On Sunday 21st July 1968 Ryde was rostered to run four round trips between Southsea and Ryde.
She sailed light ship from her overnight berth opposite the Harbour Station for Clarence Pier (10.30m) to pick up her first passengers of the day and then South Parade Pier (10.55am) for Ryde (11.30am – 11.30am) before returning directly to Clarence Pier (11.55am).
She set off again from Clarence Pier (12.15pm) for Ryde (12.40pm) after which she returned to Clarence Pier light ship without passengers this time missing out a call at South Parade Pier.
Then in the afternoon she made two more round trips from Clarence Pier (2.25pm & 4.10) calling at South Parade Pier (2.50pm only) for Ryde (3.15pm – 3.30pm & 4.35pm – 5.05pm) returning to Clarence Pier (3.55pm & 5.30pm) after which she returned light ship to her moorings in Portsmouth.
On Saturdays Ryde made two single trips from Portsmouth (10.20am & 12.20pm) to Ryde returning each time light ship without passengers. Then she left Portsmouth (2.20pm) for Ryde (2.45pm) and lay alongside until taking the departure from Ryde (4.45pm) back to Portsmouth (5.20pm).
This roster reflected the traffic on these still fairly busy summer Saturdays with lots of people crossing to the Isle of Wight in the morning and with a heavy demand for the return crossing around tea time.
From Monday to Thursday she ran the Southsea/Ryde tripper service with departures from Clarence Pier (9.50am, 11.50am, 1.50pm, 3.20pm and 5.40pm) calling at South Parade Pier on all the trips except the one at 3.20pm with returns from Ryde (10.55am, 1.15pm, 2.45pm, 4.45pm and 6.15pm) with the last one routing straight back to Portsmouth.
Fridays were usually her day off.
Two months later Ryde was in for a little adventure organised by founding PSPS member Tony McGinnity who arranged a charter for her on the Thames. But that is another story for another day.
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 July 2021.