Waverley boilers fitted but summer season uncertain

The Waverley in dry dock at Greenock.

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The Waverley has had two new boilers fitted at a cost of  £2.3 millon, completing a major refit.

However, when the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world will be seen in waters around Arran remains uncertain.

It had been feared the 72-year-old vessel would never sail again but more than 8,500 people donated to a fundraising appeal, backed by the Scottish government and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.

Each boiler, weighing 21 tonnes, is in place, but work to complete the steam installation and to rebuild the boiler room is continuing, but at a much-reduced pace due to the many consequences of the COVID-19 restrictions. Electrical installation has paused completely for the same reasons.

The Waverley went into the James Watt Dock in Greenock in March for her annual visit which saw her hull painted and additional work completed as well as the boiler refit.

A spokesman for Waverley Excursions said: ‘The timing of the tightly-managed project to return Waverley to service has now become hard to predict. We understand how the friends, supporters and loyal customers of Waverley have been looking forward to the 2020 sailing programme and just to know Waverley is sailing once more.

‘The uncertainty due to the pandemic, especially around social gathering, means we don’t know whether we can welcome passengers on board in 2020. We are keeping plans under constant review and waiting to see how and when government guidance evolves.

‘Everyone is working hard to return Waverley to service and looks forward to welcoming passengers back aboard. As soon as a plan becomes possible or if we get to the point where it is simply not feasible we’ll issue further information.

‘What is certain, with her two new boilers, new generators and new switchboards in place and her annual drydocking complete, Waverley will steam again!’


The Waverley’s shiny new boilers. NO_B20waverley01

The Waverley in dry dock at Greenock. NO_B20waverley02

The Waverley off Lochranza, but will she sail this summer? Photograph: Stuart Whiston. NO_B10waverley01