IT was a busy year, 1953: the Queen’s Coronation (above), the death of Stalin, the ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel; Dwight Eisenhower became president of the USA.

Closer to home, Monday, May 25, 1953 saw the maiden voyage of the Maid of the Loch, on Loch Lomond.

Now, the charity that owns the Maid (right, in 1960) is offering a chance to re-create that day by stepping back in time and experiencing the joys of a trip on the historic steamship.

John Beveridge, chair of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, said that while the Maid, like other attractions across the country, was in lockdown, the charity had no money coming in and that this was a “new and exciting” way of raising funds to keep the charity going.

He told the Herald: “Everyone is keen to escape the restrictions but aware of the risk of endangering beauty spots, so we have produced a virtual cruise on the loch and to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the maiden voyage.

“By using archive photos and film from the 1950s interspersed with colourful scenic views of Loch Lomond, we want to give a taste of what the first sailings on the Maid were like.

“We have also included a route map and facts on places of interest that the Maid will pass on her cruise”.

The virtual journey leaves Glasgow by steam train for Balloch and continues with a cruise on the Maid to Ardlui, at the head of the loch. The 1953 fare was nine shillings for a day return – the equivalent today of £12.50, including VAT.

“Tickets” can be booked via the online shop on the charity’s website at “All income raised from this will be a badly-needed boost for the charity”, added Mr Beveridge.

Read more: Herald Diary