On Maid of the Loch

I feel incredibly lucky to have travelled on Loch Lomond on the paddle steamer, ‘Maid of the Loch’. This old paddle steamer still exists. It was 1970 and my (then fiancée) and I were youth hostelling in Scotland. I can tell you this was a grand holiday for me as we did much of our travelling by train, covering the West Highland line, The Kyle Line and the far north line. We also used ferries and one of them was from Balloch Pier to Tarbet and this was our trip on Maid of the Loch.

Actually, back then she was still a comparative youngster for she had been built in 1953 – the last paddle steamer built in Britain. Interestingly (to me at any rate) was that she was made as a construction kit and delivered to Tarbet by rail for assembly,

The memory of sound shifts in the Glasgow area stick with me. As we awaited the arrival of the Maid at Balloch Pier an excited Glasgow youngster saw her coming and called, ’Mammy, It’s a beg shap’. Or, as we Sassenachs might say, ‘Mummy, it’s a big ship’.

I surely have a photo of The Maid somewhere. This was the era of half frame colour slides on my little Canon Demi camera.

What I have here is a bit of the sharp end and a view of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond.

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I have driven up past Loch Lomond several times since and I have to say I find it hard to actually get to the banks to find out if they are ‘bonny’. But on Maid of the Loch it was a glorious experience and I am delighted to have made that trip. Yet I do have one regret for it means there is a part of the West Highland railway – the bit alongside Loch Long – that I have still never travelled.

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