CRSC’s second group outing within a month — this time on Loch Katrine — was ‘a very relaxed affair, much enjoyed by all’. Report by Graeme Hogg.
Our ever-inventive Cruising Coordinator, Neil Guthrie, came up with something a bit different for our second opportunity to sail together in 2022, when he arranged a group excursion on Loch Katrine, followed by lunch in the Steamship Café at Trossachs Pier.
Many of us, myself included, tend to overlook Loch Katrine as a place to go for a sail. In my case, my last trip was on Sir Walter Scott’s centenary charter by the Club, way back in 2000. How embarrassing. Unfortunately, ‘Sir Walter’ remains out of commission awaiting a new boiler. She sits forlornly at her berth, shrouded in plastic sheeting, while a campaign continues to raise funds for putting her back in steam. Her newish deck saloon does nothing for her appearance, and is one of my excuses for not having sailed on her in recent years, but it will be great to see her back in service, hopefully in the not too distant future.
In her stead, our select party of 19 was to enjoy a two hour trip to Stronachlachar and back aboard Lady of the Lake, which arrived on Loch Katrine some years ago as consort to ‘Sir Walter’. Having started life in the Netherlands, she first came to these parts at the time of the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival when, as Pride of the Clyde, she provided a water bus service from the Broomielaw to the festival site.
Similar sailings continued for a few years afterwards, before she was transported to Loch Katrine. Along with Rob Roy, a former Ulva ferry, she provides cruises on the loch over an extended season and has been a godsend in maintaining a service in the absence of the star attraction.
Our party gathered in good time to board for our 10.30 cruise. It contained the now usual mix of regulars and first timers. Most were fairly local but one gentleman had come up from Chesterfield for the trip, intending to round out his weekend with a Sunday excursion to Campbeltown on Isle of Arran.
It was an unexpected pleasure to see that our skipper for the trip was Ken Henderson, erstwhile chief engineer on Waverley. Ken joined the Loch Katrine operation some years back, expecting to put his steam engineering skills to good use on Sir Walter Scott, but discovered he was expected to multi task and so qualified as skipper. He has also been known to serve the teas and coffees on board.
Ken made us very welcome and we duly set off. He was responsible for providing the informative and amusing commentary throughout the cruise. We learnt much about the history of the loch, ancient and modern, and the surrounding geography, which is beautiful and unspoiled.
Lady of the Lake is fairly small. She has a saloon with café/bar facility and an open top deck, which is where most of our group gathered in fairly pleasant, if overcast, conditions. The loch is only 11 miles long: our trip to Stronachlachar took just under an hour.
Normally, those on the round trip would stay aboard, but Ken agreed our party could go ashore for a team photograph and promised not to leave without us. While the vessel was alongside, the time was used to fill the water tanks.
On our return to Trossachs Pier, we adjourned to the Steamship Café for a soup and sandwich lunch. As with the rest of the day it was a very relaxed affair and seemed to be much enjoyed by all, but by around 2pm the plates were empty and it was time to leave.
Once again, Neil had done an excellent job organising the day. The end coincided with the first rain of the day, which proves Neil must have some special deal with the weather gods.
Thanks to Graeme Hogg, Iain Cruise MacKinnon and Neil Guthrie for photos.
Have you joined CRSC? If not, you’re missing out! We are a group of ship enthusiasts with an active programme of excursions, talks, internet presentations and much else. Sign up here.
Published on 8 May 2022