Full steam ahead as Waverley makes for Ardrishaig

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The famous Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, will return to Ardrishaig Pier later this year.

Bookings are being taken for a trip from Tarbert to Ardrishaig on Friday August 2. She will set sail at 2.30pm and is expected to arrive at Ardrishaig at 3.15pm before returning to Tarbert for 5.20pm.

The Waverley Excursions website announced: ‘Steam up Loch Fyne for a special visit by Waverley to Ardrishaig.’

PS Waverley, named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, was built on the Clyde and made her maiden voyage in June 1947.

After a great deal of fundraising, she underwent a major restoration in 2003 which returned Waverley to the original 1940s style in which she was built.

The paddle steamer is currently in dry dock in Greenock while refit work is completed on the ship’s boilers and she is made ready for the sailing season ahead.

A Waverley Excursions spokesperson explained: ‘Dry-docking signals the final phase of the winter maintenance period. We acknowledge the effort of all our full-time crew, as well as the volunteers who help reduce the cost.

‘Even with this valued volunteer support, and with practical assistance from companies like BAE Systems of Govan, we spend around £400,000 on maintenance every year to keep Waverley ship-shape.’

Following dry dock, Waverley will return to Glasgow and final preparations for the sailing season, which begins on Thursday May 23.

Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, the Waverley will embark on a cruise round the island of Bute and a rare trip from Glasgow and Largs around the Mull of Kintyre to Oban.

Ardrishaig Pier was recently reinforced and extended by owner Scottish Canals, with work to build a visitor hub alongside the Steamer Terminal cafe on Pier Square due to be completed this summer.