Saturday, 27 June 2015

Delights of the Dart [1]

This is Kingswear Castle:-
And this is Kingswear Castle:-
But this is the Kingswear Castle that the fbbs joined on Thursday last.
The Kingswear Castle was built by Philip & Sons of Dartmouth in 1924 for the Great Western Railway for service on the River Dart. Her predecessor of the same name from 1904 is now a rotted and barely recognisable hulk in the River Dart, but the engines were re-used in the current steamboat.

In 1965 Kingswear Castle was withdrawn from service and became the first purchase of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) two years later. After various difficulties and a great deal of restoration work she was brought into service again in 1985 on the River Medway.

It left the Medway in December 2012 ...
... to be leased by the Dart River Boat company which also runs the Paignton and Kingswear trains.

The trip was a "River Cruise" ...
... from Dartmouth (route "C" on the map above). The itinerary starts by travelling south to Dartmouth Castle ...
... hidden seductively by haar. Thankfully the rest of the voyage was in gorgeous sunshine. The engines are astounding; and chunter away magnificentl, belying their 111 years!
In the bowels of the vessel young Jack Woodhams stokes the boilers with ½ ton of coal a day; the vessel is the only coal fired paddle steamer still running in the UK. The Waverley, sadly, now uses oil! There is a little bar and some spectacular "facilities" unchanged since the vessel was built. (fbb paste-up to get all its decorated glory in one picture).
In gorgeous sunshine the vessel chugged northwards, passing Greenway, erswhile home of Agatha Crusty.
There is a ferry to get you there from Dartmouth, by the way, or a vintage bus from elsewhere (currently suspended?).
We turned a bit further north than Greenway because the river is wider and the steamer is difficult to manoeuvre with a large turning circle.
Dittisham : pronounced "Ditsum" locally

There are plenty of picturesque villages and vast number of expensive leisure boats; no shortage of money on the river Dart!

The boat runs throughout the "summer season" and there is a web site (here)

Strongly recommended at £15 a head; but, confessing all, the fbb's didn't pay a penny as the tickets were a joint birthday prezzy!

 Next bus blog : Sunday 28th June 

1 comment:

  1. I believe that the Greenway bus is 'off the road' because of 'bodywork issues' at the moment.