paddlesteamers.info : The Internet's leading website for Paddle Steamers past and present
For more about Waverley's history in its Clyde context, see "Waverley's Role as a Clyde Steamer and Beyond" further down this page..
DID YOU KNOW ?
Above : Waverley
at her home base outside the Science Centre on the south bank of the
Clyde in Glasgow (Feb 2016). Picture by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.
She sails from here on Fridays, weekends and Monday mornings in the high summer season, with very limited sailings in May and October. Midweek in the high summer she starts her cruises at either Largs, Ayr or Greenock.
Waverley is based in Glasgow and in high summer offers a range of cruises on the Firth of Clyde into areas of magnificent natural beauty and calling at resorts such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Largs and Brodick (click here to see photos of this attractive area). She also spends parts of the year sailing in areas which, many years ago, lost their own paddle steamers, such as the Bristol Channel, the south coast of the UK and the Thames estuary, which are currently served after the main summer season. There is usually a short programme of cruises in the Western Isles prior to the summer season.
Since 1974 she has been owned by a (now) charity (Waverley Steam Navigation Company, "WSN") on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (itself a charity, click here for more details) and operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd, a subsidiary of WSN. Home base and winter lay-up location is Pacific Quay, Glasgow, adjacent to the Science Centre and BBC Scotland offices - with an administrative office on the opposite north bank of the Clyde at Lancefield Quay.
She is marketed as the "World's Last Sea-Going Paddle Steamer" to the extent that many of her cruises now see her venture out of protected estuarine waters into what are classed as "sea" by the UK's maritime safety agency and visits to other sailing areas often involve journeys across open seas. It was not until 1977 that she first left the relatively protected waters of her native Firth of Clyde in search of out-of-season business. Other paddle steamers in the world offer cruises on lakes, rivers and estuaries only although some have on occasion entered coastal watersShe takes her name from the series of novels written by Sir Walter Scott, names from which were widely used by one of the companies operating on the Clyde. There were a number of other paddle steamers named Waverley operating in the UK, although none during the lifetime of this version of Waverley. See the section near the foot of this page for more details.
Click here to
step aboard Waverley and go into the deck saloons and below deck,
where you can see the restaurant, the bar, the souvenir kiosk and the steam engines.
WHAT IS IT LIKE ON A WAVERLEY CRUISE ?
Join three cruises from the 2013 season and see what it is like from a passenger's perspective (Photos and text by webmaster Gordon Stewart) :Clevedon and Penarth to Minehead on June 5th
Largs to Campbeltown on July 21st
Scroll further down for an independent view on "How to get the best out of sailing on Waverley" (by the webmaster) but intending passengers should ensure thay have read the official information about Waverley from the operator's own materials ......
The operator's official website at www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk - for official
information, timetables and on-line booking.
There is also an official Facebook page and Twitter feed - follow the link from the website
Cruises are offered subject to Waverley Excursions' Terms & Conditions http://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/conditions-of-carriage/
The official website has a "FAQ" page (http://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/faqs/) and a "Useful Tips" page (http://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/plan-your-trip/useful-tips/) with important information which you are recommended to read prior to purchasing tickets or attending a cruise.More detailed information about Waverley Steam Navigation Company and its operations : Quarterly reports by Waverley management are published in Paddle Wheels, the journal of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society which is sent free to members. The magazine and includes a review of Waverley's cruising season written from the perspective of a prominent supporter. Members of the Friends of Waverley scheme receive a periodical e-mail magazine The Funnel, published by the ship's management. As a charity, the Annual Report & Accounts of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company are in the public domain and available to download from the Companies House website (click here).
The Ship Managers' View :
Waverley Excursions' Chief Executive Kathleen O'Neill was interviewed
during the 2014 season for the website of the Clyde River Steamer Club,
a "Clyde Steamer" enthusiasts' group and the resulting article gives a fascinating insight
into the issues involved in managing Waverley.
