Historic steamship taken out of service after 'extensive' cracks discovered
One of Scotland's last remaining steamships has been taken out of service after extensive cracks were discovered in its boilers.
The 120-year-old Steamship Sir Walter Scott carries thousands of visitors every year on Loch Katrine in the Trossachs.
However, a recent annual inspection revealed cracks which specialist surveyors said were "beyond repair".
The discovery means the vessel will not sail this season.
Gordon Allan, managing director of Sir Walter Scott Steamship Ltd, said the news was a "major setback."
He said: "This follows on from a downturn in business linked to major landslides on the lochside last August and we were well on the road to recovery with the prospects of a bumper season ahead."
Mr Allan said the immediate priority was safeguarding the 55 direct jobs and "many indirect jobs" reliant on the operation.
He said the company had other boats available and was confident the goodwill of the public and commitment of staff would ensure trading continued successfully.
Steamship Trust chief executive James Fraser said steps were being taken to explore "realistic and sustainable" options to bring the steamship back into service, including a possible appeal for public funding.