Modeller’s steamship ‘comes home’ to Loch Katrine

Mr&MrsPeberdy& daughterJanetonSSWS
Taking the helm: Mr and Mrs Peberdy with their daughter Jane aboard the ‘full size’ Sir Walter Scott

A scale model depicting the one of the world’s oldest operational steamships has been gifted to its operators and will be on public display from next spring.

Lovingly hand-crafted by model enthusiast Bill Peberdy, with the help of his great friend Bill Sutton, the 4.5ft long model steamship Sir Walter Scott has been entrusted to the Loch Katrine Visitor Experience at Trossachs Pier, the embarkation point from where tourists have sailed aboard the SS Sir Walter Scott for over 114 years.

And Helensburgh RNLI has received a donation of £1,000 from the steamship’s operators, as a way of thanking Mr Peberdy.

A £1,000 donation to a charity of Mr Peberdy's choice - the RNLI - was made to recognise the gift of the model.
A £1,000 donation to a charity of Mr Peberdy’s choice – the RNLI – was made to recognise the gift of the model.

Built on the Clyde by Denny Bros of Dumbarton in 1899, and sailing Loch Katrine since 1900, the 110ft Sir Walter Scott is one of the world’s oldest steamships still running a scheduled timetable.

In 2009 her future was secured through an extensive renovation and restoration programme which saw the installation of new ‘clean’ bio-fuel boilers and the creation of a new lounge allowing panoramic views of the loch, a feature enjoyed by the thousands of visitors who sail aboard the steamship every year.

Now, a perfect scale model of the Sir Walter Scott – depicted as she was in 1992 –will be on display at the Trossachs Pier, Loch Katrine, from next spring.

Crafted from scratch more than 20 years ago, the ½ inch to a foot model SS Sir Walter Scott was created by retired Cheshire dentist Mr Peberdy.

A lifelong ‘modeller’, Mr Peberdy was introduced to the Sir Walter Scott during a trip to the Trossachs in 1991.

Inspired by the steamship’s elegant Victorian lines and ‘completely bowled over’ by her history, Bill determined to create a perfect scale model of the SS Sir Walter Scott and together with fellow model-enthusiast Bill Sutton, he set about researching the vessel’s layout, plans and construction.

Six years of painstaking research and construction later, and the miniature steamship was complete.

For over a decade, the model remained in Mr Peberdy’s workshop (his former dental surgery), and earlier this year his family suggested it be offered to the team at Loch Katrine.

After a few repairs, the artefact has now been delivered to Trossachs Pier, where she will be placed on display from next year.

Mr Peberdy (86) said: “Our efforts were far more than just wanting to make a model of a ship. We were motivated by considerable affection for the vessel and indeed her crew, and made us determined to make as detailed and accurate a model as we possibly could.

“The model is entirely hand made. Its hull required planking of 275ft of ¼ x 1/8 inch obechi wood cut to length and secured by fine brass nails. All in all, the model is made up of 5,493 pieces.

“I am pleased to see her go to a good home, indeed her rightful home, and hope that very many visitors to Loch Katrine will enjoy seeing her.”

Gordon Allan, managing director of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd, added: “We are thrilled to receive this unique and wonderful artefact.

“It is an incredibly intricate model and the detail is fascinating, all the more so as it depicts the steamship as she was in the late 20th century.

“She is, however, very fragile, and over the winter months we will determine how best she may be displayed and preserved, hopefully to have her on public display by spring of next year.”

Last weekend, the Steamship Sir Walter Scott concluded her 2014 sailings with a special Pudsey Bear cruise for BBC Children in Need.

The ship is now berthed for winter servicing, with sailings set to resume in mid-March 2015; she is pictured below, together with details of the remarkable model.