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About Us

Welcome to the website for the historic steamship Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond’s Paddle Steamer. Visit her on the world famous Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, at Balloch Pier.

Maid of the Loch is open to the public as a family-friendly historic visitor attraction and as a totally unique venue for events and functions.

The restored Grade A listed Balloch Steam Slipway is capable of pulling the 555 gross ton Maid of the Loch out of the loch. Regular “In Steam” days allow the steam engine and gearing system to be seen in operation.

Several companies and organisations have helped us by providing equipment and/or services either free of charge or at cost. Our thanks to them.

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Who We Are?

The Maid of Loch started operating in 1953 the same year as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II but the maid fell on hard times as passenger numbers dwindled and the ship was eventually mothballed in 1981.For more than 30 decades ago , the Mid of the Loch has been tied up by the quayside.The old maid is preparing for a new lease of life probably in the summer of 2018 we could see the last paddle steamer built in Britain sail once more.However, 1.7 million pounds need to be raised by the autumn of 2017 to finish the restoration.

 

We hope to be offering good quality Scottish catering, bar facilities and learning and development facilities that allow not just school children but tourists and anyone who is interested to understand the history of shipbuilding on the Clyde, how a paddle steamer works and the work which has been done to get this one back to being shipshape. poloniex

 

 

A little bit of history..

Did you know that there is a historic legacy in the UK where investment in existing transport modalities are phased out as new ones come along.In the 19th century, there was a rapid decline of canals that reflected this opinion where there was growing financial investment on the railway system.

 

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The UK has over 4,000 miles of inland waterways.The heyday of boat hiring for holidays on the canals were during the 1970S and 1980s.There weren’t as many private boats as we have today where they rule the roost.Of course the history of hire boating goes back a lot further than 40 years. The first boats available for weekly hire appeared on the Norfolk Broads and the River Thames in the early part of the 20th century. Canal holidays lagged some way behind – it was not until the 1930s that pioneering boatyards such as the Inland Cruising Association (subsequently Inland Hire Cruisers) at Chester began offering boats for hire on the Llangollen and Shropshire Union canals.

 

Hire bases began to spring up around the system from the late 1940s. Early operators included the Wyvern Shipping Co at Leighton Buzzard on the Grand Union Canal, Blue Line at Braunston, Canal Pleasurecraft at Stourport and Swan Line at Fradley on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Canal Cruising Co at Stone, established in 1947 by Rendel Wyatt, was one of the notable early firms. It was their hire cruiser Ailsa Craig that was famously hired by IWA co-founders Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman for a campaigning cruise through Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.  The company is still in business today, and is still run by members of the Wyatt family.

 

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Early canal cruisers came in all shapes and sizes and were, by today’s standards, decidedly primitive. Toilets were either ‘bucket and chuck it’, with shovels supplied to bury the contents, or were sea-toilets, flushing straight into the canal (unthinkable, and indeed illegal, today). On board heating was largely non-existent and drinking water was generally stored in bulky containers.

Outboard engines were the norm, and lengthy treks carrying petrol cans to distant garages were all part of the canal holiday.  Then came the steel narrowboat and with it, in stages, came water-cooled diesel engines, proper drinking-water tanks, better cooking and heating facilities and, perhaps best of all, pumpout toilets. The advances in boat technolgy and design have continued and the hire boat of today is a real home-from-home featuring showers, central heating, full-sized cookers and fridges, colour TVs, DVD players and videos. kucoin

 

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Over the years operators have come and gone. There were Shropshire Union Cruises at Norbury Junction, Ladyline at Barbridge, Aylesbury Cruisers, Club Line Cruisers at Coventry and Brummagem Boats in central Birmingham, to name but a few. All are now consigned to history.  British Waterways had a go at hiring too in the 1960s and ‘70s, and were berated by other operators for doing so; “landlords competing on unfair terms with their tenants” was the oft repeated complaint. They gave up after a while, to concentrate on running the waterways.

But other operators came and stayed. The industry produces more than its fair share of great survivors, big and small. Anglo-Welsh, Alvechurch Boat Centres and Black Prince have all been on the scene for 30 years or more, but so too have small family concerns like Chas Hardern on the Shropshire Union Canal and Teddesley Boat Company on the Staffs & Worcs Canal.

Maid of the Loch Events

 

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Refurbished dining area

 

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The vessel is an unusual and exceptional venue for private lunches and dinners, formal functions, weddings, conferences etc. and bookings are now being taken. To reserve contact:-

Canapes Catering Co.

 

 

Unit 6/8, 321/329 Burnfield Road,

Glasgow G46 7NA

Tel: 0141-632 5074. Fax 0141-636 5301

For direct Maid of the Loch bookings ring 01389-710138 or:-

 

email: maid @canapes.co.uk

 

Maid of the Loch: The last paddle steamer built in Britain.

History of steamboats.

Before cars , trains or airplanes existed , rivers were used and they used to carry goods and people from one place to the other.It was often slow because the travel depended on the manpower and the current of the river. However, in the late 1700s and early 1800s , all that changed with the introduction of steam-powered boats which could travel up to five miles an hour.There were occasional accidents from explosions  and sinking.

 

 

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Types of steamboats

Most people when they hear about steamboats , what comes to their mind is any boat that is run by a steam engine .However , in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries these steamboats were paddlewheel boats which shared a basic design.They had a body made of timber , which steel was used later , and a wooden paddle wheel which had a circular centre with spokes coming from it like a bicycle wheel.Planks were attached to the spokes to make the paddle which was placed on the the side and rear of the boat. bitpanda

 

Dangers of Steamboats

One of the biggest dangers of steamboat travel was boiler explosion.If the boilers were not carefully watched and maintained , the pressure could build up in the boilers and cause a deadly and spectacular explosion.The General Slocum was recorded as one of the worst steam boat disasters ever recorded in history.The disaster killed about 958 people who were on board injuring 175.Because of this danger , steamboats did not last more than five years as they were destroyed after less than three years of travel.

 

Demise of steamboats

Steamboats ruled trade and travel in the 1800s and 1900s until they were replaced by newer forms of transportation.They began facing stiff competition from railroads as early the 1830s.In the 20th century , the invention of cars , trucks and airplanes rendered the steamboats obsolete and are no longer in the waterways up to date, but they will always remain one of the most important advances in technology.

 

Maid of the Loch

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The Maid of the Loch, by the world famous Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, at Balloch Pier, is the last paddle steamer built in Britain and the last in a long line of paddle steamers on the loch, dating back to 1818.Moored on the shores of Loch Lomond the Maid of the Loch and the surrounding area offers a great day out for all the family.In addition to the main attractions – the historic ship and the steam slipway – explore everything that the locale has on offer at nearby Loch Lomond Shores, including the aquarium, sandy beaches, BBQ and picnic areas, bike hire, boat trips, fun fair, woodland walks and plenty of Loch Lomond shopping.

 

 

 

Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond’s Paddle Steamer, is currently open on weekends and holidays.   

 

There is a tea-room on-board serving lovely coffee and cakes. (Opening hours change outwith Scottish School holidays).Come Aboard! and see her magnificent steam engines and paddles; there are model ship displays and local history exhibits. Learn about the story of the Maid herself, built in Glasgow in 1953, taken in sections to Balloch, and re-assembled on the slipway. There are audio visual displays featuring different aspects of the Maid over the years, including rare footage of her sailing.

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