Celebrating a Maid at 50


On 2 November 2003 the Scottish Branch of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Loch Lomond paddle steamer Maid of the Loch. It was a fine brisk autumn day the first part of which was a three hour sailing on the loch aboard Messrs Sweeney's motor vessel Lomond Duchess. In this view Lomond Duchess is just about to pass from the River Leven into Loch Lomond, a first view of the 'Maid' from the 'other' side

















And the view from astern






















Lomond Duchess sailed north affording her passengers good views of the spectacular autumnal scene.

Near the southern end of Loch Lomond sits the highly prestigious and world-renowned Cameron House Hotel, a favourite retreat for the rich and famous from pop stars to Pavarotti, footballers to presidents. The house was originally built in the 18th Century for the Telford-Smollett family



















If you've ever wondered what the directors of major steamship companies get up to in the off season, all is revealed. Dr Joe McKendrick, aboard Lomond Duchess today, has been a director of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company and Waverley Excursions Ltd since the earliest days of preservation and is currently deputy chairman of Waverley Steam. Many will know that Dr Joe has been responsible for Waverley and Balmoral's souvenir emporia, vital sources of revenue for the preservation cause, for very many years.

But where did you get that hat, Joe? Actually this was a gift from a well known confectionary supplier as a thank you for particularly high sales aboard the paddler. Joe had asked for a brolly but this is what he got. You will note that Joe's horns are drooping somewhat - due to the ambient temperature on the loch, I think.

(The real story is that he was at a Halloween party last night and forgot to take it off). Anyway, Joe's immense support of the preservation effort is something we are all very conscious of.





























Text Box:  The spectacular autumn tints on Loch Lomond’s bonnie, bonnie banks


This is part of the natural vegetation on the island of Inchcaillach












A planned call at the old steamer pier at

Balmaha had to be abandoned due to the

very low level of the loch following the

very dry summer of 2003.


Lomond Duchess approaching Balmaha.












Instead of Balmaha Lomond Duchess made a brief call at Luss for a run ashore - it wasn't difficult to obey the prohibitive notice on the pier
































The view back to Luss from the 'Duchess’ as she leaves to head back to Balloch. the two boats operate short excursions on the Loch in summer. The 'flying boat' was offering flights from the beach in front of the rapidly expanding Lodge on the Loch. Below another spectacular view of Loch Lomond in the Bandry Strait where Maid of the Loch grounded, without damage, during a period of low levels




















Soon Lomond Duchess was passing Rossdhu House, which was built for Sir James Colquhoun, the 19th baronet of Luss, the Chief of Clan Colquhoun. Rossdhu means 'black headland'. The spectacular Georgian mansion is accredited to the famous architect Robert Adam. The house, built in 1773, was the home of the Colquhoun chiefs until a few years ago when it became the clubhouse and hotel of the Loch Lomond Golf Course. The course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, is now one of the world's most prestigious (and expensive). An international competition is held every year and the winner’s trophy is a large silver representation of Rossdhu House – this is


























The view (below) from Lomond Duchess as she heads back into the Leven, the focus of the day, the Maid herself, beckons us for lunch.  In the background is the dubious Drumkinnon Tower of the Loch Lomond Shores development, said to be designed as a mock Scottish castle - mock being the operative term.




















After our fine sailing on Lomond we were ready for our lunch on the Maid of the Loch and following the superb meal, the vessel's 50th anniversary was commemorated by the presentation of a cheque for £500 by PSPS Scottish Branch Chairman Deryk Docherty (right in picture below) to Colin Paterson, Chairman of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company (left).
Mr Paterson thanked the PSPS for its long term support of the Maid project. He noted the Scottish Branch's wish that this donation be used to restore or replace some of the heritage fittings of the vessel (e.g. the steam whistle) when she resumes sailing on the loch.

Mr Paterson remarked on the recent setback when the Heritage Lottery Fund approved the application for restoration of the Balloch steam patent slipway (necessary for the Maid project to advance further) but could not support it financially through lack of funds. It was indicated that the application will be reconsidered next year. He re-iterated his determination to get Maid of the Loch sailing again.



















The twin cranks of Maid of the Loch's Rankin & Blackmore compound expansion diagonal reciprocating engine.

















And the ‘sticks’ ready for the ‘Chief’s’ attention – well nearly
















Preserved in Maid of the Loch's newly restored forward lower deck saloon, is the wheel of the Denny-built former Loch Awe / Clyde / West Highland and Loch Lomond motor ship Countess of Breadalbane / Countess of Kempock / Countess Fiona which was destroyed on Balloch slip a few years ago. Hastie’s of Greenock, the renowned steering gear manufacturer, made the wheel



















Maid of the Loch's Jubilee was celebrated with style and panache.  My long held view, that the best way to see the justly renowned bonnie banks of Loch Lomond are from the decks of a steamer, was confirmed and enforced. The Maid must sail again.

Warmest thanks to PSPS Scottish Branch Secretary Gordon Wilson for organising a wonderful day.


















Stuart Cameron

Glasgow, 2 November 2003.