Paddle steamer Waverly returns to Skye
Doon the water takes on a whole different meaning this week when the paddle steamer Waverly returns to the waters around Skye.
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. 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 and operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd, a subsidiary of WSN. Home base is , 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. In recent years there have been paddlers built, mainly for nostalgic reasons, but these have, with limited exceptions, been powered by modern diesel engines
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.