Click here : http://www.crsc.org.uk/sf-articles/shiptalk6.aspx
Passenger Capacity : Although Waverley may appear crowded at times, passenger numbers never exceed her stated capacity as described on her official passenger certificate (displayed on the main deck - see above under "Specifications" for details). Passsenger and crew numbers are established with regard to safe evacuation procedures. The purser has, at all times, full information on the number of passengers aboard and embarking, including those without tickets and intending to pay aboard as numbers are recorded at the gangway by click-counter. If the capacity has been met, intending passengers without a booking will not be allowed aboard.Obtaining timetables : Basic timetables and the more comprehensive "Sailing Brochures" for all regional sailings can be downloaded from the Waverley Excursions website once available and are also sent to PSPS members and people on the operator's mailing list. You can register for news and timetables on the Waverley Excursions website. Brochures are distributed to local tourist offices in sailing areas as far as is practicable within the organisation's resources and the work of volunteers.
Cruise Length : Waverley offers full-day cruises, but there are normally intermediate calling points where you can start and end your cruise to make for a shorter day. You can stay aboard for the day or get off at a calling point en-route and catch the ship home on her return
Waverley is based at Glasgow, she normally only sails from
there on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the main summer season.
On Sundays a range
of cruises are offered to further-flung parts of the Firth making
this a very long day. Most cruises can be joined at mainland
piers closer to the Firth (Greenock, Helensburgh and Largs depending on
the route for the day concerned), and in midweek, cruises commence at
Ayr, Largs and Greenock.
Largs pier, Greenock Custom House Quay and Helensburgh pier are only a short walk from Scotrail stations. Ayr harbour is a slightly longer walk from Ayr station.
When Waverley is away from the Clyde a variety of cruises are offered in the short time she has in each area in an attempt to offer as much variety as possible from the available piers. Again these tend to be long days, but shorter if boarding at intermediate piers.
Buying Tickets : You can normally buy tickets on board once you have set sail. You can also book in advance on-line on the website or by phone and this is advisable to avoid disappointment especially on weekends when good weather is expected and on special cruises. Waverley's short season on the South Coast and Thames make her very popular on the days she is in the area. There may be occasions when those not pre-booked have to be turned away as capacity is limited by the terms of her operating certificate.
The ship's financial control systems require hard-copy tickets. For pre-booked customers, these are mailed from the Glasgow office (if there is time ..... see WEL website for details) or made available for collection at the purser's office on board otherwise.
Checking and collection of tickets : Tickets are collected when you leave the steamer because in most instances intending passengers (up to the legal capacity limit) are free to board without tickets and obtain them from the Purser's Office aboard the ship. Tickets cannot be retained by the customer as although date stamped, there are occasions where unused tickets can be presented for subsequent cruises (see Refunds & Credits, below) and it is impossible to check the dates on tickets at the gangways. Unfortunately this means that tickets cannot be retained as souvenirs of the trip.
Prices : Prices are shown in the Sailing brochures and on the on-line booking system. These are not normally discounted although the operators have, on very rare occasions, used "groupon" type schemes to sell a limited number of tickets to encourage potential new customers.Vouchers for cruises are available for purchase in advance of the season (typically by March 31st) by members of the Friends of Waverley scheme (see Waverley Excursions website for details) or PSPS and give potentially significant discounts, but are not refundable and expire at the end of the sailing season concerned.
Season Tickets : Regional season tickets are available for purchase by customers who are or become members of the Friends of Waverley scheme or PSPS.
Sea conditions and service cancellations / itinerary changes : Sailings are subject to suitable wind and sea conditions and suitable forecasts for the period of the cruise. Due to the effects of the combination of weather and tides, conditions can change rapidly and the ship's captain may have to make judgements as to whether to cancel, curtail or otherwise alter advertised cruises, often once the cruise has commenced. Certain piers might become inaccessible should conditions conspire to prevent a safe docking. The guidelines with which the captain must comply relate to safety and comfort aboard and on docking/passenger transfer as well as the potential safety of the ship itself. In cases where the planned itinerary cannot be followed, the captain usually tries to offer an alternative cruise in more protected waters if at all possible . "Bad weather" in itself is not normally a reason for cruises to be cancelled.
The Firth of Clyde is a well protected area and the occurence of enforced cancellations is normally very low, but other more exposed areas (such as North Wales and the Bristol Channel) can pose greater problems, especially as they are visited outside the main summer season. Away from the Clyde, piers are more tidal and many can only be visited within certain time windows, so any delay in the cruise could in extreme cases lead to the ship not reaching the next pier in suitable tidal conditions. Some piers have specific issues such as the silting up of the pier area at Bournemouth which is leading to unforeseen cancellations, but only when there is a significant swell and a risk of the ship "hitting bottom".
Phone and on line booking secures your ticket and lets the operators know your contact details so they can send you alerts if there is any problem with the sailing. However, the decision to call off a cruise or a pier call can be made at extremely short notice and in such cases it is impossible for the small office staff to contact everybody in this way. Sailing status updates are normally posted on the rolling newsbar on the Waverley Excursions website homepage, but recent experience has shown that this is not done on their Facebook or Twitter pages.
If Waverley is unable to call at any pier at short notice for any reason, they do try to arrange coaches to allow waiting passengers to board at another pier, but this is often not possible. Waverley has no "shore" representation at the piers she visits, so the passing-on of information about programme disruptions can sometimes be an issue. Volunteer pier hosts are increasingly available for assistance, but their presence is not guaranteed.
Mechanical Problems : There might be, on occasion, the need to cancel or amend an advertised cruise due to mechanical issues. However, Waverley has been very reliable in recent years through constant good maintenance of her engines. As it is a one-ship operation, no substitute vessel is available
Refunds and credits : If you contact the Waverley HQ in advance of a booked cruise you cannot go on, they will transfer the tickets to another cruise for you or issue credit against a future cruise, but not issue a refund - see the FAQ page on the website for specific details
If a cruise does go ahead and you are offered a coach connection to meet the vessel or return from the vessel at a place which is not the advertised departure point, you will not get a refund or credit, whether you take up the offer of the connecting service or not.
Refunds (or use of tickets on another cruise) are offered if a cruise is cancelled outright. In the case of refunds, unused tickets for the cancelled cruise must be returned to the Glasgow office for cancellation (please see the WEL website for exact details of the cancellation/refund policy). It is the only way to ensure tickets are cancelled whilst the current manual ticketing system is in force because of the policy that tickets for cancelled cruises can be transferred to later sailings.
Covered Accommodation & seating :
Licenced to carry up to 860 people in the most protected of waters and
740 in outer estuarine areas, there is seating for all. However, Waverley only has around 300 indoor
seats spread around the bar, the lower bar and the fore and aft
deckhouses. There are around 100 more in the
restaurant which should not normally be used unless eating from the
pretty crowded when the rain falls outside and can become standing room
only. Conversely it can become standing room only on the decks when the
sun shines. On the majority of her cruises, Waverley has more than
enough accommodation, but on weekends especially much of her
capacity, indoor and
out, is filled and Waverley can become uncomfortably full. It must
be remembered that without a fair number of "full" days throughout the season, Waverley
would not be able to survive financially.
Tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks such as crisps, soup and sandwiches are also available (including from the tearoom in the after deckhouse on the promenade deck, behind the funnels). A range of confectionery is available at the Souvenir Shop.
Passengers may take packed lunches and soft drinks (but no alcohol) aboard, but these are not permitted to be consumed within the restaurant area.
The main "Jeanie Deans Lounge" bar is also quite expensive, at least compared with standard public houses, but generally in line with many "attractions". A small "snug" bar is often open in the lower deck underneath part of the restaurant area
Saturday Sailings : It should be pointed out that the Glasgow to Rothesay run on summer Saturdays often attracts a number of patrons determined to have a "good day out" on board the ship and at the Bute resort - remnants of a local tradition dating back almost to the beginning of the steamboat era when a trip on a steamer meant that the then highly restrictive licensing laws could be evaded. Such cruises can be very crowded and very noisy in the bar area in particular and have sometimes been dubbed a "booze cruise" by critics. Do not be surprised if local police officers are in attendance at Rothesay pier. There is often a live band playing in the bar for part of the day. There have been reports of "noisy" crowds at times on Saturdays elsewhere around the UK
Those wishing for a quieter experience should choose a midweek sailing or Sunday sailing if at all possible. On midweeks the ship is likely to be much less full. However, when she comes to areas like the Thames she has been busy in midweeks due to her only offering a short programme in the area.
Sailings away from the Clyde : Waverley only spends a short time sailing in other areas. Due to her continued popularity, her cruises in these areas can be particularly busy, especially at weekends. As earlier noted, sailing in more exposed areas than the Clyde can lead to the increased chances of disruption to the planned programme.
Sailings from Liverpool : It is a condition for use of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's berth at Liverpool that passenger registration details are taken before boarding the vessel. This can be very time consuming for a well-filled vessel and may take up to two hours. Passengers are therefore requested to present themselves in good time at Liverpool.
On-board payments : You can pay for your tickets on board using cards, but the restaurant, bar and shop only accept cash. I am not sure why this is but assume it is to limit the costs to the charity as bank charges can quickly eat into revenues. There are also occasions, particularly in Scotland, when Waverley is out of communication range for payment terminals to obtain authorisation for card payments.Engines : The massive steam engines are open to public view from the main deck gallery and are certain to impress anyone whether technically-minded or not.
Commentaries : There are often highly informative commentaries on Waverley cruises with interesting and often little-known facts regarding the surrounding scenery and its history. Due to the varying itineraries, these are not pre-recorded, but rely on the availability of a local expert, usually a volunteer from the local branch of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. Not all cruises benefit from such availability
The Webmaster's view about what sets Waverley apart from most other excursion ships :
- a traditional ship with lots of character and of course the magnificent engines to go and have a look at
- a large ship with plenty of places for passengers to go and explore rather than remain rooted on one seat
- a fast ship which allows cruises which give views of much more scenery than smaller trip boats
- a quiet ship lacking the constant whine and vibration of a motor ship : ideal to make a pleasure cruise pleasureable
A state-subsidised service : In the post war era, Waverley's state-owned operators (the British Transport Commission and then the Caledonian Steam Packet Company) who assumed control of the ships after railway nationalisation in 1948, continued to provide an extensive network of services on the Clyde. Waverley, as part of a now-consolidated fleet, took on a wide range of services as required. Most services were not profitable, but the shipping fleets had always been cross-subsidised by their railway company parents, for whom their services were an essential extension, and now they continued with the help of government subsidy. It should be remembered that the Clyde paddle steamers were ferries first and foremost, with day excursions a popular add-on for ships outside the main morning and evening peak. There remained a degree of commuting from the Clyde resorts during the summer months and much business comprised families going to and coming from the resorts in connection with their summer vacation. Older ships were withdrawn as newer and smaller motor vessels came in to try and limit spiralling costs, but fleet numbers fell as the years progressed with the Clyde coast gradually losing its allure as the summer vacation destination of choice. By the early 1970s, with the the conversion of most Clyde services to car-ferry operation and with the role of a passenger-only ship in sharp decline, the last operational paddle steamer on the Clyde also seemed destined for the ship-breakers.
Above : Even in the late 1960s there were plenty of vessels at Craigendoran as well as the main base at Gourock. Waverley is at the inner face of the western pier arm as another vessel (probably paddle steamer Caledonia) pulls in to the former LNER railhead. On the right is one of the four "Maids" dating from 1953 : motor vessels and much smaller than the paddlers, but an early indication that the days of the large old steamers were numbered.....However, even the passenger-only Maids had little time left by this time. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Waverley in her final year with Queen Mary II behind ......one too many
large passenger-only ships, and it was Waverley which had to go.
Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Cheating the breakers' yard : The paddler Caledonia (withdrawn in 1969) was rescued from the breakers and found a new life as a restaurant ship in London, but the turbine steamer Duchess of Hamilton (disposed of in 1971) had been scrapped as a Glasgow restaurant plan fell through. There seemed little chance for Waverley - but as the last paddler of the line, few wanted to see her lost entirely. Only at the end of the 1973 season was it announced that she had been withdrawn. No fanfare and no chance for those concerned to protest. Fait accompli, it seemed. Remarkably, in 1974, she was taken over by an enthusiasts' group in a deal which was sealed by the purchase of the ship for a £ 1 note donated by her owners, by that time known as Caledonian-MacBrayne, for the purpose. "Cal-Mac" for their part had avoided the likely public relations backlash from scrapping the last of the long line of the Clyde's much-loved paddlers. Enthusiasts were handed a job which seemed herculean. A return to service appeared unrealistic, but just in case, the sales covenant restricted Waverley's routes to avoid competition with Cal-Mac's surviving excursion steamer Queen Mary. The unexpected was attempted and whilst Queen Mary struggled on only until 1977, Waverley sailed on.
Below : Expanding horizons : Waverley off Girvan with Ailsa Craig in the background : much further downstream of her Craigendoran base than she would normally be found in her days with the Caledonian. Re-boilerings, considerable weight reduction and continuous close maintenance has led to the ship becoming more economical than before - and gaining an exemplary reputation for reliability. Photo courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Enthusiast-owned and supported and now a charity in the heritage sector : One of the charitable objects of the PSPS is to bring the opportunity to sail on a paddle steamer to as many people as possible and it also makes financial sense for the ship to visit different regional markets where good business might be expected. The excellent passenger numbers achieved outside the Clyde from 1977 onwards were definitely the difference between success and financial failure. Waverley had to stand or fall on her own account alone.
Operating a large historical steamship such as Waverley is an extremely expensive undertaking. Fares, whilst expensive especially for short journeys, are not out of line with most other equivalent attractions in the heritage sector. The ship's crew (who live aboard the vessel throughout the sailing season) and staff at the operating company, Waverley Excursions, are paid employees but much other work (such as winter maintenance) is done by volunteers.
The owners have set an exemplary standard in maintaining the elderly vessel. When she was taken over in 1974 she was in a poor state with poor reliability and severe boiler problems. Nowadays what became a rather down at heel vessel now presents herself in an exemplary way and over the years many changes have been made to her configuration to improve her performance and her passenger and crew spaces. In 2000 and 2003, Waverley was substantially rebuilt on her original hull frames in a multi-million pound untertaking financed by the Heritage Lottery fund (who have a mortgage over the ship as security). Therefore, much of the ship's fabric can be considered as modern.
: An illustration of the scale of her rebuild : Waverley is stripped to
the hull frames. This part of the ship is where the engines and boiler
Photo by kind courtesy of Stuart Cameron
Whilst the company tries to cover as much of its enormous cost base as possible through fares, without dedicated volunteers and donations from her many supporters the ship would not survive. On a number of occasions, major appeals for funds have had to be made, the latest being in 2011/12 following a run of poor weather and particularly expensive repair bills. A major donation by Euromillions winners Chris and Colin Weir of Largs can be said to have saved Waverley. The costs and problems involved in running a ship such as Waverley, especially with the modern regulatory environment mean that the ship will not escape a hand-to-mouth existence. Although Waverley's original client base, those who remembered paddle steamers in their heyday, is now dwindling rapidly in numbers, interest in "heritage" matters is greater than ever and the demand for "boat trips" for their own sake is probably just as high now as it ever was. Waverley provides a popular sailing opportunity different to any other in the UK and has developed her own fan base all around the country.
Above : An unexpected visitor : Waverley passes through Tower Bridge during a cruise from London in 1988. Even if some optimists had hoped that Waverley would sail on after 1973, nobody could surely have imagined that a visit to London for a short end-of-season cruise programme would become a regular annual occurence. Waverley continues to visit London as well as the south coast of England and the Bristol Channel to this day.
WAVERLEY'S OPENING SEASON - WITH THE L&NER RAILWAY
first season - 1947 and also her last under LNER ownership.
Waverley now sails in almost exactly the same livery with these colours
chosen by Waverley Steam Navigation Company to reflect her history and
continue memories of a much-loved fleet.
Photo by Alan Brown, shown by kind courtesy of Gillon Ferguson.
Waverley heads down Firth from Gourock in April 1969, This was the last season when the Clyde had more than one paddle steamer. Caledonia was paid off as the decade drew to a close.
