Historic steamship Sir Walter Scott to set sail again on​​​​​​​ Loch Katrine

The Sir Walter Scott has undergone a major restoration

​One of Scotland's most iconic steamships is set to return to "active duty" on Saturday, after the completion of a £750,000 restoration project.

The world famous SS Sir Walter Scott has transported tourists on Loch Katrine, in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, for 120 years.The freshwater steamer was taken out of service in 2020 after an inspection revealed extensive cracks in its boilers. A campaign dubbed SOS - Save our Steamship - was launched to restore the vessel.

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Now, thanks to a huge response from the public; charities and a £130,000 National Lottery Heritage grant together with help from suppliers, plans are in place to return the steamer to the water on Saturday, subject to receiving its passenger certificate.

The vessel is due to set sail again on Saturday, 17 June. Picture: Paul SaundersThe vessel is due to set sail again on Saturday, 17 June. Picture: Paul Saunders
The vessel is due to set sail again on Saturday, 17 June. Picture: Paul Saunders

Gordon Allan, Managing Director of Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd, said: “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.

“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.”

James Fraser, chief executive of the Loch Katrine Steamship Trust, which took over the ship from Scottish Water in 2005, added: “This national maritime treasure has been saved for current and future generations to enjoy the special qualities of Loch Katrine in the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.”The Steamship Sir Walter Scott was built by William Denny and Brothers at Denny’s shipyard at Dumbarton on the River Leven. The 115 ton, 110 feet long vessel came into service on Loch Katrine in spring 1900, after trials on the Clyde in 1899.

The historic vessel was refurbished in 2008 when it moved from being powered by coal to more environmentally friendly bio diesel.The recent restoration ensures the vessel can reduce its carbon emissions further with the use of a revolutionary hydrogen and vegetable oil fuel.Loch Katrine and the Trossachs is known as “the birthplace of Scottish tourism” following the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s blockbuster poem “The Lady of the Lake” in 1810. Scott’s 1818 novel Rob Roy was also set in the area.

The Sir Walter Scott has been operating for 120 yearsThe Sir Walter Scott has been operating for 120 years
The Sir Walter Scott has been operating for 120 years

The rapid growth in tourism led to the introduction of passenger ferry boats and a number of passenger steamships in the 1800s.

In recent years, Loch Katrine has become popular with fans of Outlander after it appeared in an episode of the hit time travelling TV series.

The loch features in the concluding episode of season two. In a scene set in 1968, Brianna and Roger sit at the end of Brenachoile Point, three miles from Trossachs Pier, talking about the past.To coincide with the return of the steamer, which can carry 220 passengers, a new exhibition has been installed on the restored covered pier approach. The multi-media exhibition showcases the story of Loch Katrine as a leading tourist destination.



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