WINCH HOUSE : DRUMKINNON BAY, BALLOCH PIER SLIPWAY AND ENGINE HOUSE near Lomond Shores, Balloch
ACCESS : Easy access for all. Carpark.
The Engine House is listed A.
Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway reception.
There was a time when a day out on Loch Lomond was even more popular than today. People would swarm down from places such as Glasgow, usually by train, and they alighted at Balloch Pier Railway Station. That station has long since disappeared. From there they would make their way to the quayside where a steamer, most likely a paddle steamer, would take them for a leisurely trip on the water. Today we can only see the MAID OF THE LOCH (discussed separately) and that is tied up and undergoing long term restoration.
The slipway was constructed on the Loch so that the steamers could be put together and maintained. The steamers would be prebuilt at other boatyards and brought here in sections. The slipway and the engine house that winched the boats out of the water still exist. The engine house is well worth a visit. Access to it is free (depending on opening times). The winches and machinery are impressive.
As part of the restoration of the Maid of the Loch, the cradles that run on the slipway were replaced. She was slowly drawn out of the water ... but something snapped. Fortunately she was only part of the way out and nothing serious occurred. But it shows that old knowledge and skills need to be kept alive and honed.
The pier is only part of the facilities. Between the quay and the historic slipway is a modern one for pleasure craft. This is the Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway and operated by the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. There is a small carpark.
The River Leven flows past to the east. Westwards and between this and Lomond Shores is Drumkinnon Bay. That is a pleasant place to walk or cycle and there are links from here southwards along the Leven Towpath to Dumbarton or northwards via Old Luss Road all the way up the western shores of Loch Lomond. Drumkinnon Bay almost always has many water birds and it is used in fine weather for small boats such as canoes and pedalos.
Also see : MAID OF THE LOCH index.asp?pageid=715792
The winch house.
DISUSED STATIONS website : http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/b/balloch_pier/index.shtml
LOCH LOMOND AND THE TROSSACHS NATIONAL PARK : https://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/things-to-do/water-activities/boating/slipways/
RAILSCOT website : https://www.railscot.co.uk/locations/B/Balloch_Pier/