SCOTLAND'S maritime history has been captured in miniature as part of a new exhibition which celebrates vessels from paddle steamers to Clyde puffers.

A collection of model ships celebrating the work of Commonwealth Games gold medalist turned model builder Lachie Stewart goes on display later this month on the unique setting of the Maid of the Loch.

The exhibition is the next stage in the fundraising efforts to get the steamer sailing once again as she is currently undergoing a major restoration in Balloch.

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Visitors to the Champions of Steam exhibition will have the opportunity to climb onboard the famous paddle steamer, while she is on the slipway for essential repairs, to see the carefully curated exhibition in the ship’s main aft lounge.

HeraldScotland: Lachie Stewart and Charli Summers ahead of the Chariots of Steam: An exhibition of Model ShipsLachie Stewart and Charli Summers ahead of the Chariots of Steam: An exhibition of Model Ships

Mr Stewart, who won gold in the 10,000 metres at the Commonwealth Games in 1970, has combined his lifelong passions for maritime history and model building to create a spectacular collection of ships which he has meticulously built over the last 60 years. Many of his works are already in notable private and public collections.

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 From elegant paddle steamers to humble Clyde puffers, and from simple half-hull design models to magnificent display models, Mr Stewart shows great skill and insight into the history of ship building on the Clyde and the laborious processes that go into such quality model making. Many of the most famous ships built on the Clyde are represented, including PS Maid of the Loch and PS Caledonia.

Charli Summers, Activities Coordinator at Maid of the Loch and curator of Chariots of Steam, said: "This is the first time this incredible collection has been displayed to the public as a major exhibition and we are delighted to showcase these fine ship models. Lachie is not only a talented sporting hero but also a remarkable model builder who has built an important collection model ships over the last 60 years. Thirteen of his Clyde-built ships are on display. Lachie has been a supporter of the Maid of the Loch since it was launched on Loch Lomond in 1953 and so it is fitting that his first solo exhibition should be on board the paddle steamer.”

HeraldScotland: A selection of model boats will be on displayA selection of model boats will be on display

The Maid of the Loch is a much-loved feature on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, and she attracts thousands of visitors every year and, over the last 20 years, a loyal band of volunteers has focused every available hour on her restoration. With public support the Loch Lomond Steamship Company charity hope to safely steer the Maid to a new phase of her life, relaunching her as a fully operational paddle steamer in the next three years.

She is the last paddle steamer to be built in Britain and next year will celebrate her 70th birthday.

A recent crowdfunder campaign raised a total of £43,000 for replacement paddles. It triggered a further £15,000 awarded by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS), Britain’s longest established, largest and most successful steamship preservation group.

Chariots of Steam opens to the public on Saturday, May 21 at 11am until 4pm and will be open every weekend until the end of October this year.