6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

The Lady of the Lake celebrates her 140th year

PUBLISHED: 11:33 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:42 29 March 2017

Ullswater Steamers Lady of the Lake

Ullswater Steamers Lady of the Lake

not Archant

This year sees a series of events to mark the 140th anniversary of a famous steamer, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing

It might be rude to reveal a lady’s age, but when she’s been working since 1877 and still managed to look shipshape, it’s something worth boasting about.

This particular lady is, of course, one of the Lake District’s famous steamers. The Motor Yacht ‘Lady of the Lake’ is celebrating her 140th year – a birthday she shares with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

She is one of the heritage vessels in Ullswater ‘Steamers’ fleet carrying thousands of passengers on idyllic cruises on this most beautiful lake.

‘Lady of the Lake’ is one of the oldest working passenger vessels in the world with a remarkable history of battling through adversity and severe challenges.

Ullswater by John Lever Ullswater by John Lever

The vessel was designed in Penrith and built in Rutherglen, near Glasgow. She was transported to Ullswater in pieces, by both rail and horse-drawn drays, arriving in pieces at Waterside, near Pooley Bridge, where she was assembled and launched on June 26 1877.

But only four years later she sunk at her moorings during stormy weather. Having been repaired and made fit for service again, her next challenge came in July 1889, when a younger ‘model’ came along – M.Y Raven. Lady of the Lake was tested against her new sister ship and amazingly saw off the newcomer, passing the finishing line first in a trial race from Sandwick to Patterdale.

The fighting spirit she showed in this race was vital. In 1958, she sunk for a second time, but worse was to come. In 1965, fire engulfed her and ‘Lady of the Lake’ was out of service for 14 years. It was 1979 before she made her triumphant return, re-launched by politician, William Whitelaw, following extensive refurbishment.

Since then, it has been pretty much plain sailing for this wonderful vessel, which glides along proudly as she cruises with up to 200 passengers, introducing them to the stunning natural arena within which Ullswater takes centre stage.

The ‘Lady of the Lake’ was the woman who legend says gave King Arthur his sword, Excalibur. On his instructions, after being fatally wounded in battle, Excalibur was said to have been returned to the Dark Lake. As Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, was reputed to live close by, some believe that the Dark Lake was in fact Ullswater.

For this reason, the ‘Lady of the Lake’ birthday year has just seen the launch of a new and free King Arthur App Trail.

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ is also planning a special birthday celebration for the oldest star in its fleet on June 24 and 25 when all passengers arriving for a cruise will be given a commemorative gift – an excellent reason to use the special hashtag #stepbackintime.

The next day, June 26, she will have a bottle of champagne broken over her bows to celebrate her wonderful life. With the Penrith Town Band in attendance and lots of fizz and canapés, this should be another great day in her history.

To find out more about Ullswater ‘Steamers’ go to www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

More from Out & About

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ever wondered how Clitheroe Castle got that huge hole in its tower? John Lenehan might have the answer after this walk from Sabden.

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks

Overseas royalty and fashion designers have fallen in love with a not so humble Lancashire horse blanket made on the moors above Darwen.

Read more

While many people head north towards the Lake District for walking, the city of Lancaster has plenty on offer for ramblers.

Read more
Lancaster Canals
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The trail of storm devastation wreaked on Lancashire’s Beacon Fell has cleared the way for a new era of care for our countryside, writes Cathy Darby.

Read more
Friday, June 1, 2018

You don’t have to travel abroad to enjoy a perfect summer holiday. Here’s a round-up of some fantastic destinations across the region.

Read more
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Children now spend less time playing in nature than their parents did, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Molly Toal discusses

Read more
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There are few finer thing than exploring the countryside surrounding the many rivers situated across the county.

Read more
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hearty breakfasts and delicious dinners are just two reasons for walking in this stunning area, as John Lenehan discovers

Read more
Bowland Walks
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Victoria Smith always loved horses but her high pressure job meant she had little time to ride – until she met a deer in the Forest of Bowland

Read more
Equestrian
Monday, May 14, 2018

Developments underway and planned around the city are celebrating its proud heritage and building for the future

Read more
Preston
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

For almost 25 years, outdoor writers and photographers Dennis and Jan Kelsall have produced guides and articles covering many of the country’s popular walking destinations. Here, Dennis picks five of his favourites.

Read more
Lancaster
Friday, May 4, 2018

Ramsbottom is well known for its food and drink scene, but Rebekka O’Grady meets some arty residents that will inspire your creative side.

Read more
Ramsbottom
Thursday, May 3, 2018

A devastating riding accident may have saved Katherine Beaumont from a life of anxiety and stress. Now she is sharing her experience.

Read more
Equestrian

A unique community musical in Wigan is taking one of George Orwell’s most famous works from the page to the stage and making a song and dance about social inequality.

Read more
Wigan
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search