Balloch Slipway Helps Bata Breine and Silver Dolphin
Bata Greine, “Boat of the Sun”, was taken out of the water on Saturday 25 March for underwater survey and maintenance.
This unique solar powered vessel is owned by the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, and was built in 2006 in Germany. Her name was chosen in an open competition, and is Gaelic as a reference to the sun being used to power the craft.
The slipping was carried out by the charity that owns the Maid of the Loch, using the slipway that was built in 1902 to haul the Loch Lomond paddle steamers out of the water for annual overhaul.
John Beveridge, Director of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company which operates the slipway said: “Appropriately enough, the whole operation was carried out in brilliant sunshine and was completely successful. The Park Authority had approached us to see if we could help as they needed the boat to be inspected out of the water. We were pleased to be able to offer our slipway which is right next to their ranger service at the Duncan Mills public launch facility”.
Martin Page, Ranger Service Manager for the National Park Authority said: “Our thanks to the Loch Lomond Steamship Company for the use of their slipway, and being right next to our offices made access ideal. The exercise went without a hitch and everything was completed on time. The Bata Greine is now all ship-shape again”.
The Bata Greine was relaunched on 1 April, and the following week, the Silver Dolphin from Sweeney Cruises Ltd. replaced her on the slipway. Silver Dolphin had her annual overhaul and underwater inspection, and was successfully put back in the water on 8 April.
A parting word from John Beveridge who added: “All we want now is for the Maid of the Loch to be the next one up on the slipway! The Maid is now open every day until October, so come and visit, make a donation, and help us raise the £1.7 million we need to start work to get her sailing again!
The photographs show (header) Bata Greine on the slipway being pulled out of the water, with the Maid of the Loch in the background at Balloch Pier, on 25 March, and (middle image) Silver Dolphin out of the water on 7 April.
1. The Loch Lomond Steamship Company is a charity registered in Scotland, and has owned the Loch Lomond paddle steamer Maid of the Loch and operated the Balloch Steam Slipway since 1996. In 2006 LLSC completely rebuilt the winchhouse and slipway thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was built to budget and on time, and was officially opened by The Princess Royal. All of its Directors and volunteers give their time free.
2. The Maid was built in 1953 in Glasgow, disassembled, taken to Balloch by rail, rebuilt on the bonnie banks, and launched on 5th March. She was withdrawn from service in 1981, suffered neglect and vandalism until rescued by LLSC. Since 2000, she has been open as a visitor attraction at Balloch Pier.
3.In August 2015, an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Maid to steam operation was successful. Details on www.maidoftheloch.org
4. Bata Greine is moored at the public launch facility at Balloch Pier.
5. Silver Dolphin is owned by Sweeney Cruises Ltd and operates sailings from Balloch Bridge. More information from www.sweeneyscruiseco.com