There seems to be positive news about the long laid up as a static attraction, restaurant and events venue, Maid of the Loch paddler on Loch Lomond, currently at Balloch.
There is a good chance of her seeing full restoration to steaming mode. Delivered by A&J Inglis in ’53, the last paddler built in the UK, she was withdrawn in ’81. If restored, it will be thanks to many dogged individuals, volunteer efforts and support from local authorities in the area, and the lottery.
MV Balmoral, however, had a diffi cult 2016 with lost revenue due to machinery problems as well as bad weather which cost cancellations. In total, 32 sailing days out of 117 were lost, roughly half and half for breakdowns and weather. However - hot off the press - a major call from supporters for funds to keep her sailing this year has been successful enough for the trustees to commit to a full and exciting sailing schedule in 2017. I hope to be aboard myself this year.
During a rather bleak and dreary February, disappointing indeed for families at half term holidays, I witnessed the reopening of the 2017 season for MV Swan, one of the three of the larger units of the Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd whose smaller launches work all year round. Swan’s sister Teal was receiving work at Lakeside under her winter cover while the glorious canoe bowed Tern was on the slip there to get her spruced up before relaunching.
Even Windermere, the largest lake in England, can be stormbound and all the Windermere vessels were tied up for a day in late February as ‘Storm Doris’ passed over, as was the Cumbria County Council cable car ferry.