Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Good news about the PS Waverley boiler appeal could also be slightly worrying

While there’s undeniably good news regarding the appeal trying to raise £2.3 million to pay for a major refit of boilers in the paddle steamer Waverley, I’m a little concerned about the numbers.

Waverley paddle steamer appeal given £1m from Scottish government

That said, I have to say I’ve never looked closely at funding rates (how quickly such appeals brought in funds over time), so this could be progressing at a perfectly normal rate for such an appeal for such an amount.

Bear in mind the Maid of the Loch has been working at its restoration for many years now, and there was even a fairly recent suggestion that the project, which had come so far, was in danger of folding.

I was a little surprised to see news that the Scottish Government was stepping in so quickly with a pledge of £1 million for the fund, but recalled that it had earlier promised to support the work.

I was just a little concerned to see the numbers, as the £1 million brought the fund to £1.9 million, with £0.4 million to go.

It’s probably safe to say that the project would have taken a long time to complete without that, as the rate of donation would be expected to slow down as time passes – unless a ‘wealthy benefactor’ stepped in.

This isn’t meant to be negative, rather just reflect on how the Maid almost foundered, and note that we also have the TS Queen Mary back on the Clyde, also looking for help.

That’s a lot, all at once

But, we seem to be managing.

And that’s worth mentioning.

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

Better include a pic of the Maid too.

Maid of the Loch - undergoing slipping

Maid of the Loch

22/09/2019 Posted by | Appeal | | 1 Comment

Small update on the Waverley

I happened to pass the Waverley and the Queen Mary last night.

There had been an article in the media the day before, but it just appeared to be a repeat of the appeal story.

Now, I think whoever wrote it forgot to include the current figure for the fund, as reported in this article from tonight.

DONATIONS to save the Paddle Steamer Waverley have now exceeded half-a-million-pounds following the iconic steamship’s withdrawal from service earlier this summer.

The major appeal which was officially launched in June aims to raise the £2.3 million needed to fit new boilers on the Waverley and return her to service in 2020.

Waverley’s general manager Paul Semple said: “Thanks to the fantastic public response to our Save The Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal we have reached a key milestone in our fund-raising campaign.

“To date over 4,000 individuals have donated with some of our core supporters giving a ‘once in a lifetime donation’ knowing that we urgently need funds to secure Waverley’s future.

“In addition, we have received offers of help from several organisations and companies, but we will need further help to get Waverley’s paddles turning again.”

Several fund-raising events have taken place in the various towns and villages which Waverley serves.

Save The Waverley fund-raising appeal passes £500,000

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

08/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

News of the Waverley’s return in 2020 looks good

While I suspect the total funding it not in place, the latest (good) news about the Waverley suggest those looking after the repair and restoration are up to speed, as it takes time for all the goodies needed for the work to be prepared, and for the work to be planned.

Leave that too late, and the whole project can slip far behind the required schedule.

Plans to return the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer to full service have taken a major step forward after its owners placed an order for new boilers.

A “make or break” £2.3m fundraising appeal was launched last month to safeguard the future of the Waverley after the ship was withdrawn from service following the discovery of significant structural defects.

Today, Paul Semple, general manager of Waverley Excursions, confirmed it had placed an order for the ship’s new boilers at Cochrane Limited, an internationally renowned boiler specialist firm in Annan, with a view to securing the Waverley’s future for the next 20 years.

While those behind the appeal stressed the need for further donations, the order is seen as a significant step towards returning the steamship – a longstanding fixture on the waters of the Firth of Clyde – to full service.

Mr Semple said: “This is the first step in returning Waverley back to service, and we’ve only been able to take that first step because of the donations we’ve received so far.

“We’ve spent the last two months, since we announced Waverley’s withdrawal, planning the technical refit. By the nature of it, we have to start ordering the major components now, and that’s why we’ve therefore placed the orders for the new boilers.”

He also clarified that the £2.3m appeal target covered not only the cost of replacing the boilers, but included the need or a new electrical switchboard in the engine room, generators, and an oil and water separator.

The costs of the overhaul in the shipyard would be “significant” in terms of lifting the ship’s funnels off, he emphasised, with other expenses including insurance, pilotage and towage fees.

Historic steamship the Waverley could sail again in 2020

While the news is good for the Waverley, once again the ‘Comment Section’ after the article is a complete embarrassment to Scots and Scotland as it is hijacked by the sort of mindless moron who can only express their twisted opinions in places where they can do so without fear of ending up in the Clyde, under the Waverley.

