Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Return to the "Kingswear Castle"...

Hello again. During our walking tour of Dartmouth today we had opted to take a 75-minute cruise aboard the 1924-built paddle steamer "Kingswear Castle". Regular readers will know that we did the trip last year and it proved very successful. Our sailing was due to depart at Midday so we made sure that we were at the pontoon in good time. The paddle steamer was simmering away happily at the far end. What is interesting to note is that the engine is constantly turning over even whilst at dock, probably to continuously draw the fire...
Having had our tickets checked, we climbed on board and found a seat. The "KC", as she is known, is a popular vessel in these waters and, though not fully loaded, was well patronised on this early cruise. I'm sure the afternoon cruises are even busier...
Departing the Dartmouth pontoon on time, the "KC" sailed down the river towards the open sea. This is the English Channel of course...
Having made a full turn against the channel, the paddle steamer worked back up river. The friendly staff aboard the vessel once again gave an interesting and humorous commentary throughout the voyage. The steamer also has a fully licensed bar on board and I enjoyed a beer in the sun whilst surveying the scenery...
Views forward up and along the River Dart...
Behind us was the wheelhouse and engine compartment. The "KC" is the very last coal fired paddle steamer and is at home on the Dart; the location for which she was built. The engine, slightly older than the vessel herself, is shown below in a short video clip...

The cruise was once again fantastic and we enjoyed some great weather...
The river also allows some great views of the steam railway...
All too soon, our cruise came to an end and "Kingswear Castle" came to a gentle stop at the Dartmouth pontoon. Once tied off, the passengers disembarked happily. I can whole heartedly recommend this trip. Its relaxing, nostalgic and interesting. The paddle steamer is a piece of Dartmouth history and, I feel, a must do. Thanks all, Sam...

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