Nearly 100 years after it was scuttled, the Rob Roy II is back and ready to ply the waters of Kahshe Lake.
A replica of a steamboat that worked on Kahshe Lake in the early 1900s, the Rob Roy II will be officially launched at 1059 Witbeck Rd on July 3. A tour of the lake will follow, allowing everyone interested to see it in action.
The vessel has a long and storied relationship with Kahshe Lake.
In 1911, the working steamboat Rob Roy arrived overland from Sparrow Lake to begin 13 years of service on Kahshe. It was scuttled in 1924 on a beach on the north side of Deep Bay near the old Rattan Mill and farmhouse.
Later on, 200 acres were purchased by John Witbeck, who then subdivided it into shoreline lots. The Rob Roy was beached on the shoreline of what is now known as 1059 Witbeck Rd.
That property was purchased by George Lindsay in 1994.
“John showed us the location and we found a small section of the metal transom and a large bolt,” says Lindsay. “We subsequently were able to obtain copies of two photos from Barb and Vern Taylor, with Owindia (Housey’s Rapids area) in the background.”
Cliff Fitchett, a local Housey’s Rapids contractor, wanted to build a replica. In 2018 he contracted a builder out of Virginia to provide the hull and working steam, which he picked up in October 2019.
Over the following winter, Fitchett built the deck, cabin and all the finishing detail. His daughter worked with Flags Unlimited to reproduce the exact flag flown from the original Rob Roy.
In the fall of 2021, Fitchett launched on Kahshe for a short, successful sea trial.
The planned route for this Saturday (rain date on Sunday) is to depart Deep Bay around 10:30 am and proceed up the east side of Boyd Island and east to the mouth of the river. Departing around 11:30 from the Housey’s Rapids area toward Sopher’s Landing (where the Rob Roy initially was launched after coming overland from Sparrow Lake) arriving around 12:30 – 12:45. Departing Sopher’s Landing around 12:45 to return to the main channel and down Grant’s Bay arriving about 1:45. Departing Grants Bay around 1:50 returning to 1059 Witbeck Rd via the west side of Boyd Island for approximately 3:00 pm.
Organizers are encouraging anyone with a boat to join the flotilla for all or part of the journey.
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