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Engines fired on iconic paddle steamer after revamp

Maid of the Loch moves step closer to sailing again 38 years after last commercial journey.

The Maid of the Loch last sailed commercially in 1981. Loch Lomond Steamship Company

A historic paddle steamer has moved a major step closer to sailing again.

Maid of the Loch’s engines were started in Loch Lomond on Monday, nearly 40 years after its last commercial sailing in 1981.

The transformation began in 1996, with work also taking place to restore the vessel’s appearance back to the original 1950s style.

The Maid of the Loch is currently a static tourist attraction, but it’s hoped she will eventually sail again.

The project has been led by the charity Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC).

John Beveridge, chairman of the LLSC, said: “It has taken us 23 years to achieve this progress, the biggest boost of which has been the successful award of the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, and other funders including The Wolfson Foundation, The Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation and Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.

“We are thrilled to fire up the engines for the first time in nearly four decades and to celebrate the completion of our wonderful £1.1m refit.

“We are still some way from achieving our aim of her sailing again but are more determined than ever to succeed.

“Our fundraising efforts will continue, and, in the meantime, visitors can come and see the Maid in her former glory and enjoy the spectacle of seeing the ship in steam once again.”

In January an attempt to haul the Maid of the Loch out of the water by its original winch house at the Balloch Steam Slipway failed after it broke free from its restraints and ended up back in the water.

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