Click here for more of Waverley in her CSP days
Following the merging of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company and David MacBrayne, Waverley sailed for one season (1973) in new colours. It was a problematic season and the costly and unreliable paddler was paid off by the state-controlled company after only one summer. The company retained two older passenger turbine steamers - Queen Mary for work on the Clyde and King George V for excursions out of Oban - for the time being. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.
Click here for more of Waverley apparently ending her career in Cal-Mac colours
Although most people thought her life owned by preservationists acting in the interests of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society would be short, that was far from the truth and she embarked on the most remarkable stage of her career, surpassing everything she had done before.
Gordon Stewart has photographed Waverley on a number of occasions over the years for the paddlesteamers.info photo archive :
1975 : At Glasgow
1987 : At Newport
1988 : At Penarth, Bristol and Portishead
1988 : At London
1989 : At Largs, Brodick and Dunoon
1992 : At Penarth, Lynmouth (for ferry to the shore) and Ilfracombe
1993 : At Helensburgh, Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Tighnabruaich
1994 : At Penarth and Ilfracombe
1996 : At Minehead and Penarth
1997 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
1998 : At Minehead
1998 : At Helensburgh, Largs and Tighnabruaich
1999 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
2000 : At Greenock
2001 : At Penarth and Clevedon and cruising Steep & Flat Holm, plus extensive on-board photography
2002 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
2003 : At Lochranza
2004 : At Penarth and Ilfracombe
2004 : At Tarbert and Largs
2005 : At Ayr and Blairmore
2009 : At Penarth and aboard for a cruise around the Holm Islands
Photos and series below are by Gordon Stewart unless otherwise acknowledged
As well as the Firth of Clyde, Waverley affords the opportunity to see various parts of the UK coastline which were once familiar to paddle steamer customers. Here Waverley approaches Swanage pier with the limestone cliffs of this part of the south coast providing a magnificent backdrop. This photo dates from 1996 and was taken by Phil Barnes.
Click here for more of Waverley at Swanage
South Coast : 1990 to 1993 by Phil Barnes
Weymouth : 4th September 1994 by Phil Barnes
London : 6th October 1994 by Phil Barnes
Ayr : 11th August 1999 by Phil Barnes
WAVERLEY IN 2011
Above : Waverley enters Portmouth harbour in 2011 in a photo kindly supplied
by Kenny Whyte
Waverley's financial problems have left many wondering whether, if the paddler survives, she will still visit places such as the south coast of the UK. It is, however, a lucrative market and there is a view that she would be best served spending more time here. Click here for more from 2011
Cruise from Penarth to Minehead, photos at Minehead and Penarth 13 06 11
Cruise from Largs to Rothesay and Greenock on 11 07 11
Photo report of the opening Bristol Channel cruise from Clevedon
and Penarth to Minehead on June 5th
Photo report of her sailing from Helensburgh to Tighnabruaich on July 20th
Photo report of her sailing from Largs to Campbeltown on July 21st
A selection of photos from her Clyde summer season by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Waverley's May 2016 drydocking at Dales Marine's Garvel Drydock, Greenock, courtesy of Kenny Whyte
PUBLISHED SAILING BROCHURE ARCHIVE
Please note that these were published in advance of the said sailing season and actual cruises undertaken might have been different due to a range of circumstances
Firth of Clyde - 2013
South Coast and Thames Estuary - 2013
Bristol Channel - 2013
Firth of Clyde and Western Isles - 2014 (issue dated 9th April 2014)
Liverpool and area - 2014
Bristol Channel - 2014
South Coast and Thames Estuary - 2014
Liverpool & N Wales 2015
Bristol Channel 2015
South Coast 2015
Liverpool & N Wales 2016
Bristol Channel 2016
South Coast 2016
WAVERLEY : WHAT'S IN A NAME ....... and not to be confused with other paddle steamers of the same name
Waverley derives her name from the novel written by Sir Walter Scott and published in 1814. A number of subsequent novels, originally written anonymously, became known as the Waverley novels as they were originally accredited to the writer of "Waverley". Book titles and characters from these books were adopted as names for ships built for the North British Railway Company's Clyde services (operated by the North British Steam Packet Company), beginning in 1866 with "Meg Merrilies" and "Dandie Dinmont", both characters in the second Waverley novel, Guy Mannering (which also became a ship's name in the NB fleet).Waverley itself is an English name and is now an administrative division of the county of Surrey and an ancient parish in which a monastery was founded in 1128, the ruins of which remain. Stone from the dissolved abbey was used in the construction of Waverley House, a stately home close to the ruins, which was visited on several occasions by Sir Walter Scott. The hero of Scott's novel, from the south of England, was called Waverley, perhaps inspired by the Surrey house although there appears to be no link between the fictional Waverley and the family of Scott's hosts. The novel is, however, widely regarded as the first of the historical novel genre, basing its fictional romantic story amongst the tumultuous events of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.
