Lockdown has had a dramatic affect on visitor attractions such as the paddle steamer Maid of the Loch at Balloch.

The Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC), the charity aiming to return the paddler to sailing condition, has lost vital revenue since being unable to reopen the visitor season at Easter.

A novel way to raise money is marking the Maid’s first public cruise 67 years ago on May 25, 1953. The paddler is pictured in her earlier days.

The LLSC has recreated that first voyage and provided the opportunity to experience the joys of the Bonnie Banks on the historic vessel, whose engines were produced by Rankin & Blackmore of Greenock and her steering gear by John Hastie of Greenock.

LLSC chairman John Beveridge said: “Everyone is keen to escape the restrictions but aware not to endanger beauty spots. So we’ve decided to produce a virtual cruise on the loch and to celebrate the Maid’s 67th anniversary of her maiden voyage.

“By using archive photos and film from the 1950s interspersed with colourful views of Loch Lomond, we want to give a taste of what the first sailings on the Maid were like. We have included a route map and facts on places of interest that the Maid will pass on her cruise.

“We are hoping for a sell-out cruise! The Maid could carry 1,000 passengers so it would be brilliant if people would book a ‘ticket’ via the online shop on our website at www.maidoftheloch.org and we could fill the ship. All income raised from this will be a badly needed boost for the charity.”

The journey is based on leaving Glasgow by steam train to Balloch and a cruise to Ardlui at the head of Loch Lomond.

The fare in 1953 was nine shillings (45p). At today’s rate this is the equivalent of £12.50 including VAT – the price of the ‘ticket’ for the virtual cruise.