The future of this national historic maritime treasure is under threat
The charitable trust that looks after the 121-year-old Sir Walter Scott Steamship has launched an urgent appeal to preserve the iconic steamship and get her back sailing on Loch Katrine.
The SOS appeal to ‘Save our Steamship’ seeks to raise £500,000 to restore the historic steamer, which requires a new boiler and other significant repairs. These funds will have to be secured by the end of this year to allow work to begin in time to allow her to resume sailing during summer 2022 and to avoid further deterioration. She has not sailed since the annual inspection in January 2020 which revealed hairline cracks in the boiler which led to it being condemned.
Launched away back in 1900, Sir Walter Scott Steamship is named after the novelist and poet, born exactly 250 years ago, whose ‘Lady of the Lake’ poem, published in 1810 put Loch Katrine and the Trossachs on the map, resulting in it becoming the ‘Birthplace of Scottish Tourism’. Crowds have continued to flock to Loch Katrine to sail on the Steamship and enjoy this special part of Scotland in the heart of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park which is also the source of Glasgow’s main water supply.
James Fraser, Trustee and CEO of the Steamship Trust, said: ‘’Our efforts to restore the Steamship have been severely hampered by the impact of Covid 19 lockdowns which meant we have not been able to generate enough trading income to repair and restore the steamship to full sailing. Sadly, as a result of the prolonged cessation of sailings the Steamship has rapidly deteriorated and this is a situation we are anxious to reverse quickly as there is a real danger of us losing the boat permanently.
Many generations of visitors have had enormous pleasure sailing on the historic Sir Water Scott Steamship. We have to act now to make sure that current and future generations will be able to enjoy cruises on this national maritime heritage treasure.'’
The Steamship plays an important role in supporting the fragile Trossachs rural economy and is a significant local employer, with many additional indirect jobs dependent on the Steamship being in operation.
As well as providing much needed transport links on the loch for sightseers, cyclists and walkers, the vessel can carry 220 passengers and is accessible for all levels of mobility and sensory needs. When restored the Steamship will also be a leading example of an eco-friendly water transport visitor experience in Scotland with low carbon emissions due to a ground-breaking hydrogen-based fuel mix that it is planned to use.
Financial support for help to save this important national maritime heritage asset which brings so much pleasure to so many people can be made on site at Loch Katrine or via the SOS appeal website www.saveoursteamship.com