyde River Steamer Club. Some 40 passengers had joined her at Greenock Victoria Harbour for the sail to Blairmore to join the paddler while a smaller number made the journey the other way round. Apparently, according to Iain Quinn, this year the Kenilworth is 10 years older than the Waverley. There was a rare example of double berthing as Kenilworth came alongside the Waverley while she was tied up to Blairmore Pier.

Waverley and Kenilworth approach Blairmore (AG)

Alongside at Blairmore (AG)

Kenilworth comes alongside Waverley

Passengers join the Kenilworth for Greenock

Waverley then steamed to the head of Loch Long, turned opposite the Admiralty Pier and went astern towards the derelict steamer pier at Arrochar. Here a wreath was laid in memory of George Train on behalf of the Coastal Cruising Association, of which he was a founder members. On the return voyage the paddler visited Loch Goil, turning just short of Douglas Pier quite a long way up and took a close look at Carrick Castle on the return.


The Second Snark at Kilcreggan standing in for the on-charter Kenilworth

Leaving Helensburgh (AG)

Inverclyde sunset

During her second call at Blairmore, a plaque on the pier was unveiled and dedicated to the memory of Peter Lewis. So the steamer retraced her course to Kilcreggan, Helensburgh, Greenock and finally Glasgow. The passage from Greenock to Glasgow was accomplished in one hour twenty minutes just riding out the last of the rising tide. The fast speed was necessary as a quick turn round of just 30 minutes had been allowed between the day sailing and the Anniversary Supper Cruise, which departed at 19.30.

Over 200 took the opportunity to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the paddler's launch. Chief Steward Craig Peacock had devised an excellent menu offering roast striploin of beef au poivre, fillet of chicken Suedoise and mushroom stroganoff. The steamer turned off Gourrock.

Evening cruise passengers disembark at Pacific Quay (AG)

Although the weather forecast had promised another nice day, Sunday was grey and dull with only a occasional glimpse of the sun. The steamer left Pacific Quay at 10.00 for Greenock, Helensburgh, Dunoon, Rothesay and Tigh-na-bruaich for a short time ashore. The October sailings all attracted heavy carryings and there was a queue for breakfast rolls around departure time.   The ship was well supported at the intermediate piers and well pretty full into Rothesay.

Shelagh recharges her batteries ready for duty on Weekend Working Parties on the Waverley

There was just time at Tigh-na-bruaich for the traditional walk to Suzy's Tea Room for an ice cream cone.


On leaving here, and at all the other piers called at over the weekend, three long blasts were sounded on Waverley's big brass whistle to mark the last call of the year.

Unusually Waverley called at the Victorian pier at Dunoon on her return voyage

Giorgos outward bound

At Greenock there was a slight delay as the Maltese freighter Giorgos, which had been unloading animal feed at Sheildhall Riverside over the weekend, passed down river, giving the paddler an appropriate salute on her air horn. The final leg to Glasgow Science Centre was completed in darkness and then Captain Davies rang off the engines for the final time in 2006 at 19.48 hours.

The final passengers leave the steamer as the crew start to take down her flags

See you next year!

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