On Easter Saturday 21st April 1962 P & A Campbell’s Cardiff Queen, under the command of Captain Leo Virgo, was rostered to pack in a variety of trip options to take advantage of this Easter holiday weekend including those wishing to travel on the Cardiff/ Weston ferry, a 1st division football match between Cardiff City and Birmingham City and those fancying a longer down Channel trip to Ilfracombe not forgetting those wanting short cruises from Cardiff, Penarth, Weston and Ilfracombe in between. A variety of trip options to fulfil all this and pack in revenue was rostered with just one boat with which to do it all.
Cardiff Queen was due away from Cardiff at 9am carrying either those who wanted a whole day out at the seaside in Weston or those preferring a two hour morning round trip to blow the cobwebs away. At 10am she was away from Weston bringing with her those wanting a day out in the City of Cardiff plus any football enthusiasts on their way to the match as well as any punters from Weston fancying a two hour round trip morning cruise in the Channel back in time for lunch.
At 11am she picked up again at Cardiff with a call at Penarth targeted at those wanting about 7 or 9 hours ashore at Weston or a day trip down the beautiful Somerset and Devon coasts for a couple of hours ashore in Ilfracombe. She was alongside at Weston at 12 noon unloading those for an afternoon on the beach and loading more for the run to Ilfracombe.
She was due at Ilfracombe just after 3pm to unload and pick up a fresh clutch of passengers for an afternoon cruise along the coast from that resort due back at 4.30pm. Then it was off again back up to Weston for 7.30pm to unload those who had joined there in the morning and pick up those dropped off in the morning plus more for a two hour round trip evening cruise across the Channel to Penarth and Cardiff for 8.30pm. By then I expect that there were those amongst the crew wishing the day was done. But it was not done yet. There were still all those football supporters who came over in the morning, some of whom by that stage three hours after the match may have been just a tiny tad well oiled, to take back to Weston for 9.30pm.
I daresay that there were those in the crew who gave a sigh of relief after they had all gone ashore before loading up with any who had enjoyed a really long day out taking advantage of all the opportunities available to them in Weston and who were also maybe a little bit the worse for wear after enjoying Somerset beer all day, before casting off for the return trip to Penarth and Cardiff also taking back those who had been brave enough to have joined the chanting footballers for the two hour round trip evening cruise from Cardiff at 8.30pm.
That’s quite a day. That’s quite a few trip options hopefully all producing good Easter holiday revenue to pack into the bank account to start to pay off the substantial refit and drydocking costs incurred in February and March. If Cardiff Queen had been full up on all these trip options then in today’s money that day would have netted a gross revenue of approaching £50K. Ka-Ching!
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 21st March 2021.