Maid of the Loch set to open its doors on Easter weekend
The vessel, which was the last paddle steamer built in Britain, is undergoing restoration works.
It has been all hands on deck to get Maid of the Loch ship-shape for Easter weekend.
The vessel, which was the last paddle steamer built in Britain, is undergoing restoration works but will be up and running for its traditional egg hunt at Balloch Pier in Loch Lomond.
Thanks to a £950,000 cash injection from the Scottish Government, the tearoom will open its newly refurbished doors, and guided tours of the ship and neighbouring Balloch Steam Slipway will be on offer.
Whilst the refurbishment is still "work in progress", visitors will be able to hear first-hand how the historic vessel is being renovated to restore it close to its original 1950s style.
Work includes the refurbished promenade aft deck saloon, set for completion at the end of June, which will serve as an education facility for school visits and as a small function suite.
Further renovation includes The Queens' Lounge at the stern, currently undergoing significant strengthening and upgrading works to make it fit-for-purpose for larger events and functions. A lift will also be fitted to provide assistance between decks.
New pipework will also be fitted next month to get the steam engines operating again and turning over slowly by the end of June.
The Maid currently operates as a static tourist attraction, however The Loch Lomond Steamship Company which has worked tirelessly since 1996 to transform and restore the ship, hopes to get it fully operational once again.
John Beveridge, chairman of The Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said: "It really has been all hands-on deck in recent months thanks to the funding we received earlier this year, and our naval architects and contractors have worked wonders so far.
"Work is very much still ongoing and will be until June/July time, however there are areas that can be enjoyed by visitors and we are thrilled to be able to open in time for Easter and host our traditional egg hunt.
"We can't wait to welcome children, families and enthusiasts back on board this year and for them to get a glimpse of the Maid's former glory."
The Easter egg hunt will take place from Friday until Sunday, April 21.
From Easter weekend onwards, Maid of the Loch will open every day until the end of October. Opening hours and any closures due to works on the ship will be posted on its website and social media.
Maid of the Loch
- Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer built in Britain.
- It was built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow and was launched on March 5, 1953. It entered service later that year.
- The ship operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years, and as with other steamers, cost pressures led to the ship being laid up after a last commercial sailing on August 31, 1981.
- A series of attempts to bring the boat back into service under a succession of owners were unsuccessful, to which it gradually deteriorated at the side of the loch.
- Since 2016, it has been undergoing restoration work at Balloch Pier thanks to The Loch Lomond Steamship Company.