Meriel Larken – The Ship, the Lady and the Lake – 12th October 2022

The Extraordinary Life and Rescue of a Victorian Steamship in the Andes

An extraordinary account of one woman’s single-minded campaign to restore a Victorian steamship to her former glory and make her an Andean attraction. Here is a vivid account of Meriel Larken’s incredible quest to restore the Yavari steamship against the odds – a ship that celebrated its 150 year anniversary in 2012. In 1862 the English-built Yavari was taken to bits and shipped to South America. In an epic logistical feat it was carried in thousands of pieces, by mule, up the Andes to Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level, the world’s highest navigable waterway. She was reconstructed and for more than a century plied her trade up and down the lake, but by 1985 she was a sad rotting hulk – until she was found by Larken, who led the quest to project to restore and preserve the ship. The oldest single screw iron passenger ship in the world, this nautical and engineering jewel is now a major Peruvian tourist attraction.

Meriel Larken is Director and Founder of the YAVARI PROJECT and is holder of the Orden al Merito for services to numerous social projects through The Anglo-Peruvian Society (of which she was Chairman). She was formerly Administrator of the Cusichaca Archaeological Project near Machu Picchu, and founding Chairman of the Anglo-Latin American Foundation. With a family background of naval and maritime exploration, she also has a wide knowledge of South America. Meriel splits her time between the UK and South America.

The Foreword to the book, by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, describes the book as a “remarkable story” and “a very good read”; it is endorsed by Michael Palin and according to Matthew Parris is “a gripping tale, a personal adventure and an inspiring story..” and the style is “lively and imaginative”.

Meriel will have copies of her book for sale.