Maid of the Loch
Ship Number
1474
Vessel Type
Paddle Steamer
Built
Pointhouse Yard, Glasgow, of A.&J. Inglis
Launch Date
March 5, 1953
Delivered
May 4, 1953
Owner
British Railways, Scottish Region
Weight
555 grt
BP Length
191 feet
Breadth
51 feet
No. of Screws
Twin Paddle
Speed (approx)
13.75 knots
Propulsion
Two cylinder compound diagonal engine (Steam) by Rankin & Blackmore, Greenock
Official No.
184986
Registered
Glasgow
I.M.O.
Fate
Preserved
 Maid of the Loch

The Maid Of The Loch was shipped by rail to Balloch, on the southern tip of Loch Lomond. Here the pre-formed sections were reconstructed on a purpose built slip. At a total length of 208' (63m) and weighing some 555 tonnes, she was launched on 5th March 1953 and commenced her first scheduled commercial sailing on 25th May of the same year.
 
Owned initially by the newly nationalised railways, she was transferred to the Scottish Transport Group in 1969 and eventually to Caledonian MacBrayne in 1973.
 
The Maid Of The Loch was the last Paddle Steamer to be built in Britain. She was often criticised over her size and Tonnage, never quite achieving the same public affection as some of her predecessors until more recent times. Although designed to replace two older steamers, she was fitted with only a two cylinder compound diagonal engine, more reminiscent of Clyde paddlers 50 years previous. This engine arrangement was considered adequate at the time, in view of the fact that she would be operating solely as a cruiser in inland waters.
 
Her original livery was all white with a buff funnel, as opposed to the red, white and black livery she carries today, and her duties comprised of sailing to the northern head of Loch Lomond.
 
In later years the Maid Of The Loch terminated at Inversnaid, where passengers could transfer to other vessels as part of the popular three-loch excursion.
 
Her final commercial sailing was on 31st august 1981, after which time she was laid up.
 
 A succession of owners, among them the Alloa Brewery Company, made various attempts to return her to some sort of commercial service. All ventures failed, and the Maid Of The Loch was left to the mercy of the elements, vandals and souvenir hunters. In 1995 a group of local enthusiasts, supported by Dumbarton Council, set up a charitable organisation called the Loch Lomond Steamship Company. The neglected paddle steamer was transferred to their ownership, and she is now undergoing a transformation back to her former glory. As a static attraction at Balloch, she has recently opened to the public marking the first time in 19 years that she has received so many visitors aboard.