Thursday, 2 June 2016

Out Paddling: "Kingswear Castle"...

Hi all. During our trip today on the DSR, having crossed from Kingswear on the Ferry, we enjoyed a cruise on the River Dart aboard the "Kingswear Castle" Paddle Steamer. This is the third time we've done this trip and it is always very enjoyable and interesting. We opted to do the 12:30 cruise and a well loaded "KC" pulled up alongside the Dartmouth pontoon in good time, allowing previous passengers to disembark and us to duly board. Having taken our seats, a blast on the steamer's hooter signalled departure from the dock and away we went. We steamed gracefully out towards the mouth of the river, with Dartmouth Castle on the cliffs in the distance...
Near the Castle, two whistle toots were given to signal a turn and "KC" duly came about, swinging gently left in order to make the 180-degree movement for the journey back up the river. The water of the river was very blue today, much like the sky...
During the trip, commentary was given from the Wheelhouse and many interesting facts were given about Dartmouth and its heritage. Average house prices for the very much sought after properties in the town are usually around the £1 million mark and apparently you'd be lucky to get one even if you had the money! Passengers aboard the "Kingswear Castle" are encouraged to explore the boat and the open hatch above the engine always draws attention. The "Kingswear Castle" is the UK's only coal fired Paddle Steamer, with the well known "Waverley" being oil fired. The vessel was built by Dartmouth-based Philip & Sons in 1924 and is powered by a 1904-built engine. The engine is very graceful in operation and ticks over almost silently. I was admiring the clean finish, which is evident throughout the vessel...
"The Immaculate 1904-built Engine of The Paddle Steamer"
It was a very pleasant experience being aboard the "KC" today...
"Heading Up River, Past Dartmouth Pontoon"
Having steamed up the River Dart towards Greenway, another two whistles signalled another turn, this time back towards Dartmouth...
"Paddle Steamer Wash"
The weather was lovely today and perfect for a river cruise...
All too soon, we arrived back at the Dartmouth pontoon and it was time to alight from the "Kingswear Castle". The vessel would soon be departing on her next popular cruise and passengers were already lining up to take their seats. I cannot recommend the paddle steamer enough. Its a lovely trip offering good value for money in a picturesque setting. Its interesting to consider that the "KC" is still offering pleasure trips on the River Dart over 90 years after she started doing so! She is home, where she belongs. Following our river cruise and a walk around Dartmouth, we shuffled back over to the Ferry for our crossing back to the DSR terminus of Kingswear. All the best guys, Sam...

No comments: