On the Spot: John Beveridge

Maid of the Loch departs Luss on 29 July 1981, dressed overall for the wedding day of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Copyright CRSC Dr Joe McKendrick Collection

As chairman of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, John Beveridge has a busy schedule procuring the necessary funds to enable Maid of the Loch to return to steam. Here, he pauses for breath to answer the ‘On the Spot’ questions fired at him by Stuart Craig.

John Beveridge

What is your earliest memory of sailing on a Clyde steamer?

The Comet. Yes, I am that old — but no, it was the 1962 replica in the Kingston Dock in Glasgow. Seriously, my earliest memory of sailing is of Saint Columba. Her three red and black funnels and the large fabric sofas stick in my mind.

What was the last sailing you took?

Waverley on Saturday 26 August 2018 – a short (4.5 hour) cruise from Helensburgh to anchoring at the Tail O’ the Bank. Brilliant weather, good company, but a distinct lack of steaming, although the bar did a record trade! [The paddler developed boiler trouble after leaving Helensburgh]

Holidays: Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran?

Rothesay, Arran, and Millport. And we did go once to Tarbert on Saint Columba and Iona on King George V.

What is your favourite steamer?

Caledonia (or do I have to say Maid of the Loch?). The ‘Caley’ was a great sea boat and had the top deck open forward of the bridge. I remember going on holiday to Rothesay one September weekend with the waves breaking over her bridge. There were not many piers she did not visit.

Which was Waverley’s best livery — LNER, CSP or CalMac?

No contest – LNER.

Earliest memory — Saint Columba. Copyright CRSC David Landale Collection

What was your favourite ‘Maid’ (if old enough) or ‘streaker’ (if young enough)?

Another age question! It has to be Maid of the Loch.

Jeanie Deans or Waverley?


A new turbine has been built on the Clyde. What would you name her?

Old style name – Scotia. New style name — Clyde Princess.

What would you like to see happen on the Clyde ferry scene over the next few years?

Abandon Ardrossan and re-open Fairlie. Standardise type of vessels to allow inter-changeability. Allow viewing gallery forward for passengers.

The best point-to-point route you’ve sailed on?

Rothesay to Tighnabruaich. Never fails to inspire me. If that’s not allowed, it has to be Glenelg to Kylerhea. Excitement, danger and fear – and that’s only getting on to the ferry, never mind the tidal race.

Which pier would you like to see re-open?

Tarbet, Balmaha, Rowardennan – take your pick! On the Clyde it has to be Arrochar (or am I being selfish?).

The ‘Maid’ at Rowardennan. Copyright CRSC/Walter Bowie

What inspired you to join CRSC?

I first joined CRSC in 1967 because of information on steamers; and rejoined in 2011 – Andrew Clark has mastered the art of arm-twisting.

If CRSC had loads of money in the bank, what would you spend it on?

Cataloguing the collection of images and artefacts for future generations, and digitising the images. Investing in a cinema-style winter meeting room would be nice.

What makes you continue your membership of the club, year on year?

Magazine quality fantastic; winter meetings (mostly) really interesting; good attempts at unusual outings. I’ve even been on these despite it being all diesel/motor/battery-powered car ferries these days! Whatever next — LNG ferries?

What could the Club do better?

I’m going to be controversial and say ditch the Review, unless it is (a) produced the year following the Review year, and (b) it is made more readable and less like a captain’s log recording every crossing.

CRSC has contributed to Maid of the Loch’s restoration. Will you? Click on Loch Lomond Steamship Company.

P.S. Caledonia (David Landale) - CRSC Digitised Collection

Good sea boat: Caledonia leaving Rothesay. Copyright CRSC David Landale Collection

Favourite ‘Maid’: Maid of the Loch, arriving at Tarbet in the early 1970s. Copyright CRSC/Walter Bowie

Slipping Maid of the Loch at Balloch on 27 June 2006 — an essential step towards restoration. Copyright LLSC

Celebrating the Heritage Lottery Fund pledge on board Maid of the Loch in 2015, with John Beveridge right of centre in pink shirt. For 30 years John has campaigned tirelessly to bring the ‘Maid’ back to life. He is now within touching distance of his goal: it would be his crowning achievement to see her sailing again. Copyright LLSC

Published on 3 September 2018