Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond’s Paddle Steamer


Building owner/client:

Loch Lomond Steamship Company

Architect or lead designer:

Loch Lomond Steamship Company

Local Authority Area:

West Dunbartonshire

Nominating Body:

The Community Partnership

Project Description

Maid of the Loch is a UK registered historic vessel, and has been owned since 1996 by a registered charity. In 1996 the ship had been vandalised and in danger of sinking, but the charity’s aim has been to return her to steam operation on Loch Lomond once again. The charity is run totally by volunteers, it has no staff. Since 1996, over £2 million has been raised and reinvested in the ship and infrastructure, and over 80,000 hours put into conserving and improving both. The Maid opened as a 2 Star visitor attraction in 2000, and receives around 15,000-18,000 visitors a year. The neglected Category A-Listed Balloch Steam Slipway was rebuilt, to budget, in 2006 and officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. It is now a 3 Star attraction. Both ship and slipway are open 7 days a week during summer, with “In Steam” days at the slipway. The Maid has a small tearoom and is also a venue for events and functions. In 2015, the Heritage Lottery Fund supported LLSC’s £5.5 million application to get the Maid sailing again. A £264,000 development phase is nearing successful completion, with marine reports, a 10 year business plan, conservation plan, and others, all being accepted by HLF. What remains is for the charity to raise £1.7 million, and this will release the £3.8 million HLF have promised the project. LLSC recognise Maid of the Loch as a unique vessel in a world famous setting. Their concept is to create a “Loch Lomond Experience” by giving visitors added value to their enjoyment and understanding of the loch; sailing on a unique and historic steamship; creating up to 25 new jobs; offering training opportunities for young people; and providing inward investment in an area of higher than average unemployment. All of these will help to consolidate Scotland as a world class destination. The project is well supported by the local community, with the current Balloch & Haldane Community Action Plan naming the Maid as one of the key projects to have restored. An operational Maid of the Loch will retain as much original heritage as possible, re-creating her original 1950’s appearance and style, while meeting current marine safety standards and passenger comfort. Importantly, she will enhance existing loch transport and link up lochside communities.

Supporting Statement

At the Community Partnership we believe in the four P’s; people, park, partnership and projects. As a member organisation that brings together community groups big and small across the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park we work to provide a representative voice and celebrate the special qualities that make them special. When we saw that submissions were being received for the ‘My Place Awards’ there was one project that immediately sprang to mind and has a special place in our hearts. The Balloch community in which the project that we have nominated is located is the gateway to the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National park; a welcoming destination for tourists to explore the local countryside and heritage. The ’Maid of the Loch’ project which we have nominated is one of the main local heritage attractions in Balloch and takes centre pride by its community now and has with generations before. As a young ‘lass’ our own Development Manager remembers fond memories ‘setting sail’ whilst working in the kiosk on the world famous paddle steamer selling gifts and chocolate bars to visitors in the early ‘70’s. The amazing work and fundraising achievements by John Beveridge, the founder of the charity, and the Maid’s group of volunteers are testament to their commitment to bring the paddle steamer back to life and through financial investment be able to provide valuable jobs for local people and training opportunities for young as it once did. John Beveridge is enthusiastic about the opportunity for such an award as it would bring public recognition for over 20 years of hard work.