THE athlete who famously won the 10,000 metres at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh yesterday reminded Scots of another of his many talents.

A hand-made replica of the Maid of the Loch paddle-steamer, painstakingly fashioned by Lachie Stewart, a lifelong model-maker, was unveiled at its new home, in a gleaming new display case at the Loch Lomond Shores mall.

The 1:35 large-scale has been moved from the paddle steamer itself, and is said to provide a true likeness from when the Maid was in commission. Its decks are crowded with small figures representing passengers.

Mr Stewart said: “I believe the scale of the ship works very well - it is large enough to add the small figures and they really make the Maid come alive. I hope seeing it encourages viewers to make a donation and help this wonderful vessel to sail again on the waters of Loch Lomond.”

John Beveridge, Director of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said yesterday: “The generous gift donated by Lachie has grabbed the attention of many of our visitors, both old and young, through its incredible detail and large-scale size.

“We’re now sharing its charming features with our close neighbours at Loch Lomond Shores, to show what a typical day of sailing onboard Maid of the Loch would be like. We hope this inspires visitors to the Shores to climb onboard the cause and envision the Maid as a sailing paddle steamer once again for the enjoyment of everyone, today and for future generations.”

The Maid currently operates as a static tourist attraction and hopes to gain industrial museum status for the ship and steam slipway as a growing number of artefacts are collected and restored to working order.

The paddle steamer will reopen in Easter for open season with the Balloch Steam Slipway's “In Steam” at the weekends. This will show the steam engine and gearing system in operation, with audio-visuals describing how the slipway pulls the Maid out of the water.

A £950,000 capital grant funding award by the Scottish Government to the Maid of the Loch was confirmed last December, meaning that the goal of returning the ship to sail lives on.