ULLSWATER ‘Steamers’ has one of the largest heritage passenger vessel fleets in England, including the oldest working passenger vessel in the world, Lady of the Lake.

M.Y. Lady of the Lake was launched on June 26, 1877, and is still ferrying passengers as part of an active fleet of boats in the Ullswater valley. She can carry 200 passengers and was designed by Douglas Henson of Penrith, built at Rutherglen, near Glasgow, transported in three sections by rail to Penrith and thereafter by horse drays to Waterside near Pooley Bridge, where she was assembled. In 1889, she was put to the test as her new sister ship Raven was launched for trials between Sandwick and Patterdale. Much to the delight of her crew, Lady of the Lake arrived first. She was converted from steam to diesel in the 1930s.

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ has achieved green Tourism Gold Standard and is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and reducing waste streams. Every year carbon emissions are calculated and offset annually. The company planted more than 20 trees last year, which is part of a much wider approach.

Coming up is Ullswater Navigation and Transit Company’s 160th birthday and visitors can step back in time and join the celebrations during a Victorian themed weekend on July 13/14, where they can listen to a brass band at Pooley Bridge and take a ride on the Victorian funfair at Glenridding Pier. Lady of the Lake will be one of the grand dames at the mass flotilla on July 16. Go online at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk.