: The Internet's leading database of Paddle Steamers past and present

Quick Links :   In Operation   Static Preservation   Under Restoration   In Dereliction   History   Engines  Tugs   Sternwheelers   The Clyde   Photo Archive   Home
PS Waverley      All you need to know about the "World's Last Sea-Going Paddle Steamer" including the specifications and history of this remarkable survivor

2015 season : Waverley Excursions have published their planned timetables and they are available to view or download from the Waverley Excursions website.

If you don't know what to expect when taking a sail on Waverley, please look at the "Waverley Booking and Sailing Information" section below and this will help you get the best out of any trip. 
Ilfracombe 07 06 09 K Whyte.jpg
Above: Waverley at Ilfracombe, Devon on 7th June 2009. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte

Launched 2/10/1946 at builders A&J Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow, UK (now the site of the Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport)
Dimensions : 239 ft 11 in (73.13 m)  long - 57 ft 3 in (17.45 m) maximum breadth - currently around 6 ft 3 in draught (1.91 m)
Engines :  Three crank triple expansion : 24, 39 and 62 inches x 66 inches - by Rankin & Blackmore, Greenock
Fuel : Originally coal-burning, she was converted in 1957 to consume fuel oil. .
Boilers : 1947 - Double-ended Scotch type
(now preserved at the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine). 1981 - Babcock Steambloc. 2000 - 2x Cochran Thermax
Speed : On trial she managed 18.37 knots and today can still exceed 16 if required. Normal service speeds generally do not exceed 14 knots
Fuel consumption is around 0.7 tonnes (755 litres) per hour of medium fuel oil at an average 14 knots
693 Gross Registered Tonnes
Passenger capacity (2014) : maximum 860, 800 or 740 (depending on which waters she is sailing in)
Note : In 1947 her passenger certificate allowed 1350 passengers and until 2013 was 925 in her most protected sailing areas

Overview : 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, to provide cruises for local enthusiasts and interested members of the public in these areas. Since 1974 she has been owned by a registered charity (Waverley Steam Navigation Company) on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS, itself a charity, click here for more details) and operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd, a subsidiary of WSN. Home base 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 some of her cruises now see her venture out of protected estuarine waters and visits to other sailing areas often involve journeys across open seas. However, she was not originally intended to be so and it was not until 1977 that she first left the relatively calm waters of her native Firth of Clyde in search of out-of-season business. A number of historical paddle steamers survive on lakes and rivers particularly in Europe, but also in the case of smaller vessels, Australia. Waverley represents the very final years of paddle steamer production, built as such for certain reasons but already obsolete at the time : one of the very last before a more recent interest in the construction of steamers for purely novelty and nostalgic reasons.

She 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.

Origins : She was built in 1946/7 for the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and primarily intended for the route from their railhead at Craigendoran to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long, to replace the vessel Marmion which had been sunk on war duty. Historically the route had provided a lifeline for what was once an isolated community, but with roads now having been built, it was more important as one leg of the highly-popular "Three Lochs Tour" which involved a return cruise on Loch Lomond, with associated bus and rail connections. Waverley was in reality too large for her intended role - but in the LNER's post-war haste to make good wartime losses (which also included an earlier Waverley which had been laid up prior to the war before being reactivated and meeting her end at the Dunkirk evacuations) and in a general environment of optimism, this was not immediately apparent. Water levels at Craigendoran made using a paddle steamer the only practicable option and well-tried technology was the quick, cheap and easy solution, so plans used for steamers in the 1930s building boom were dusted down  ........ 

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. 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. By the early 1970s, with the the conversion of most Clyde services to car-ferry operation and passenger numbers for traditional excursions declining, the last operational paddle steamer on the Clyde also seemed destined for the ship-breakers. 

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. 

An era nearing an end ? : Waverley disgorges a decent passenger load at Arrochar in 1968, but few people will be staying at the small isolated community at the head of Loch Long. Almost all will make their way to Tarbet to catch the paddle steamer Maid of the Loch for a return trip down Loch Lomond. Arrochar pier fell into disuse once the steamer service was withdrawn and now only a few timbers stand forlornly out of the mud as time takes its toll.

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. Operating a historical steamship such as Waverley in a section of the market abandoned by commercial operators many years ago 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.

Whilst the company tries to cover as much of its enormous cost base as possible through fares, without dedicated volunteers and without state support through the statutory Gift Aid scheme 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 Waverley provides a popular sailing opportunity different to any other in the UK. She has developed her own fan base all around the country.
See below for key dates in the ship's history

Waverley Gantocks 280611 KW.jpg

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.


Entered service in 1947 primarily for the London & North Eastern Railway's Craigendoran (railhead) service to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long
Originally a lifeline service for a remote community, the route had become associated with the Three Lochs Tour - a popular tourist excursion including Loch Lomond
After railway nationalisation in 1948, transferred to British Transport Commission ownership
Transferred in 1951 to the
Caledonian Steam Packet Co, former pre-nationalisation rivals of the LNER and the name adopted for the consolidated fleet.
Reboilered in time for the 1957 season with oil replacing coal as fuel.
Radar fitted in 1960.
Cruised to all parts of the Clyde Estuary until withdrawn after the 1973 season by
Sold in 1974 to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) forefronted by Douglas McGowan and Terry Sylvester for a token 1 fee
Re-entered service in 1975, owned by Waverley Steam Navigation Co on behalf of PSPS
On 28/4/77, left the Clyde for the first time to cruise from Liverpool and Llandudno as it was believed that she needed to sail beyond the Clyde to survive
Faced an uncertain future after running aground on the Gantocks off Dunoon on 15/7/77 and losing six weeks worth of vital revenue
Sailings extended to the south of the UK in 1978, setting the pattern for future operation
Cruised to Cap Griz Nez off the French coast on 12/5/80 for 40th anniversary of Dunkirk evacuation - where the LNER lost her predecessor "Waverley" (of 1899) 
A new boiler in 1981 improved operational and economic performance
The 1981 cruise programme involved circumnavigating Great Britain for the first time
Sailed to Dunkirk in 1990 for the 50th anniversary remembrance
In 1998 was awarded Heritage Lottery Fund partnership funding for a comprehensive rebuilding which involved much new materials and new (twin) boilers
Changes to safety legislation delayed the rebuild and Waverley sailed as normal in 1999
Rebuild contract awarded to George Prior Engineering of Great Yarmouth. Work commenced in earnest in January 2000.
Cost escalation meant that the whole ship could not be attended to at this stage.
Waverley reappeared for the late summer season in 2000 greatly improved but restored wherever possible to 1947 appearance as required by the funding agency.
Work included much new hull plating (included riveted plates above the waterline for historical accuracy) and some renewal of frame elements, plus new sponsons.
Wood-grain effect replaced the white paint on the deckhouses
and new funnels fitted (correcting the unequal rake present since the 1960s).
Returned to George Prior Engineering in the winter of 2002-03 for the completion of the rebuilding programme (mainly the forward part of the ship).
Expensive repairs and lost sailing time in 2011 led to a national appeal to "Save the Waverley" and a rescuing donation from Euromillions lottery winners, the Weirs


Step aboard Waverley.JPG

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.....

Click here

What's it like to be on a Waverley cruise ?

Join three cruises from the 2013 season

Clevedon and Penarth to Minehead on June 5th

Helensburgh to Tighnabruaich on July 20th

Largs to Campbeltown on July 21st


Go to  for the Waverley Excursions Ltd website for official information.
As well as a newsbar on the official website, there is also an official Facebook page and Twitter feed

Whilst the website has a "FAQ" page with important information and the company takes bookings in accordance with its terms and conditions, the following hints might be useful for intending travellers based on the webmaster's knowledge and experience of Waverley   

Timetables : Provisional timetables for all regional sailings are made available to download from the Waverley Excursions website once available and are also sent to PSPS members and people on the operator's mailing list. 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. You can get on at the start of a cruise or at intermediate calling points and stay aboard for the day or get off at a calling point en-route and catch the ship home on her return.

To see the 2013 and 2014 sailing brochures which gave details of the initially planned sailings and prices for that year, please scroll down this page and click on the links.

Sea conditions and service cancellations : Sailings are subject to suitable sea conditions. The ship's operators are under strict guidelines from the maritime safety authorities regarding sailing in certain conditions which could lead to cancellation, curtailment or alteration of advertised cruises. "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 can pose greater problems, especially as they are visited outside the main summer season. If Waverley is unable to call at any pier at short notoice for any reason, they do try to arrange coaches to allow waiting passengers to board at another pier, but this is not always possible. Waverley has no "shore" operation at the piers she visits, so the passing-on of information about programme disruptions can sometimes be an issue, away from the Clyde in particular.  

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 on 0845 130 4647 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.
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 if they have sufficient advance notice of potential issues (such as impossible weather conditions or mechanical breakdown). 

Passenger Capacity Limitation :  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). 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, unfortunately passengers without a booking cannot be allowed aboard. Tickets are collected on disembarkation (to ensure that all due fares have been paid and to "cancel" the tickets). Gift Aid declarations, where applicable, are collected at the same time.

Important Notes on Fares : Fares are advertised in the regional sailing brochures and shown on Waverley Excursions' website's on-line booking system. These include a 10% "voluntary donation" on the assumption that you will be happy to "Gift Aid" your payment (in the case of qualifying UK taxpayers) or include the donation in the case of others.

As a charity, Waverley's owners can benefit from extra government assistance when passengers (who are or are in a "family group" with qualifying UK taxpayers) make a donation to the charity in lieu of a fare which is at least 10% more than the applicable fare. Waverley can then  claim a further 25% of the value from the government under the statutory Gift Aid scheme, which is a major way in which the state helps to fund charities. Without a substantial proportion of Waverley's passengers signing up for Gift Aid when purchasing tickets it is unlikely that the ship would earn enough revenue to continue in service, so it is to be encouraged 

If you don't want to pay the voluntary donation you don't have to. You are perfectly entitled to travel at 10% below the advertised fare. Unfortunately you cannot get the lower fare if you book on line. You must call the Waverley Excursions office (if you want to buy tickets in advance) or buy at the purser's office on board when you make your sailing. It is essential that, prior to making your payment, you say that you do not want to make the donation and require the 10% reduction. 

If you are happy to donate and are a qualifying UK taxpayer, all you need to do is click the Gift Aid box on the on-line booking system, or if you book by phone, confirm you are a "Gift Aider". If you buy your tickets aboard the ship the purser will ask if you are a qualifying taxpayer and ask you to fill out a short form which then allows the company to get the extra money from HM Revenue & Customs. If you are not a qualifying tax payer, you can still pay the 10% voluntary donation if you wish, but the company gets no further benefit. 

The Gift Aid rules (as at 2014)  indicate that if the purchaser is a qualifying taxpayer, Gift Aid is available on all the tickets bought for, for example, a family group where some members might not be taxpayers. Higher rate taxpayers can enter Gift Aided donations on their tax returns and receive a tax reduction equivalent to the difference between the higher and basic rates of taxation. Please see the HMRC website to confirm the latest applicable arrangements  

Other notes on fares : Concessionary fares are available for seniors (on most cruises, but not normally on Clyde Saturdays, for example). Children 0-4 yrs travel free, and 5-17 year olds are half price if accompanied by an adult. Single fares are available on-board at 70% of the return fare. Special fares apply to bicycles. Dogs (except Guide Dogs) are not allowed aboard.

Season Tickets : Regional season tickets are available for purchase by customers who are or become members of the Friends of Waverley scheme and to members of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. See the Waverley website for details

Cruise Length : Although Waverley is based at Glasgow, she normally only sails from there on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the main summer season, replicating the "All the Way" cruises of old. On Sundays a range of cruises are offered to further-flung parts of the Firth never normally served from Glasgow in the past. This makes the Sunday sail a very long day. Most cruises can be joined at mainland piers closer to the Firth, and in midweek, cruises commence at Ayr, Largs and Greenock, making for a shorter day.
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 "one-off" 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.

Food & Drink : A Waverley cruise is not meant to be a dining experience, but there is adequate provision of a range of food. Passengers are welcome to take food and soft drinks (but no alcohol) aboard. There is a restaurant aboard serving hot breakfasts, lunches and teas at the appropriate time of day. It is simple, hearty fare from the ship's galley - canteen style, with a limited choice of dishes, prepared by crew members as is the practice in the merchant navy. For 2014 the company is experimenting with optional pre-booking for main meals with set "sittings" using reserved tables in the restaurant. In a move partially recreating how meals were normally served in Waverley's very early days, pre-booked meals are served by hostesses at no extra cost to the regular prices. Pre-booking also means that when the ship is busy, you can be sure of your place at one of the tables and of food on the rare occasion that supplies run out if there is exceptional demand. The restaurant can only accommodate 100 guests - at a squeeze. Prices are quite expensive but it is one way that the ship can generate some additional needed funds. See more - including downloadable menus from the Waverley website.    Likewise, the bar is also quite expensive, at least compared with standard public houses, but generally in line with many "attractions". 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.

