Full Steam ahead for the historic Maid of the Loch

Major step is taken today to have Loch Lomond’s paddle steamer in operation again by 2018

 


Loch Lomond Steamship Company director Iain Robertson, VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay, Scots entertainer and Maid supporter Jimmie MacGregor and Neil Patterson, of contractors OSD-IMT Ltd, celebrate the signing of the first contract for the Maid of the Loch's restoration.

It’s full steam ahead for the £5.5 million restoration of the Maid of the Loch after the first rebuilding contract was signed today (Monday).

The Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC), the charity that owns the iconic paddle steamer, also announced that it now aims to have the Maid operating on the bonnie banks again by 2018.

John Beveridge, founder of the LLSC, said the Maid will become “an icon for Loch Lomond” and estimates it will bring another 100,000 visitors to the area every year.

The contract for marine consultancy services has been awarded to Dundee firm OSD-IMT Ltd, whose managing director Neil Patterson was on board the Maid this afternoon with LLSC direcotr Iain Robertson to sign the contract.

The company will provide the necessary naval architecture, engineering, structure and outfitting expertise to ensure that the rebuild meets all regulations.

John Beveridge said: “This is a landmark event for us. It is almost exactly 20 years since the charity took ownership of the Maid, and we are now able to start work on returning this unique ship back into steam operating condition.

“It is hugely exciting for everyone and our thanks to all the wonderful support we have had. This is a major investment for Loch Lomond.”

Neil Patterson added: “We are pleased to be able to support the Loch Lomond Steamship Company with this exciting and challenging project, and look forward to assisting them in returning the Maid of the Loch to operation.”

Dr Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the project to rebuild the historic Maid of the Loch can now go full steam ahead. It is fantastic news for tourism in the region.

“As the last paddle steamer built in Britain, aswell as the last in a long line of Loch Lomond steamers, the ship is an important part of Scotland’s maritime heritage.

“She already draws a significant number of visitors every year but the refurbishment works to restore her to her former glory as an operational paddle steamer will mean that she’ll become a superb, first class attraction, offering a greatly enhanced quality of visitor experience.”

Last year the Maid of the Loch was awarded a stage one pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund, worth £230,400, which allows this professional work to be carried out.

HLF has promised a further £3.8 million if the charity can raise the balance of £1.7 million.

Loch Lomond Steamship Company members and supporters will now step up their efforts to reach that total.

John Beveridge said: “Of course, the Maid is not just an historic steamship. She represents jobs, training, added value for visitors, and will be an icon for Loch Lomond.

“A refurbished Maid of the Loch will embrace 21st century safety and comfort, with 20th century Scottish engineering, using 19th century technology.

“How brilliant will that be?”

22nd February 2016