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The PS Waverley at Tower Bridge
Regular readers will know that one of my favourite walks on a Sunday morning is from the Isle of Dogs to the Tower of London. Once you leave Canary Wharf behind, you enter the old docklands walking along Narrow Street in Limehouse to Shadwell Basin and then passed by Tobacco Dock to Wapping.
Finally you can walk around St Katherine’s Dock where you will often see the Gloriana and Havengore moored before finally arriving at the Tower. Quite often I will cross Tower Bridge to explore the south side of the river, this week my progress was halted by the raising of the bascules to allow a ship pass through. Although I have seen the bridge raised many times, I have never been on the bridge when it has happened. Therefore I joined the excited throng of people looking over the bridge to see what ship was coming underneath.
To my great surprise, it was the PS Waverley being pulled by the tug General VIII. The PS Waverley is the last seagoing passenger-carrying paddle steamer in the world and since 2003 Waverley has been listed in the National Historic Fleet by National Historic Ships UK as “a vessel of pre-eminent national importance”.
Built in 1946, she used to sail from Craigendoran on the Firth of Clyde to Arrochar on Loch Long until 1973. She was then restored and now operates passenger excursions around the British coast.
She is a regular visitor to the Thames and is one of the great sights of the river chugging up and down with lots of passengers.
Unfortunately there was little chugging this time as the PS Waverley was pulled through the bridge and off to be repaired.