The S.O.S., Save our Steamship public funding appeal, has entered a crucial phase with a final push to raise the outstanding funds required to restore the historic Steamship Sir Walter Scott which is one of Scotland’s most important maritime heritage treasures.
The 122-year-old Steamship Sir Walter Scott has been out of service on Loch Katrine since 2020 following the discovery of cracks in the previous boilers. £330,000 of the £500,000 required for the restoration has now been secured by the Steamship Trust, who are custodians of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott on behalf of the nation.
As James Fraser, Trustee and C.E.O. of the Steamship Trust explains this success is mainly due to the enormous public support for the appeal and the goodwill of businesses and many volunteers who have stepped forward to help.
“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 100-day campaign begins today (18th March 2022) and concludes on Sunday 26th June, when if the remaining funds have been secured, the Trust should be able to reintroduce Steamship Sir Walter Scott sailings on Loch Katrine.
Members of the public can support the appeal via the special website www.saveoursteamship.com or by post with cheques made payable to Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust, Trossachs Pier, by Callander, FK17 8HZ. There are also donation points at several locations at Loch Katrine for visitors to use and it is hoped businesses, local communities, and individuals will help organise additional fundraising activities to help achieve the final total.
Sir Walter Scott is Loch Katrine’s fourth steamer. Built during 1899 at William Denny & Bros. in Dumbarton, she was dismantled after trials and 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; there, she was reconstructed and launched into Loch Katrine in 1900.
The original steam plant remains intact, with a pump that draws feedwater from the loch for the boiler. However, in 2008 the Steamship moved from coal power to biodiesel. With a return to operation this year, introducing 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.
The historic Steamship is a popular symbol of Loch Katrine which, when operational, glides quietly through its pure waters. In 1859 the loch became a reservoir supply water to much of West and Central Scotland. Through ingenious Victorian engineering, 23.5 miles of aqueducts and tunnels carried clean water for the first time to the city of Glasgow, transforming the health of its vast 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.
The restoration appeal will not only save a National Maritime Heritage Treasure but bring benefits to a wide range of people as the Steamship can carry 220 passengers and is accessible for all mobility and sensory needs. She also plays a crucial role in supporting the wider Trossachs economy, providing and helping to, directly and indirectly, sustain many jobs.
The Steamship also offers very attractive opportunities to combine cruises with family friendly walking and cycling adventures in the heart of the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve and Scotland’s first National Park.