Two Weeks in the Life of a Lady


Pictures by Stuart Cameron, except where indicated.


After an eventful two weeks, the Waverley successfully re-entered full service on Friday 2 July 2004.

On Sunday 20 June Waverley cruised from Helensburgh to Greenock, Largs, Lochranza, Campbeltown and Sanda Island. She was just turning at the mid-point of the cruise to circumnavigate Sanda Island and pass its southern shore and lighthouse. At this point the ship struck a submerged object. Those on board felt a pronounced jolt and heard a loud grinding noise. The steamer stopped immediately and checks were made on the integrity of the hull and the paddle wheels.  Once it had been established there was no imminent danger, after about 10 minutes, course was resumed for Campbeltown.  Arrival back was about ten minutes late, and a diver was ready to make an inspection of the outside of the hull.   When clearance to depart was received, the paddler set sail at 18.26, achieving a fairly steady 52rpm.   Smart pier work saw the steamer continue to recover time, with arrival at Lochranza at 20.00 and departure at 20.06, Largs arrive 21.19 and depart 21.29, Helensburgh arrive 22.34 and depart 22.38, to berth at Greenock at 22.56, about 40 minutes late.

The paddler fulfilled her charter commitments from Ayr on Monday and from Glasgow on Tuesday.   Low tides at Glasgow on Tuesday unusually necessitated the use of Yorkhill Quay as there was insufficient water at Anderston Quay. 

On Tuesday the MCA imposed restrictions on her operation, pending full examination out of the water and completion of any repairs, limiting Waverley to sailing in daylight with wind speeds less than Force 3.   Weather conditions on Wednesday & Thursday precluded sailings.  The earliest possible dry docking was available at A&P, Birkenhead, and the paddler left the Clyde for the Mersey on Thursday evening.  Her course took her past Laxey Bay and Douglas Head, on the Isle of Man.   Approaching Liverpool she passed the Lady of Mann outbound for the Azores about 13.00 on Friday 26 June.  She entered Cammel Laird's wet dock later that afternoon to await her time to enter the nearby dry dock.  She was in the dry dock from early on Sunday.

Waverley left dry dock after inspection and minor repairs late on Thursday evening.   She sailed from the Mersey at midnight, arriving at Glasgow at about 15.30 on Friday.

Waverley leaving the Mersey at 00.15 on 2 July (Frank Gradwell)

Passing Greenock at 14.09 the same day (John Crae)

Waverley re-entered service on the evening of 2 July. Due to low water at Anderston Quay she sailed from Yorkhill Quay just downstream from the SV Glenlee

Waverley and Glenlee at 1915 on 2 July. The picture is taken from the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in Govan. In the 19th Century this site was the location of Robert Napier's shipyard. Napier is widely recognised as the 'Father of Clyde Shipbuilding', many famous names, Tod and McGregor, John Elder, Peter Denny and the Thomsons to name a few, were apprenticed to Napier at the start of their illustrious career.

Waverley was chartered to the RBOS Glasgow Jazz Festival, a long standing annual event which happily the paddler was able to honour. As departure time approached over 600 people embarked at Yorkhill Quay - is this the most since the days when the Anchor liners such as the Transylvania, Caledonia and Cameronia left this quay on the weekly service to New York

Waverley left Yorkhill Quay at 1945, slightly late to allow unsuspecting passengers to reach Yorkhill Quay

These new higher wooden fenders mark the location of the paddler's new Glasgow berth, on the south bank near the Science Centre. Access gates have still to be inserted in the quayside railings

These new steel fenders are about to be fitted to the roundhead quay between the end of Plantation Quay and the old North Wall of the of the canting basin of Princes Dock. Instead of canting using a rope as she has done at Anderston Quay since 1975, Waverley will put her bow into the entrance of Princes Dock and port paddle box onto the impact absorbing fender then warp her self round onto the face of Plantation Quay. The conical devices are heavy rubber and will allow some 'give'.

One of the neighbours at Waverley's new berth - the Glasgow Tower

The Glasgow Science Centre (left) and IMAX cinema adjacent to Waverley's new berth which she will start to use from 23 July

Waverley approaching Renfrew about 2015 on 2 July

A busy steamer back in service

Finally, Waverley sailing into the western sunset (well it was there a couple of minutes earlier) - hopefully the trials and tribulations of the last 12 days behind her. She cruised to off Gourock and returned to Glasgow at 2300
Public sailings resumed on 3 July.

Thanks are due to Joe McKendrick, Robert Whitelaw, George Boswell and Stuart Cameron, who wrote the section on the evening charter, for the information n this article.  

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