Maid of the Loch presents a brand new exhibition of spectacular Clyde-built model ships in a unique setting

A forthcoming exhibition of an exclusive, and previously unseen, collection of model ships, celebrating the work of model builder Lachie Stewart goes on display this month (May 2022).  For a small fee of just £3, visitors will have the opportunity to climb onboard the famous paddle steamer Maid of the Loch, while she is on the slipway for essential repairs, to see the carefully curated exhibition, Chariots of Steam, in the ship’s main aft lounge.

Lachie Stewart is no ordinary man. Born in Vale of Leven, West Dunbartonshire in 1943, his achievements include a glorious athletic career which saw him win gold medal in the 10,000 metres at the Commonwealth Games in 1970.  A true champion and polymath, Lachie has combined his lifelong passions for maritime history and model building to create a spectacular collection of ships which he has meticulously built over the last 60 years.  Many of his works are already in notable private and public collections but have never been celebrated in the manner they deserve.  This exceptional collection, which ranges from elegant paddle steamers to humble Clyde puffers, and from simple half-hull design models to magnificent display models, demonstrates great skill and insight into the history of ship building on the Clyde and the laborious processes that go into such quality model making.  Many of the most famous ships built on the Clyde are represented, including PS Maid of the Loch.

Chariots of Steam opens to the public on Saturday 21 May at 11am until 4pm and will be open every weekend until the end of October this year.

Charli Summers, Activities Coordinator at Maid of the Loch and curator of Chariots of Steam says: “This is the first time this incredible collection has been displayed to the public as a major exhibition and we are delighted to showcase these fine ship models.  Lachie is not only a talented sporting hero but also a remarkable model builder who has built an important collection model ships over the last 60 years.  Thirteen of his Clyde-built ships are on display.  Lachie has been a supporter of the Maid of the Loch since it was launched on Loch Lomond in 1953 and so it is fitting that his first solo exhibition should be on board the paddle steamer.”

The Maid of the Loch is a magnificent example of Clyde-built ship engineering.  Already a much-loved feature on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, she attracts thousands of visitors every year and, over the last 20 years, a loyal band of volunteers has focused every available hour on her restoration.  With public support the Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC) charity hope to safely steer the Maid to a new phase of her life, relaunching her as a fully operational paddle steamer. She is currently  undergoing restoration on the slipway at Balloch.  While the ship is out of the water, LLSC, aims to repair the hull plating, refurbish the paddlewheels and recoat the hull and funnel in the original white, green and buff colours.  The work is being done, almost exclusively, by a dedicated crew of volunteers who bring a wide variety of skills to the task.  The ultimate aim is to return the ship to full operation on Loch Lomond.

‘The Ship on the Slip’ attraction is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday 11am – 4pm.  Visitors can have free access to the A listed Winch House, the slipway, the Museum Cabin and the Pier area. Hard Hat tours and entry to the Model Ship exhibition are payable.

See website for full event details.

Donate to the restoration campaign. 

Read more about Maid of the Loch, one of our Shipshape Network Scotland projects.

Lachie Stewart Region Scotland