Afloat again (on Loch Katrine)

Our party at Stronachlachar during the Loch Katrine excursion on 7 May 2022 — ‘the now usual mix of regulars and first timers’

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.

Trossachs Pier shortly after 10am, with Lady of the Lake (white hull) awaiting us: conditions were ‘pleasant, if overcast’. Click on image to enlarge

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.

Return to Trossachs Pier in time for a soup and sandwich lunch at the Steamship Café. Click on image to enlarge

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.

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Lady of the Lake — top deck looking forward

Lady of the Lake — top deck looking aft




Camaraderie: among the CRSC party were (left to right) David Scott, John Beveridge, Andrew Anderson, Neil Guthrie, Calum Bryce and James Fisher

The surrounding geography is beautiful and unspoiled: Loch Katrine as seen from Lady of the Lake

Stopover at Stronachlachar: time for a stroll and for filling the vessel’s water tanks

Longstanding friends and CRSC supporters John Beveridge and David Scott

Sir Walter Scott under wraps: fundraising for her new boiler is well underway

Another view of Loch Katrine’s 122-year old steamship. In her absence from service, Lady of the Lake has been a godsend in maintaining the programme of excursions on the loch


The pleasures of sailing together again

What now for Sir Walter Scott?

A Cruise on Loch Katrine

Published on 8 May 2022