Although we are still a few weeks away from the start of the new season on Loch Leven, we thought that it might be worthwhile giving everyone a brief update on what has been happening during the winter months and what our plans are for the forthcoming season.
As you might expect, the main activity atthe moment is repairing the clinker boats in the fleet, fitting new wood where required and then repainting.
Michael assures us that he, Willie and Adam are on track to have the fleet in full working order by the start of the season.
On the subject of boats, you might be interested to learn that the Fishery has ordered a further two Coulam 16 boats from JM Coulam Boat Builders in Lincolnshire to add to those brought in last year. They too should be delivered in time for the start of the new season. They are the same model of boat as those introduced on Loch Leven last year for the first time and, judging from feedback, they performed well.
The addition of these extra boats will take the fleet size up to 20 for the forthcoming season. It is interesting how things have changed – and indeed how quickly. In 2007, the fleet was reduced from 30 to just 13 and yet here we are in 2012 with it back to 20. It is fair to say that I doubt anyone foresaw this dramatic upturn in fortunes back in 2007 (we certainly didn’t.
Do we now regret getting rid off all those fine old clinker boats back then, only to be having to purchase new ones to replace them now? The answer is no. Lovely though they are, the photos above give you a small indication of just how much work has to go into refurbishing the clinker boats at the end of each season. Years ago when the fleet was much larger, we costed the annual maintenace costs at approximately £800 per boat (parts & labour) and it is safe to assume that figure has risen in the interim.
Traditionalists will be glad to hear that we have to intention of scrapping any of the remaining clinker boats and will continue to maintain them each winter for the foreseeable future. If someone offers a really good price, we may be tempted to sell the odd one or two more and replace them with Coulam boats but we are not actively looking to do so and will happily hold on otherwise to all those that remain.
Other than that, the only other piece of news to update you on is that the new computerised booking system is now in place and working – with all this coming season’s bookings safely loaded on. Hopefully this will ensure that the odd glitch we had last year does not recur (and it is a darn sight easier for staff to operate than the last one which was so complicated that you really needed to be Einstein to work it!).