PS Waverley’s welcome return

PS Waverley made a welcome return to Campbeltown Loch this week.
PS Waverley made a welcome return to Campbeltown Loch this week.

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PS Waverley made a welcome return to Campbeltown this week after a three-year break.

The horn on the iconic vessel – the last seagoing passenger-carrying paddle steamer in the world – was sounded as she arrived in Campbeltown Loch at about 2.30pm on Monday.

The town centre was soon abuzz with visitors who disappeared as quickly as they arrived when the almost 75-year-old vessel departed two hours later.

Usually an annual visitor, Waverley last visited Campbeltown in 2018.

Waverley’s owners announced in 2019 that the paddle steamer would not operate any of her sailing programme that year, for the first time in 45 years, because her boilers needed to be replaced.

Following a massive fundraising campaign and a £2.3 million boiler refit, the vessel returned to service in August 2020 – but just two weeks later she crashed into Brodick Pier on Arran.

Damage to Waverley’s bow, requiring vital repairs, cut the 2020 sailing season short.

Waverley returned to service in June this year – operating at 35 per cent capacity to ensure physical distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic – and her 2021 sailing season is to be extended beyond the initial August 22 date.

Waverley’s general manager Paul Semple said: ‘We are delighted to welcome passengers aboard Waverley once again.

‘I hope the sound of paddles on the Clyde once again is a welcome sign that summer is here.’