Covered Accommodation : Licenced to carry up to 860 people in the most protected of waters and 740 in outer estuarine areas, 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 servery. It can become 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 it pays to get to the boarding queue early to grab your favourite place aboard !

It should be understood that at weekends, Waverley needs to sail at or near her capacity if she is going to turn in a reasonable financial performance. If not, the level of donations she obtains might not be enough to allow her to survive

Internal Styling : The design and decor of  internal lounges might seem out of touch with modern styles, but it was a condition of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which allowed her last (and essential) major strip-down and refitting to proceed, that she be restored to a close approximation of her 1947 appearance. Normally sailing on a much shorter route than nowadays, she was never intended as a luxury vessel, but comfortable enough for the standards and passenger expectations of the day.
Click here to have a look around Waverley 

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. Engines such as these would not be built for any modern "commercial" ship and as such, they are the main reason why Waverley can be regarded as a "heritage" ship.

Saturdays on the Clyde : 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. 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. There is frequently a live band playing in the bar for part of the day. 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.

Accessibility : The crew will be happy to assist disabled people to get aboard. A disabled toilet is available on the promenade deck. The main, lower and observation decks are only accessible by steep steps. For more details see the Waverley Excursions website FAQ Page.

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  

What is it like to be on a Waverley cruise ? : Scroll down to the "Go aboard ..... and look around" section and follow the links for illustrative photos and notes from a range of excursions

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 it gives a fascinating insight into the issues involved in managing Waverley. 
Click here :

Where is Waverley just now ?  :
Click here : and enter Waverley where it says "Go To Vessel" or here



Waverley 1947 Alan Brown and GF.jpg

Waverley's first season - 1947. Photo by Alan Brown, shown by kind courtesy of Gillon Ferguson. Waverley now sails in almost exactly the same livery.


Waverley heads down Firth from Gourock in April 1969                                                                                      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. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.                  Click here for more


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.

Waverley Rothesay 1975 KW,jpg.jpg

An unexpected survivor : Waverley leaving Rothesay in the wake of Queen Mary II in 1975, her first season back after leaving the Cal-Mac fleet. Photo by Kenny Whyte

Waverley Tower Bridge 1988.jpg

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.

Bringing Paddle Steamer memories to the rest of the UK : 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 Phil's photos of Waverley at Swanage
Many thanks to Phil Barnes for the following sets of Waverley :  

South Coast : 1990 to 1994

Weymouth : 4th September 1994

London : 6th October 1994

Ayr : 11th August 1999

Gordon Stewart has photographed Waverley on a number of occasions over the years for the 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, 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

WAVERLEY IN THE 1990s by Phil Barnes, featuring in particular the south of England

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 Portsmouth 2011 KW.jpg

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


Waverley leaves Tarbert for a short cruise towards Skipness.  Click here for more of Waverley at Tarbert 
A range of 2012 photos kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte :

Waverley's pre-season preparations at Greenock
Highlights of the early part of her 2012 Scottish season including the Western Isles
PSPS/CRSC charter of Waverley and The Second Snark to Ormidale on July 8th 2012
Waverley meeting Cunard's Queen Elizabeth at Greenock on August 2nd 2012
Waverley passing MV Isle of Arran at Ardrossan and calling at Girvan


The classic view of any Clyde steamer ..... Tied up at Tighnabruaich on the Kyles of Bute at "half-time" on the popular Saturday run from Glasgow

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


See why Waverley began making calls again at this long-abandoned Clyde pier (above, in a photo by Kenny Whyte) and see how she sailed to Liverpool - but was unable to tie up at Llandudno despite a close approach ............ and more. Click here


Firth of Clyde - 2013

South Coast and Thames Estuary - 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

 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). 

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.

Many people remember paddle steamers on the Bristiol Channel. The era ended in 1967 when Campbell's two remaining paddlers, Bristol Queen and Cardiff Queen were withdrawn. Both, but Cardiff Queen in particular, bore a reasonable resemblance to the Clyde's Waverley, being contemporaries and the latter built at the nearby Glasgow shipyard, Fairfield's. Waverley first visited the Bristol Channel in 1979.   

