Century-old steamship back in action after £750,000 restoration

The Sir Walter Scott, which was built in 1899, was missing in action from Loch Katrine for three years.

Century-old steamship Sir Walter Scott back in action on Loch Katrine after £750,000 restoration Paul Saunders Photography

A 124-year-old steamship is due to resume sailing this week following a £750,000 restoration project.

The Sir Walter Scott, which was built by Denny’s of Dumbarton in 1899, was missing in action from Loch Katrine for three years due to cracked boilers.

The boat is named after the famous poet, whose 1810 poem The Lady of the Lake is responsible for Loch Katrine being credited with being the birthplace of Scottish tourism.

Restoration work on the vessel involved replacing the two steam boilers and decking as well as other major structural repairs.

It was carried out by the ship’s own in-house team over an 18-month period, with the support of specialist contractors.

To coincide with the return of the Sir Walter Scott, a new exhibition has been installed on the restored covered-pier approach, showcasing the story of Loch Katrine as a leading tourist destination with a tradition of steamships operating on the loch for almost two centuries.

Gordon Allan, managing director of Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd, who led the restoration work, said: ‘’The return of the steamship to service for the public to once again enjoy sailing on Loch Katrine under the power of steam is a major achievement given the cost and complexity of the repair works as we emerged from the dark days of Covid 19, which cast a long shadow over the future of our operations.

“We feared Steamship Sir Walter Scott would not sail again and her reintroduction to service this summer has only been possible because of the tremendous support we have received from the public who have demonstrated their affection for the steamship with generous donations.

“We are also grateful to funding bodies for the various grants we have received and our various suppliers and contractors.

“Importantly, I would like to pay tribute to our own dedicated staff and volunteers who have worked so hard, often in difficult weather conditions, to ensure the restoration works were completed in time for what I hope will be a busy season.’’

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