100 days to save Scotland's oldest passenger steamship

Campaigners working to restore Scotland’s oldest passenger steamship have set a target of 100 days to save the historic vessel.

The 122-year-old Sir Walter Scott, which has spent its life gently touring the waters of Loch Katrine, has been out of service since cracks were found in the boiler two years ago.

The impressive ‘Save our Steamship’ public appeal has entered a crucial phase with a final push to raise the outstanding funds in order to get it back on the loch by the summer.

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The Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine, where is hopes to sail again this summer. PIC: Paul Saunders.The Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine, where is hopes to sail again this summer. PIC: Paul Saunders.
The Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine, where is hopes to sail again this summer. PIC: Paul Saunders.
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The campaign has set a 100-day deadline to raise the final £170,000 required, with hopes to get it sailing again on June 26.

James Fraser, trustee and chief executive of the Steamship Trust, the custodians of the Sir Walter Scott on behalf of then nation, said there had been “enormous public support” for the appeal so far.

Mr Fraser said: "Almost every day, we're receiving public donations large and small, often accompanied by messages showing their deep affection for Sir Walter Scott Steamship. We are therefore much closer to being able to save, restore and bring back into service Scotland’s much-loved and oldest passenger carrying steamer.

“We are now refocusing the appeal with a mission to raise the outstanding £170,000 in the next 100 days to get Sir Walter Scott Steamship sailing again later this summer. We believe that ambitious target can be met with further public support and would welcome any donations and sponsorships to help fund new decking and other important restoration works.’’

The Steamship Trust has secured the rest of the £500,000 required for the job.

In 2008 the steamship, which carries up to 220 passengers, moved from coal power to biodiesel with the steamship to improve its environmental credentials again this year.

This summer, biodiesel will be replaced by a new ground-breaking green hydrogen and vegetable oil fuel to replace biodiesel would reduce CO2 emissions by over 90% and contribute to the Steamship Trust’s net-zero ambition.

Sir Walter Scott is Loch Katrine's fourth steamer and was named after the author credited with kickstarting the Scottish tourism industry following publication of his epic Lady of the Lake poem, which is set around the loch.

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The steamship was built in 1899 at William Denny & Bros. in Dumbarton. After being dismantled following sea trials, she was transported in sections by barge up the River Leven and Loch Lomond to Inversnaid.

From there, teams of horses lugged the steamship up the steep hills to Stronachlachar where she was reconstructed and launched into Loch Katrine in 1900.

The steamship is a popular symbol of Loch Katrine which in 1859 became a reservoir supply water to much of west and central Scotland. In a feat of Victorian engineering, 23.5 miles of aqueducts and tunnels were constructed to channel clean water for the first time to Glasgow, transforming the health of the city’s population.

Still in operation today, up to 120 million gallons per day can be extracted from the loch through this system, with the famous Tennant's Lager brewed with water from the loch.

To support the appeal, visit www.saveoursteamship.com.

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