Glasgow & West Scotland

Waverley steamer repair fund hits £2m milestone

Waverley Image copyright Scottish government

The famous Waverley paddle steamer is on course to sail again after a restoration appeal topped £2m.

The 70-year-old ship has been out of service for the 2019 season as it awaits urgent repairs.

The vessel needed £2.3m to set sail in 2020, the Year of Coasts and Waters, and was given a £1m boost from the Scottish government last month.

Owners of the Waverley said the fundraising milestone was a "fantastic result".

A message on the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society website (PSPS) read: "The running total for Waverley's Boiler Refit Appeal has now passed the £2m milestone thanks to the continued generosity of PSPS members and many other individuals.

"Since the appeal was officially launched in June donations have been received from over 7,500 individuals.

"Along with £1m of support from the Scottish government several trusts and foundations have also contributed to take the total raised so far to within £300,000 of the £2.3m target.

"A fantastic result in just a few months."

Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Tens of thousands of passengers each year have enjoyed the Waverley's "doon the watter" trips

Named after Sir Walter Scott's debut novel, The Waverley was built just after World War Two as a replacement for a vessel sunk during the Dunkirk evacuation.

In 1975, at the end of its working life, it was bought for £1 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.

For generations of Scots it has been a familiar sight, offering "doon the watter" trips along the west coast, carrying 130,000 passengers a year.

For more than seven decades it has transported millions of passengers to a variety of locations throughout the UK.

The steamer undertook its maiden voyage in 1947 and is registered as part of the National Historic Fleet as being a vessel of pre-eminent national significance.

But it urgently requires new boilers, forcing all excursions in 2019 to be cancelled.

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, the steamer has carried more than five million passengers.

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