Take a seat on a piece of history at Maid of the Loch
Loch Lomond’s paddle steamer, Maid of the Loch, has welcomed its original buoyancy benches back on-board the historic ship. The buoyancy seats were part of the ship’s original lifesaving apparatus and were designed to float if the boat were to sink, giving passengers something to grab onto until help came. Due to years of continuous weather exposure, the benches were subsequently in need of restoration as part of the Maid’s refurbishment project; and were transported to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine where they were fully transformed. The seats have been put back to their former glory alongside a ‘lost’ seat that was discovered by a diver in 2014 and restored by a Maid volunteer. They are now joined together and are currently situated on the rooftop deck where they can seat up to eight people. Guests to the Maid can sit and enjoy the Northly views around one of Scotland’s bonniest loch’s from Inchmurrin to Balloch Country Park.
John Beveridge, Director of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said: “We’re thrilled to have our buoyancy seats back onboard; they’re part of Maid legacy and it’s come just in time for our guests to enjoy the rest of the summer whilst enjoying the scenic views.
“The Scottish Maritime Museum did a fantastic job of restoring the seats to their original state and none of it would be possible without the help of our local company Galt Transport, who transported the two benches from Balloch Pier to the Museum. Everyone who has contributed to the Maid, whether it be financially or through hard labour, significantly helps us reach our end goal to get her sailing again.”
David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, added: “It has been a joy and privilege to watch our boat building team of apprentices and trainees work on the buoyancy seat. The Scottish Maritime Museum has been supportive of the herculean task the team at the Maid have undertaken and hope that we can continue to do so as they start work on the refit of this wonderful old vessel.” The Maid currently operates as a static tourist attraction and has received a number of its original historic treasures back after putting out an amnesty appeal earlier this year, including the builder’s plaque and passenger ‘clicker’.
Charity Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC) has worked tirelessly since 1996 to transform and restore the ship, with the aim of bringing her ‘back to life’ and fully operational once again.