It was not until 1899 that Waverley was used by the North British, by which time the name had already been used for another Clyde steamer. This was in 1885 and for Captain Bob Campbell's Kilmun ferry trade. Found too large for the run she was chartered to a Bristol-based consortium in 1887 and credited with showing that a steamboat service could be operated successfully in that area. When the Campbell business (now run by the retired Bob's two sons) was moved to Bristol in 1889, Waverley became the first ship in what was to become the famous P&A Campbell "White Funnel" fleet. The name was to be given to a later Campbell ship, the former PS Barry, taken over from the Barry Railway Company in 1922. The original Waverley had survived World War I but found to be in no state to be re-commissioned and had been scrapped in 1921. Neither of the two Waverleys survived World War II. The Scottish ship was lost at the beaches of Dunkirk and Campbell's ship was bombed and sunk off Sunderland a little over one year later.
The current Waverley took the name of the Dunkirk victim although strictly speaking, she was a relacement for "Marmion" which was also lost during the war (the Waverley of 1899 having already been withdrawn from the fleet, with no plans in place for her to be replaced). The name disappeared from the Bristol Channel and South Coast ................ until it was seen once again in what have now become regular visits by the Clyde's Waverley.
A remarkable survivor : Waverley passes the Gantocks rocks off Dunoon on 28th June 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte. Almost 34 years earlier Waverley grounded on these rocks in an incident which brought an end to her third season in "preservation" and almost brought an end to the whole project. Even though she returned the following season despite the scepticism of many, very few would have been confident that she would still be passing by regularly in 2011 - as she still does to this day.
External Internet Links
Waverley is not the only surviving paddler which sailed for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company
PS Maid of the Loch (1953-1981) sailed for the company on Loch Lomond, a beautiful and famous lake close to the Firth of Clyde and drained into the Clyde estuary at Dumbarton by the River Leven
until January 2009 a floating restaurant in London, was the
flagship of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company until her withdrawal in
1977. In September 2015 she was obtained by a Scottish charity
whose objects are to preserve this vessel, now unique in the world and
with a fascinating back-story, in her original home port of Glasgow.
The charity now needs as much support as possible to ensure she is
preserved and cared for - for the benefit of the nation and the Clyde's
maritime heritage, but have achieved their first goal. The Queen was
towed back from Tilbury in Essex to Greenock, arriving on May 15th 2016.
Please click here for more details
Bibliography : There are many books about Waverley - here is a range of the most important
Waverley - A Legend Reborn
Compiled by Stuart cameron and Joe McKendrick
Published in 2000 by Waverley Excursions Ltd
ISBN 0 9505177 8 X
Full colour photographs with extensive captions charting the first phase of the "Heritage Rebuild"
Acknowledgements : All text by Gordon Stewart. All photos by Gordon Stewart unless otherwise acknowledged. Please do not use photos without permissionContact : firstname.lastname@example.org
The internet's leading source of paddle steamer information and photographs
Above : A sight that most people thought would never happen. Paddle steamer Waverley opens her short pre-summer season on May 27th, 2016 and steams close by James Watt Dock before calling at Custom House Quay, Greenock. Kenny Whyte was able to capture the two last Clyde steamers almost reunited once again following the recent return under tow of TS Queen Mary to the Clyde. Waverley's former fleet-mate, withdrawn in 1977 and laid-up in Greenock until 1981, will be used as a static attraction in Glasgow after being refurbished.