There was a rare and wonderful sight on southern coastal waters on Sunday 3 September and Monday 4 September when two heritage steamships, both built in Scotland and today forming part of the National Historic Fleet, met up with one another off of Bournemouth and the Solent.
Southampton based Steamship Shieldhall was staying in Poole for one week and returning to her home port after visiting the Bournemouth Air Festival, whilst Paddle Steamer Waverley was enjoying part of her three-week long sailing programme in the south of England.
The two steamships put on a great show for their respective guests on board, with sounding of steam whistles and sirens as the two vessels met up. A number of vessels accompanied Shieldhall and Waverley as they steamed alongside one another for approximately one hour, with the weather providing perfect conditions for the planned rendezvous. There was fabulous customer feedback and recognition of a special moment as the two ships (with a combined age of 144 years) bade each other a fond farewell, again with a resounding session of steam whistle tooting!
Paul Semple, MD of Waverley Excursions, noted: ‘It was fantastic for Waverley to meet up with Steamship Shieldhall off the Isle of Wight and for both ships to steam side by side with plenty of tooting! Bringing these two wonderful historic Clyde built ships together is something we can all be proud of. Those involved know only too well that maintaining and operating a historic vessel is not for the faint hearted but occasions such as this make it all worthwhile. I must congratulate the Shieldhall team for their achievement in keeping such a fine ship in steam and for their support in arranging such an event with Paddle Steamer Waverley.’
Steamship Shieldhall concludes her 2023 sailing programme over the weekend of 16/17 September in Southampton, with respective Heritage Open Day and Southampton Boat Show cruises. Tickets and more information can be found at: www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk or by calling the Ticket Manager on 023 8155 0242.
Paddle steamer Waverley has a series of south coast cruises up to and including Wednesday 20 September. Waverley then makes for London and the Thames Estuary offering sailings until Sunday 8 October – for information and tickets, please visit www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk or through calling 0141 243 2224.