After her refit at Lamont’s Shipyard at Port Glasgow in March and through to mid April 1964, Jeanie Deans returned to service on Saturday 9th May with a charter to the Scottish Locomotive Preservation Fund for a rare trip from Gourock to Ardrishaig. Unfortunately it was not a nice day. The wind blew and was thought to be too fresh to allow the hoped for call at this by then unusual destination. So the Jeanie retraced her route back through the Kyles of Bute and gave the 400 or so passengers aboard time ashore in Rothesay instead.
After that she was out and about quite a bit filling in on the the ferry services in May before taking up her main summer roster later in June alternating week and week about with our Waverley. One week one of them took the long afternoon cruise around Bute each weekday from Craigendoran (12.40pm) and calling at Gourock (1.10pm), Dunoon (1.30pm) and Rothesay (2.25pm) whilst the other ran the excursions to other destinations including up river to Glasgow, to Brodick and Pladda and round the Lochs including calls at Lochgoilhead and Arrochar. On Saturdays both ships piled in on the main Clyde ferry services connecting Craigendoran, Gourock and Wemyss Bay with Dunoon or Rothesay.
Sadly, along with the Duchess of Montrose, 1964 was to be the Jeanie’s last season operating on the Clyde. From 1965 sailings to Campbeltown ceased to be offered every day and stationing a regular excursion steamer at Ayr was abandoned with Caledonia being called back to take over the Jeanie’s roster from 1965.
After the season Duchess of Montrose was sold for scrap but the Jeanie Deans found a new and spectacularly unsuccessful life under the new name Queen of the South trying, and failing, to sail on the Thames in 1966 and 1967. 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 9th May 2021.