Talisman’s last day in passenger carrying service was Thursday 17th November 1966 when she relieved the Maid of Skelmorlie on the Holy Loch run.
By 1966 the large numbers of holiday making passengers wishing to sail between Largs and Millport were in decline. Talisman, summer mainstay of the route, was by then over thirty years old and in need of significant money being spent on her. A smaller and more economical replacement was readily to hand in the form of the Voith Schneider propelled Rose which was surplus to requirements on the Tilbury Gravesend ferry service for which she had been built just five years earlier in 1961. That sealed Talisman’s fate. From 1967 Rose, renamed Keppel, took Talisman’s place on the service to Cumbrae.
Talisman continued to be used intermittently for relief work through October and into November 1966 including for a charter from Craigendoran to off Ardlamont Point on Saturday 15th October. She made her last call at Millport with the 4pm departure on Sunday 30th October and on the morning of Thursday 17th November relieved the Maid of Skelmorlie which was on tendering duties to the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Canada. The following day her Board of Trade Class IV and V Passenger Certificates for service on Categorised Waters expired and she moved to the Albert Dock at Greenock to lay up and subsequently be put up for sale.
Like many other paddlers in the 1960s Talisman’s sale was handled by Weymouth based shipbroker Tony McGinnity. He was a founder member of the PSPS, a tireless campaigner for paddle steamers and himself the owner and operator of the Consul in 1963 and 1964. He was a sort of enthusiast. Not an armchair enthusiast but an enthusiast who got up and really did things. Look back through the 1960s and you will find Tony’s finger prints on so much that happened in paddle steamer circles from the earliest days of PSPS through Alumchine and Kingswear Castle onwards right up to the London Charter of the Ryde in 1968 and Caledonia’s arrival alongside the Embankment in London in 1972.
Talisman made one more voyage under her own power paddling the short distance from the Albert Dock to the East India Dock at Greenock on Thursday 10th August 1967 under the command of Captain Callum MacLean.
On Tuesday 17th October 1967 she was towed away to be scrapped by Arnott Young & Company at Dalmuir just short of a year after her last passenger carrying run on Thursday 17th November 1966.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 17th November 2020.