It would have made a nice opening scene for ‘Taggart‘, as the Waverley’s paddles stirred up body parts, and the shocked crew called for an emergency stop, and camera panned across their shocked faces 😉

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

Waverley hopes to be sailing by next year as new boilers are ordered

12/07/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Update on the PS Waverley’s plight

There’s a new and fairly extensive feature detailing the problems which beset the PS Waverley this year, and led to the cancellation of this season’s sailings.

There aren’t a lot of vessels needing the extent of work now revealed, and it’s always a bit of wake-up call when they reach the stage of having to cut the deck open and remove all the upper structures (including the funnels) to access the lower area. If you didn’t realise the problems were serious, this should put things into context.

The world’s last sea-going paddle steamer needs the equivalent of ‘open heart surgery’ to keep afloat as a £2 million fundraiser is launched to save her.

This year will be the second since 1812 that no paddle-steamer has sailed on the River Clyde , since the Waverley was pulled out of action for the summer following the discovery of faults with the boiler.

And it is only the second time in 72 years that the Waverley has missed a season.

Waverley Excursions, which operates the ship, said it was crucial the money was raised to return the ship to service next summer.

Would-be passengers will be asked to donate the price of a trip they would have taken, when the fundraiser is launched on Saturday.

General manager Paul Semple said: “We have to get Waverley back next year, but it will be a significant struggle.

” Waverley is only here because of the passengers who sail in her.

“Most of our income to keep the ship running is funded from passengers and fares.

“If everyone bought a ‘virtual ticket’, we would have the money needed. If we get the money, she will return to sail.

Offers of help have already come in, from crane firms to businesses in Dunoon, who benefit from daytrippers coming off the ship.

This year’s sailings were cancelled last month after an unexpected amount of damage was found to the boilers, which were last replaced in 2000 with an anticipated 25-year life span.

Mr Semple said: “We found structural defects to the boiler shell and furnace.

“We made initial repairs but then realised the extent of the damage.

“If we had continued, we would have lost half the season, and even then, there was no guarantee we would have got many more years out of the boilers.”

The work, which is expected to take around four months, will involve removing the funnels and slicing open a section of the deck to remove and replace the two boilers.

Waverley needs ‘open heart surgery’ to stay afloat

It’s interesting to note that the article goes on to note that Waverley appears to attract more passengers on its trips down south (remember, Waverley is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world) than it does when sailing at home, in Scotland.

It puts this down to Scots taking the paddler for granted, and I think that’s fair comment.

It’s probably true everywhere though – those who have something generally tend to fully appreciate it.

However, Mr McGowan (PSPS vice-president) called for the ship to be better promoted to secure its future.

He said: “Its marketing needs to go up a gear, as passengers numbers have been on the decline, although not everywhere.

He’s probably right – with Waverley at sea much of the time (during the season) there’s not much evidence of the paddler’s existence, or sailings.

While I’m not a fan of overdone ‘Sales and Marketing’, some is still a good idea,

I think there might be a poster somewhere near Waverley’s berth at the Science Centre, on the OTHER side of the river (where the berth used to be a few years ago).

And I came across this poster in Ayr recently.

But few will ever see it, located on a steel fence at the back of the houses built on the land reclaimed from the old harbour area.

Yes, I KNOW it should have been a wider shot to show the context, but I didn’t know it would be used for this scenario, so the pic was taken to catch the detail f the original, not the location.

Paddle Steamer Waverley Ayr harbour poster

Paddle Steamer Waverley Ayr harbour poster (2019)

And there was more later:

£2m fundraising bid to save world’s last sea-going paddle steamer in Scotland

And a few days later, even the BBC noticed.

‘Save the Waverley’ paddle steamer appeal launched

I have to give their list of facts a mention…

The Waverley – facts and figures

  • Built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow and launched in October 1946.
  • Entered service with the London and North Eastern Railway in June 1947, working LNER’s Firth of Clyde steamer route from Craigendoran Pier, near Helensburgh, to Arrochar.
  • Powered by a three-crank diagonal triple-expansion marine steam engine built by Rankin & Blackmore in Greenock.
  • Now painted in original LNER 1947 livery of red, white and black funnels, traditional brown-grained (or “scumbled”) superstructure and black paddle-wheel boxes.
  • July 1977 – badly damaged when she struck rocks near Dunoon. The heavier than normal post-war construction which made provision for possible future military use as a minesweeper may have helped her stay together while she was refloated.
  • June 2009 – struck the breakwater at Dunoon with 700 passengers on board, 12 of whom suffered minor injuries.
  • Since being sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, she has carried more than five million passengers.

11/06/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

PS Waverley gets £179,000 boost to recovery

The full boiler refit will need some £2 million to complete the work, but the first £179 k for dry docking has been secured.

Over £170,000 has been awarded to help a world famous steam ship sail again.

The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Waverley” following the withdrawal of the Paddle Steamer Waverley.

Waverley’s operators, Waverley Excursions, confirmed that the ship will need new boilers if she is ever to sail again with all sailings cancelled this season.

PSPS National Chairman, Peter Morley, commented “The PSPS was gifted Waverley for £1 back in 1974 as she was then, and still is, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

“This week PSPS Trustees voted unanimously in favour of an immediate cash injection to Waverley of over £170,000 to fund the recent dry docking bill. This level of support will allow Waverley’s owning charity to bring forward plans to raise in excess of £2 million to replace the ship’s boilers.

“I appeal to everyone who has sailed on Waverley or wishes to see her back in steam to support our fund raising efforts to Save The Waverley.”

£170k lifeline cash awarded to Paddle Steamer Waverley

I really did toy with the idea of setting up a small museum (dedicated to tech) after spending a lot of my free time visiting museums, large and small, but it doesn’t take much research to convince you of the need for personally deep pockets, or a long string of friends, of friends, of friends… who have the relevant contacts in order to make such a thing a reality.

I had neither.

And am in some awe of those who can do this.

I’d probably also have to say I hold some others in contempt, as I’ve seen some people use their contacts to (apparently) raise millions to float their ideas of museums/ attractions, only to disappear without a trace. I’m not referring to fraudsters who get the cash then abscond (they may have been for all I know), but those who seem to line up all the backing, consume resources, then just evaporate with nothing to show.

The costs associated with the Waverley, and the long-running restoration of the Maid of the Loch, are, for me at least, a sobering warning as to how close to the edge such projects can be, even if they are successful and popular.

In the background, they can be eating money like they are burning it.

PS Waverley berthed at Science Centre

PS Waverley berthed at Science Centre

28/05/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Don’t forget PS Waverley

The Waverley may not be paddling up and down the Clyde, but is currently berthed at the Science Centre so you can at least go along and have a look.

I was passing that way last night, so grabbed a quick shot while I could.

Repair/restoration appeal

Sorry about the ladder – I didn’t have my cutting gear in my back pocket!

PS Waverley berthed at Science Centre

PS Waverley berthed at Science Centre

22/05/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Maritime, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Pity the Forge – created a Waverley display before this year’s bad news arrived

Spare a thought for the creative folk at Parkhead’s Forge Shopping centre.

A few weeks ago I noticed that they’d installed a display featuring the Waverley just inside the Gallowgate entrance, and recalling the custom of going “Doon the Watter”.

That was before we learned that expensive boiler repairs would see the Waverley withdrawn from service for the 2019 season, and wouldn’t sail at all during the year.

Don’t miss the cotton wool smoke added to the funnels, or the way the water was extended by showing it on the floor in front of the display case.

Parkhead Forge Waverley feature

Parkhead Forge Waverley feature

15/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sorry – Seems my “Commentator’s Curse” just took out the Waverley

Looks like I jinxed something else by giving it an early mention.

By chance, I was passing the Science Centre for the first time in ages, and noticed the PS Waverley berthed there, and gave it a little mention.

Tonight, I read that the paddle steamer will NOT sail in 2019 due the condition of the boilers, which need to be replaced.

While it’s no great surprise that this position has been reached, the news has come quite suddenly.

I almost feel as if I ‘double jinxed’ the poor old paddler, as I was thinking it really was time I stepped on board and had a sail, maybe just the shortest/cheapest one, since I’d never really had the opportunity in the past, being too busy driving to all the (local) destinations concerned.

Priced off the road, I find myself looking at other options.

Of course, a ‘Save the Waverley‘ campaign is being launched to ensure she sails in 2020.

Iconic paddle steamer the Waverley has been withdrawn from service for 2019.

Waverley Excursions Ltd, who organise trips on the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, have posted on their website that it urgently needs new boilers or she will never sail again.

A statement reads: “Waverley Excursions Ltd deeply regrets to inform our customers and loyal supporters that Paddle Steamer Waverley will not operate in 2019.

“As part of the winter maintenance programme we have been undertaking boiler works. Unfortunately, after extensive consultation and investigation it is now conclusive that the ship’s boilers require replacement.

“We immediately face a significant challenge to raise the required funds to reboiler Waverley and return her to service.”

The registered charity which owns the Waverley will be shortly launching an appeal to ‘Save the Waverley’ and ensure she sails again in 2020.

