On Monday 4th May 1953 Maid of the Loch ran trials on Loch Lomond under the command of Captain Donald MacDonald.
Ordered from the Clyde shipyard of A & J Inglis she was shipped to Balloch in bits by rail and reassembled on the slipway during 1952 and on into the spring of 1953. She was launched on Thursday 5th March with fitting out continuing alongside the Balloch Pier. At 193ft in length and with a tonnage of 555GRT she was a big paddle steamer and particularly big for the loch being more than twice the tonnage of the Princess May which she was designed to replace.
Princess May was scrapped on the slipway at Balloch shortly afterwards with Prince Edward retained to run alongside the Maid for two more years before being withdrawn at the end of the 1954 season after which she too was scrapped.
The trials were successful with the Maid notching up almost 14 knots where her service speed was planned to be just 12 knots. In the following couple of weeks work continued getting her ready for her inaugural cruise with passengers on the Loch on Friday 22nd May.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 4th May 2021.