External Internet Links

Waverley Excursions - Official Website - includes timetables and fares, on-line booking, departure point notes and the official presentation of the vessel

Waverley Calendars :
High quality calendars featuring P.S. Waverley produced by Nick Wober
Return to other areas of the database relating to Waverley
PSPS (Paddle Steamer Preservation Society) : owners of Waverley
Operational Paddle Steamer List
: European paddlers still in service and notes on other paddlers worldwide

British Paddle Steamer Index : British paddle steamers of the past and present : Main Menu

Owners of Waverley over the years : their histories and vessels

LNER (London and North Eastern Railway)
BTC (British Transport Commission)
Caledonian Steam Packet Co
PSPS (Paddle Steamer Preservation Society)

Operating Areas in the UK - history of operations, operators and vessels in the areas Waverley now serves

Firth of Clyde : Waverley's home base
River Thames
Bristol Channel

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, abautiful and famous lake close to the Firth of Clyde and drained into the Clyde estuary at Dumbarton by the River Leven

The ship is owned by a charitable trust, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company who maintain her at Balloch pier and whose volunteers have for many years been restoring her. The aim is to return her to operational service and a financial appeal is in place to try and raise the necessary funds is concerned that as a charity, the company will be unable to raise the required amount through donations and wonders whether the loans route would be a more effective route to get the ship back into service. See this website's homepage for more details and follow the vessel link above for more about the ship and the project    

Maid of the Loch at Luss 800 K Whyte.jpg

Waverley is not the only surviving Clyde Steamer

TS Queen Mary, until January 2009 a floating restaurant in London, was the flagship of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company until her withdrawal in 1977. She is an equally important part of Britain's martime heritage - more so in fact as she represents the last of her class wordwide.

Please click  here for more details

Queen mary Tighnabruaich menu.jpg

Please note that MV Balmoral, also operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd until 2012, is no longer in service.  A new charitable organisation, Balmoral Fund Ltd are raising funds and establishing a new management organisation with the intention of returning her to service in 2015 completely independently of the Waverley business. Whether this intention will be realised is yet to be confirmed.
Details at      The internet's leading source of paddle steamer information and photographs



Operational Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamer Reactivation Projects
Laid up Steamers
Statically Preserved Paddle Steamers

Paddle Steamers Under Construction
Lost Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamers of the past
Paddle Steamer Engines
Clyde Steamers
British Paddle Steamer Index
Paddle Tugs

In public service, their operating companies and website links (includes motor paddlers)
Paddle Steamers under restoration for a possible return to service
Paddle Steamers out of service with no current plans for renovation
Paddle Steamers decommissioned and now with new roles as restaurants, museums etc
Projects for new paddle steamers
Vessels scrapped in recent years
By country and area : Paddle Steamers and service operators of the past
General Description and link to view Operational and preserved paddle steamer engines
The ultimate fleet of coastal cruising steamers
Search here for British Paddle Steamers
Preserved paddle Tugs
Steamships or diesel conversions propelled by a stern wheel (Mississippi-style)

Paddle Steamer Photography of Gordon Stewart

The webmaster's extensive paddle steamer photograph portfolio in reduced size

Bibliography  :  There are many books about Waverley - here is a range of the most important

Waverley Steam Navigation Company
Compilers - Alistair Deayton and Iain Quinn
Published 2014 by Amberley Publishing
ISBN - 978-14456-4155-3
The definitive detailed history of Waverley Steam Navigation Company from 1974 until 2000 with sections written by many of the main players involved in the ship's remarkable survival

Waverley - the Golden Jubilee
Various Contributors
Published 1997 by Waverley Excursions Ltd and Alan T Condie Publications
ISBN 1-85638-025-4 (Hardback) or 1-85638-026-2 (Softback)
The definitive up-to-date and copiously illustrated history, by those involved in her operation and preservation

Waverley - the Golden Jubilee (see above) builds on the long-running Waverley-The Story of the World's Last Sea-Going Paddler, complied by Fraser McHaffie, later assisted by Joe McKendrick and Leslie Brown, first issued in 1976 and reissued with updated text and new photographs up to and including a 7th edition in June 1994 (IBSN 0-9505177-7-1).
P.S. Waverley - Last in the World
Richard H. Coton
Published in 1973 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society
Issued by the PSPS shortly before the announcement of Waverley's "official" withdrawal from service

Birth of a Legend
Compiled by Eric Armstrong, Leslie Brown, Joe McKendrick and Clem Robb
Published in 1987 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (Scottish Branch)
ISBN 0-9505177-4-7
Extensive photo coverage of the construction, launch , fitting out and first season of Waverley

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 achnowledged. Please do not use photos without permission

Contact :

Raddampfer Waverley
Vapeurs roues aubes Waverley 


 Waverley booze cruise