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May 1st, 2011

Steamship Sir Walter Scott Joins ‘Historic Fleet’

The status of the steamship Sir Walter Scott as one of the UK’s most historically important vessels has been marked by the raising of a new ensign bearing the mark of National Historic Ships’ Historic Fleet.

For well over 100 years since its launch back in 1899, the Sir Walter Scott has been providing countless visitors and tourists with the memorable experience of travelling on a steamship to admire the enchanting landscapes of Loch Katrine. Today, it is believed to be the oldest steamship still operating a regular passenger service in Scotland, with daily sailings available from April to October.

The ship itself was constructed by one of Scotland’s best-known shipbuilders – William Denny of Dumbarton, who fitted what was then a state-of-the-art passenger steamer with the latest design of triple expansion steam engine, built by Paul & Co of Dumbarton.

Robin Denny, a descendant of the famous Denny family, returned to Loch Katrine in April 2011 to assist the team which looks after the Sir Walter Scott on a day-to-day basis, and to join Operations Director Gordon Allan in unveiling a plaque commemorating the hard work of the many highly skilled professionals and volunteers who contributed to the refurbishment of the ship, which was completed in 2009.

Historic FleetRobin’s visit to Loch Katrine has been appreciated by Gordon and his team. “Robin is a regular visitor to Loch Katrine, and he is a great supporter of all the effort which goes into maintaining a grand old steamship like ours. You could say it’s after sales service – more than 100 years on!  For us, though, Robin represents a wonderful link to the people who, over a century ago, sat at a drawing board and undertook the painstaking process of putting together every last nut, bolt, and piece of timber, before launching the steamship, then transporting her up Loch Lomond and overland from Inversnaid to her home on Loch Katrine.”

Both the new ensign and the plaque were arranged by Graham Ellis, a founding Trustee of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust, the charity which owns and operates the ship. Graham added: “The continued existence of the Sir Walter Scott as an operational passenger steamship is down to the fantastic restoration work which was undertaken over the harsh winter months by the many highly skilled engineers, craftsmen and volunteers who worked at the Stronachlachar slipway, to ensure that today’s visitors can enjoy travelling on such a beautiful, comfortable vessel. The plaque recognises the exceptional quality of their work, and the contribution they have made to ensuring the future of such an historic vessel”.