Work to repair and replace the Balloch steam slipway and carriage has been given a £94,000 boost.

The funding from Historic Environment Scotland was announced by Loch Lomond Steamship Company today.

The steam-powered slipway is the only one surviving and operational in Europe, and the project will retain as much of the historic fabric as possible.

Bogies have been salvaged from the original carriage, along with large horizontal spars, and all will form part of the new carriage.

The repairs to the slipway and carriage will facilitate the slipping of the Maid of the Loch paddle steamer which will allow essential repairs and conservation work to be carried out on the vessel.

Anne Urquhart, volunteer director at Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said: “Two years on from the unfortunate incident with the Maid of the Loch’s old slipway carriage Loch Lomond Steamship Company is close to completing a new much stronger replacement.

“That is thanks to this generous grant from Historic Environment Scotland.

“The winch house and slipway is a Category A listed structure and is the only slipway still in steam in Europe so it is truly unique and its preservation is essential.

“To know that Historic Environment Scotland has the confidence in us as a volunteer-led charity to complete such a complicated task is both humbling and very reassuring.

“Our heritage engineer, Jim Mitchell, has been our champion in leading the project and we’re extremely grateful for all his efforts to first secure the funds and then to organise the work of a small band of dedicated volunteers to salvage useful material from the old carriage and assemble its replacement.”

Maid of the Loch was launched on to the waters of Loch Lomond in 1953 and carried many thousands of passengers until she was taken out of service in 1981.

Volunteers became responsible for her in 1996 and since then have restored her to the static visitor attraction she is today, but the aim of the charity, Loch Lomond Steamship Company, is to return her to cruising again on Loch Lomond.

Find out more about our Shipshape Network Scotland Projects here.

News item taken from 23 Mar 21
Maid of the Loch and new hitch assembly (c) The Lochside Press