Maid of the Loch paves the way for new beginnings
Loch Lomond paddle steamer, Maid of the Loch, has been given a £25,000 grant from Historic Environment Scotland to carry out essential repair work on Balloch Pier, the first phase in the campaign to get the historic ship ready to sail once again.
The work being carried out by Kelsen Technical Ltd, marks the start of a £6m refit of Maid of the Loch and Balloch Pier, subject to a £3.8m donation from Heritage Lottery Fund which will be announced next week.
Work has commenced to repair and replace missing stonework, repoint and remove the original bollards, fastenings and supports, which have been significantly damaged over the years owing to weather exposure. The project is expected to take up to three weeks to complete and will provide a solid structure for the Maid to moor at once sailing.
John Beveridge, Director of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said: “Balloch Pier has been home to Maid of the Loch for many years now, and this work is the first piece of construction and indeed stepping stones towards the £6m refurbishment of the Maid and Pier. After all the years of fundraising it’s a significant milestone to see work actually taking place.
“Visitors to the Maid will be able to view the work taking place during this exciting development, and we hope this will be the beginning of many projects to come as we bring her ‘back to life’ next year.”
Dr David Mitchell, Director of Conservation from Historic Environment Scotland said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the restoration of the Maid of Loch pier, which is an important part of the historic Balloch waterfront.
“This important masonry repair work will also contribute to knowledge needed in the repair of other historic piers in Scotland and is part of our ongoing work to research appropriate repairs to traditional harbours and marine infrastructure.”
Balloch Pier previously served as a railway station and operated a ‘steamer service’ directly to PS Maid of the Loch. This ceased in 1986 and was paved over for pedestrian use in 1999. The building site currently encroaches onto the piers decking but is open to visitors as usual.