Waverley’s Final Weekend 2011
Report and pictures by Martin Longhurst
Following an extended stop at Weymouth, Waverley was able to make excellent progress the rest of the way to Glasgow, arriving at her Science Centre berth at about two o’clock on Thursday afternoon. Her first employment was an evening music charter on 14 October 2011 for the same operator who had taken her the previous Friday in London. The sail was well supported with excellent bar takings before the participants were transferred to a night club.
The small tug Beaver Bay pushes the paddler round before she steams off downstream
Saturday’s forecast was for rain for most of the day and this turned out to be true, although the rain was very light for the majority of the sailing. This took the paddler from Glasgow to Greenock, Helensburgh, Kilcreggan and Blairmore for a non-landing cruise to Arrochar on Loch Long and Carrick Castle on Loch Goil. Despite the depressing weather, good numbers were carried all day, including Jim McFadzean who retired after 23 years as the steamer’s purser this time last year.
Sunday’s weather was in contrast excellent, with much sunshine and light winds. Consequently about 550 joined Waverley at Glasgow, about another 200 at Greenock meaning that ticket holders were boarded first at Largs.
We encountered three military helicopters in mid-Firth
A small number of unbooked passengers were able join to bring the steamer’s complement up to her certificated limit of 860. Numbers fell after Rothesay for the final leg to Tighnabruaich. Unfortunately the large number of passengers leaving and joining the steamer had delayed her by half an hour so Captain Clark put back our departure time by 30 minutes.
The view from the restored pier waiting room
Waverley waiting at Tighnabruaich
This newspaper cutting was posted on the notice board at the Pier – read the full article. Despite the headline, it is too early to make predictions but the appeal has been exceptionally successful so far and the signs are good that both Waverley and Balmoral will be able to sail in 2012. However, more support will be required.
The Tighnabruaich Lifeboat and the Tighnabruaich Pier Association had set up sales stands in the pier building which did good trade.
A notable feature of the day was the number of announcements made by past and present Pursers, the most unusual being Ian Young who served in the early 1980s.
Tony Gamblin’s end of season jaunt
On the return voyage, the practice of sounding three long blasts on the ship’s whistle to acknowledge each pier at the end of the season was revived. Captain also thanked the pier staff over the public address. You can hear her departure from Greenock on Dougie Coull’s video.
The arrival back at Pacific Quay was unusual in that the Beaver Bay turned the steamer to face down river which is more suitable for the winter maintenance period.