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Monday, 10 August 2009

Maid of the Loch

The Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer to be built in Britain, and the largest for an inland waterway.

She was built by A & J Ingle’s yard at Poinhouse on the River Clyde and launched on the 5th of March 1953.

She was then dismantled and transported to Loch Lomond to be reassembled on the slipway at Balloch,she entered service on the loch in May 1953.

Her last sailing was on the 30th of August 1981, being in need of repair and the crippling price of oil made her uneconomic; there were a few attempts to revive her but all floundered leaving her to rot away.

Fortunately a group of enthusiasts saved the Maid, not only by slowly restoring her but by having an excellent business plan they have made her a superb tourist attraction.

With the aid of a National Lottery Grant they have replaced her original wooden deck with steel and aluminium, not only this but she now has a restaurant and cafeteria as well as a souvenir shop.

Work has also included a car park and the restoration of the steam work shop.

Will she ever ply the waters of the Loch again? Well the volunteers who happily give their time centenary think so, but it still seems a tall order.

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