A TEACHER at a primary school in Vale says pupils in her class pushed her to organize a visit to the ‘inspiring’ restoration of the Maid of the Loch.

Seven primary school pupils from Levenvale Primary were given a special behind-the-scenes tour of the famous steamship last week, the very latest paddle steamer to be built in the UK and the only remaining example of an ‘Up an Doon” – a ship that has been built twice.

And teacher Grace Dornan told the reporter it was the class that asked her to organize the trip.

Connor Bryce

She said: ‘This month the children were doing engineering challenges and they were allowed to choose their own topic, and many of them chose to research the Maid of the Loch and steam engines, and the kids actually asked me if I could arrange for them to come downstairs to see it.

“Unfortunately they are only open on weekends.

“But when I contacted them they said they would be happy to arrange for some people to come and show us around the helmet and tell us a bit about the steam engines and the Maid of the Loch over the week. ”

Connor Bryce

Connor Bryce

Children were able to learn about the history of the boat, the technology behind the steam engines and how they work and heard about the current restoration of the ship which should be completed by the end of this year.

“In class, you can tell them so many things and you try to inspire them,” Ms Dornan continued.

“But how inspiring is it – to come down and see the steam engine, and see how it would work, and see around the Maid of the Loch who sits on our shores?

“For them to come down and be really inspired by the whole project to try to restore it and go home with that message, that can only be good for the community, as well as for the project.

“You don’t learn from someone telling you. You learn by someone showing you and being immersed in something.

Charlie Summers, Maid of the Loch’s activities co-ordinator, explained that school trips like the one to Levenvale are important to the ship’s legacy.

She said: ‘For Balloch the Maid of the Loch was so important, and so much of the history and the local community is an important part of it because it’s their ship. It is a ship for the community.

“And when we put it back to sea, hopefully in the next few years, we want kids to be able to look at industrial and maritime collections and lifestyles and try to bridge the gap between the old and the new.

“We want to tell these stories so that young people are inspired to come to the museum and read about the ship’s importance in Scottish social history.

All photos were taken by Connor Bryce.