Historic steamship Sir Walter Scott returns

Historic steamship Sir Walter Scott will return to the water following major renovations.

The steamship, which was built by Denny’s of Dumbarton in 1899, is due to be resume sailing this weekend on Loch Katrine.

It comes after the completion of a £750,000 restoration project which involved replacing the two steam boilers and decking as well as other major structural repairs.

The 123-year-old steamship was painstakingly restored over an 18-month period which was made possible thanks to the success of a “Save our Steamship” fundraising appeal.

Donations came in from across the world, boosted by grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Stirling Council.

The steamship 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.

Gordon Allan, managing director of Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd led the restoration work.

‘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 Covid19 which cast a long shadow over the future of our operations,’ said Gordon.

‘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.

‘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.’

When the Sir Walter Scott first sailed in 1900, she was powered by coal, moving in 2008 to biodiesel, which was a transformational moment.

Following this restoration her eco-credentials are even stronger, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by over 90% thanks to a new revolutionary hydrogen and vegetable oil fuel.

Three classic steamship cruises of 2hour and 1hour durations are available daily with regular shorter 45minute sailings also available on the sister ship, Lady of the Lake.

James Fraser, CEO and steamship trustee, added: ‘This national maritime treasure been saved for current and future generations to enjoy the special qualities of Loch Katrine in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

‘It will also make a major contribution to supporting active travel, connectivity and climate change actions which are emerging as key priorities in the recently published draft National Park Partnership Plan.’

To book head to lochkatrine.com

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Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.