Waverley paddle steamer withdrawn from service for 2019

The Waverley paddle steamer has been withdrawn from service for the first time in 45 years due to mechanical problems.

Work on the 73-year-old ship’s boilers has been ongoing since February.

It was hoped repairs could be carried out in time for the launch of its summer sailings from the River Clyde in Glasgow.

But now the operators have announced that the boilers must be replaced if the ship is to sail again in 2020.

Waverley Excursions general manager Paul Semple said: “The whole Waverley team is deeply disappointed that we are unable to repair the ship’s boilers and operate this season despite every effort being made to overcome the challenges presented.

“I know first-hand the fondness that the general public have for Waverley and I know this news will be disappointing for the tens of thousands of passengers who would have sailed with us this year around the UK.”

Waverley paddle steamer ‘will not sail in 2019’

The famous Waverley Paddle Steamer will not operate its annual sailings for the first time in 45 years.

The boat has been taken out of service due to ongoing boiler issues.

It has been concluded the boilers must be replaced if the Waverly is to sail again in 2020.

Waverley Paddle Steamer cancels all sailings for the year

As seen a few evenings ago…

The Waverley was built in 1946 and is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary


This article, a few days later.

An appeal is being launched to help fund vital works which must be done to the berth for the PS Waverley, which sits at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Now, the folks at Waverley Excursions have announced they are launching an appeal to help save the paddle steamer, with work estimated to cost over £108,000 in total.

Appeal launched to save PS Waverley’s home at the Glasgow Science Centre

10/05/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

First sighting of the Waverley this year

Not even on my mind, but I spotted the Waverley moored on the Clyde last night, at the Science Centre.

While I got a pic of the paddler, plus the centre, tower, and even the TS Queen Mary in the background, it was a dull grey evening.

Even the shot was grey – the Waverley’s lighting had been quite prominent to the eye, but is almost invisible in the pic, which was disappointing.

PS Waverley Science Centre Glagow Tower TS Queen Mary

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

07/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

PS Waverley gets £50 k boost towards berth work totalling £108 k

I’m always intrigued to see financial and employment figures from what I refer to as ‘Real’ sources of such benefits – by which I mean they are there year after year, and repeatable – as opposed to the farcical claims of such things as the ‘Lasting Legacy’ of jokes such as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games (still dropping bombs such as the Legacy Hub sham in Dalmarnock), more than five years after the nonsense.

The paddle steamer Waverley, and its annual maintenance, is an important investment for Glasgow, with the leisure ship generating £33.6 million every year and supporting 136 jobs.

It’s berth, at the Glasgow Science Centre, needed essential works to maintain its condition as parts aged, and Glasgow City Council contributed £50,000 to the works, estimated to be around £108,000.

The Waverley moved there around 2002, when construction of a new bridge over the River Clyde, the Clyde Arc, meant it had to move from its Anderston berth to make way for the new structure.

The work will be scheduled while the sea-going paddle steamer is sailing elsewhere around the UK, so should not impact local sailings during the Scottish sailing season.

£50,000 grant confirmed to save PS Waverley’s home at the Glasgow Science Centre

PS Waverley Science Centre Tower

PS Waverley Science Centre Tower

21/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

First it was catbutt, now it’s Waverleybutt!

I made another of those ‘unexpected detours’ last night while enjoying the new freedom to move around Glasgow now that all/most of the rubbish associated with the intrusive Glasgow 2018 nonsense has gone.

It’s amazing just how much time the diversion cost – i wonder if anyone costed this sort of disruption?

No, of course they didn’t – They’d have to deduct that from the HUGE PROFIT they will claim resulted from Glasgow 2018, in a few weeks.

I was coming back towards Bell’s Bridge and Pacific Quay when I was confronted by a crowd swarming towards me.

This was unusual, as the place is usually almost deserted in the evening, bar a few lost souls like me wandering around.

But I quickly spotted the reason, and was pleased to see that the PS Waverley had just spilled onto the quay, and its passengers were on their way home after enjoying a day sailing around the Clyde coast.

I must try that one day – I really never have done this. I just used to catch the odd ferry.

Once they were gone, I was able to go catch a closer pic than I’ve usually managed (usually she’s steaming along in the distance),

But, she must have been taking lessons from my local cats, as I could only shoot the stern thank to the low setting Sun shining in my eyes if I tried for a bow shot.

Not too bad, even if a tourist had to lean in – remember, I don’t do people! (But I’m trying.)

It never really occurred to me before, to time a pass here when she spills, and get a decent close-up – I must look at her schedule of excursions.

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

21/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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