The Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company

The Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company was formed on the 9th February 1825. The creation of this joint stock company was for the purpose of establishing a regular communication between Glasgow, Loch Goil, Loch Long and intermediate places by means of vessels to be propelled by steam. The company purchased the “Oscar” steamboat and caused two other steamboats named the “St Catherine” and the “St George” to be built and fitted out. The company’s first boat, the “Oscar”, was built in 1814 by J. Smart of Dundee and the engine builder was John Robertson. The “Oscar” had been servicing the Glasgow to Lochgoilhead route since 1818 and was owned by A. Dow until it was sold to the Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company in 1825. The “Oscar” was a wooden hulled paddle steamer and its dimensions were 75ft 3" x 13ft 3" x 7ft 5" (l x b x d) and its tonnage was around 43grt. It was captained by Peter Graham and later, it was wrecked off Rosneath in 1831.

The Loch Goil (I)

The first “Loch Goil” (there were three) was built in 1835 and was a wooden hulled paddle steamer. It was built by Tod & McGregor and the engine builders were R. Napier. At this time the “Loch Goil” served Lochgoilhead while the “St Catherine” served Arrochar. Captain Peter Graham took charge of the “Loch Goil” in 1835. The first “Loch Goil” stopped operating in 1841.

The capital stock of the Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company in 1825 was £5500 consisting of 110 shares of £50 each. The initial shareholders of the company were Archibald Campbell of Drimsynie; Mungo Nutter Campbell of St Catherine’s; Peter Graham, master of the St George steamboat and residing in Glasgow; Andrew Rankin, merchant in Glasgow and Arthur Forbes writer. In 1827 Mungo Nutter Campbell was elected chairman and the number of shareholders had increased to nine. In 1889 the company registered its desire to become a limited company under the Companies act of 1862 to 1890. The company finally registered as a limited company on the 19th December 1895. The company performed well in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The manager and company secretary at this time was Malcolm Turner Clark a shipping agent in Glasgow. Mr Clark joined the Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company in 1868. In 1895, the value of the capital stock was £14,520 with 660 shares of £22 each and this was also the value of the company in 1907. In 1908 it declared to be a private company under the Companies act of 1907.

The opening of the Callander to Oban railway route in 1880 and later the West Highland railway route in 1894 meant the majority of people and cargo travelling north was diverted away from the Lochgoilhead route. The reduced traffic spelt the end of the Lochgoil & Lochlong Steamboat Company and it went into liquidation in 1909.

The Carrick Castle Boat Club would like to thank Iain Smart for giving us permission to reproduce this article. The book is currently available to be purchased at the Lochgoilhead Post Office, price £7.99.