Waverley Excursions say that they are hopeful of returning for the 2021 season as they close in on their £300,000 fundraising target.

The Waverley’s Covid-19 Relief Appeal has amassed a total so far of over £290,000.

In the meantime maintenance work continues on Waverley’s triple expansion steam engine and paddle wheels.

In a matter of weeks the new boilers will be fired up to raise steam in preparation for moving to dry dock.

A spokesperson for Waverley Excursions said: "The £300k milestone is now in sight. Thank you to everyone that has donated.

"We remain hopeful that the £350,000 target for individual donations is achievable to allow us to dry dock Waverley next month and recommission her for the 2021 season."

"Like others in the tourism and hospitality industry we are keen to make plans for the 2021 summer season.

"While there is optimism that the situation with Covid-19 is improving there is no guarantee that restrictions will ease sufficiently by the end of May when Waverley would normally start her sailing season.

"We are hopeful Waverley will, subject to further donations and the easing of Covid restrictions, return to service in June on the Firth of Clyde and operate a variety of sailings on her home waters until the end of August.

"We will issue further information on the 2021 timetable and confirm dates for each sailing area as soon as possible."

Donations can be made online at waverleyexcursions.co.uk or by calling 0141 243 2224.