On Thursday 5th March 1953, Maid of the Loch made her merry debut, launching from Balloch into the sparkling waters of Loch Lomond.
Advertised as having ‘commodious saloons’ and serving ‘lunches and teas of the highest quality at popular prices’ she was the last (and largest) in a long line of paddle steamers to sail Loch Lomond. For 28 years, she gave the greatest pleasure to millions of visitors who enjoyed nothing more than a cheerful day out on the water.
But times and tastes change…
In 1981, the Maid was decommissioned and sadly left to decay until 1996 when, on the point of dereliction, she was rescued by the Loch Lomond Steamship Company. Now – and with your help – her future can be bright again thanks to an exciting restoration project that places her firmly at the heart of a vibrant 21st century Scotland.
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US AND HELP TO MAINTAIN OUR MAID FOR THE FUTURE!
THE MAID IS THE VERY LAST PADDLE STEAMER TO BE BUILT IN BRITAIN, AND IS THE UK’S ONLY REMAINING EXAMPLE OF AN ‘UP AND DOON’ VESSEL – A SHIP THAT’S BEEN BUILT TWICE!
Assembled in Glasgow by A&J Inglis, the Maid was taken apart, transported to her new home in Balloch and reassembled before her launch in March 1953. Licensed to carry 1,000 passengers, she was the largest paddle steamer to sail Loch Lomond and played host to royal guests and celebrities as well as three million day-trippers during her 28 years on the water.
The Maid’s popularity as a pleasure steamer was at its height in the 1950s and early 1960s. But as the lure of affordable foreign travel beckoned, so passenger numbers – and funding – dwindled. Finally, the Maid’s fate was sealed. Decommissioned in 1981, she was subjected to a sorry period of neglect, decay and vandalism until her purchase, in 1992, by Dumbarton District Council.
In 1996, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC) launched an ambitious rescue mission. Since then our charity, staffed entirely by volunteers, has raised over £2m and invested this in the first stages of the Maid’s conservation.
Following a successful HLF bid in 2015, we now need to raise £1.7m in order to release HLF funding of £3.8m which will allow us to return our Maid to full operation.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT WE CAN ACHIEVE OUR VISION.