Waverley’s weekend cruises cancelled

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THE paddle steamer Waverley’s first Clyde cruises of 2011 have been cancelled, the vessel’s operators have announced.

The ship was due to embark on four days of sailings around the Firth over the bank holiday weekend, but a spokesperson for Waverley Excursions Ltd told The Buteman that repairs being carried out during the paddler’s annual dry-docking in Greenock had over-run and the holiday weekend programme would not now take place.

A five-yearly survey of her steering gear has taken longer than originally expected, the spokesperson told us, and the ship is not now expected to be ready to emerge from dry dock until after the holiday weekend.

The news will come as a bitter disappointment to the Waverley’s many Clyde supporters, as well as to her owners, who warned last month that rising fuel costs could make this summer’s sailings the paddler’s last.

Her first 2011 cruise from Rothesay was due to have taken place this Saturday, May 28, in the form of a short sail through the Kyles of Bute to Tighnabruaich.

The now-cancelled weekend programme was also to have included a one-off opportunity to sail from Glasgow all the way to Redbay on the Antrim coast on May 30.

The Waverley is due to spend most of June offering cruises on the Bristol Channel; her main Clyde summer season is scheduled to begin on June 24, with her first sailing from Rothesay the following day.