A £94,108 grant by Historic Environment Scotland will allow the Maid of the Loch’s steam slipway at Balloch to be fully rebuilt.
Volunteers have already salvaged bogies and other usable parts of the original cradle which was damaged in January 2019 when the paddle steamer was hauled up, out for the water, for inspection.
Now, under the charge of the Maid’s heritage engineer, John Mitchell, the steam-powered slipway, a listed structure, the only one of its type in Europe, will be returned to working order to allow the 1953-built Loch Lomond, railway steamer, to be slipped for a full hull survey and maintenance as a key part of the drive to return the paddler to cruising condition.
Anne Urquhart, Lock Lomond Steamship Company volunteer organiser, said: “We are delighted that Historic Environment Scotland has shown such confidence in our work to return Maid of the Loch to sailing condition by making this grant which will allow us to complete the slipway to full, working order.”
As many as possible of the cradle’s original components have been retained and refurbished. But, with a new, and stronger, towing hitch, attaching the cradle to the steel rope from the steam engine, the whole set of machinery has been future-proofed to ensure that slipping the paddler can be carried out without incident or concern.
Historic Environment Scotland said that they were delighted to support the Maid’s return to service by making the grant.