Waverley sets sail at start of 66th season

The paddle steamer Waverley's 2013 cruising season begins this weekend.
The paddle steamer Waverley's 2013 cruising season begins this weekend.

The paddle steamer Waverley’s 66th season sailing on the waters of the west of Scotland is now under way.

The famous vessel, which was launched in 1946 and undertook her maiden voyage the following year, began a short programme of west Highland cruises with a sailing from Glasgow to Oban, via Greenock and Campbeltown, on Friday.

Her main summer programme on the Firth of Clyde, including up to four cruises a week from Rothesay, runs from June 28 to September 1.

The future of the Waverley, which was sold for £1 to the the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974, has become increasingly uncertain in recent years due to a combination of increased operating costs and the impact of the economy on consumer spending.

The vessel’s operators, Waverley Excursions Ltd, announced in December that the Waverley’s fleetmate, MV Balmoral, would not sail in 2013 because the possibility of poor summer weather might put the future of both ships in jeopardy.