The conservation and heritage charity for the
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park


Ardroy Centre celebrates 50th Anniversary with launch of new fundraising appeal.

Ardroy centre celebrates 50th anniversary with launch of new fundraising appeal to inspire children for the next 50 years.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre charitable trust launched an appeal in Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline today (Thursday 28th March) to raise £650,000 to modernise facilities with a replacement accommodation block so that the Centre can continue to provide thousands of children and young people from Fife and elsewhere with truly, inspiring life changing outdoor experiences for the next 50 years.

Ardroy, situated in a spectacular setting on the edge of Loch Goil in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, has provided over 100,000 children and young people with enjoyable life changing outdoor experiences for the past 50 years.

James Fraser, Chairman of the Ardroy Trust said: "Ardroy has been a great success story both under the previous stewardship of Fife Council for more than 40 years and for the past 8 years under the umbrella of an independent charitable trust that is investing heavily in upgrading facilities to ensure the Centre is fit for the future."

Provost Jim Leishman of Fife Council who was invited to launch the appeal said:

"Ardroy has had a special relationship with Fifers for the last 50 years, and I am delighted to be invited today to help recognise their excellent work with generations of Fife children and to launch Ardroy's fundraising appeal to replace the original accommodation block, which has seen better days, with modern facilities that wil be enjoyed by thousands of Fife children and young people for another 50 years"

David Thorpe, Ardroy's Centre Manager says,

"This is a significant milestone for Ardroy.  The current team are incredibly proud to be continuing to deliver life changing experiences through residential learning in the outdoors, 50 years on from when the centre opened.  To continue to sustain and improve what we do for future generations however, we need to replace our existing accommodation block."

Ardroy was openend in Lochgoilhead, Argyll in 1969 by Fife Council and ran successfully for many years until 2011 when its closure was announced due to local authority financial pressures.  With the passionate support of parents, teachers, staff and national politicians a group of people came together and negotiated to take over Ardroy which reopened a few months later as a Charitable Trust & Social Enterprise.

Ardroy's outdoor education programmes, which include canoeing, climbing, abseiling, gorge walking and woodland skills, are outcome driven, with a big emphasis on reviewing experiences and transferring this learning back to schools, workplaces and homes.  The centre supports young people to develop and grow, learning new skills and capacities both as individuals and as team members in a wider Ardroy community - all this helps to prepare them for life's big adventures.

Over the past 8 years Ardroy has gone from strength to strength, expanding its operation to offer outdoor residential experiences to not only Fife schools, but also the National Citizen Service, National Deaf Children's Society and a wide variety of Youth Groups.  In the future the centre is planning to enter into partnership with children's charities to work with family units who require some support in bringing them closer together.

To ensure Ardroy can continue to inspire children for another 50 years there is a need to modernise facilities with a replacement accommodation block. The new building will be flexible in its design with wheelchair accessibility, enabling the Centre to work more with families and young people from all backgrounds, so they can enjoy the magic of Ardroy and the National Park.

Make a donation to help Ardroy inspire children for another 50 years

Help Ardroy inspire children for another 50 years by making a donation -  text 'ARDROY' to 70085 to donate £5 (this costs £5 plus a std rate msg).

Alternatively, give any whole amount up to £20 (eg. 'ARDROY 20').

You can also donate onine at as well as share your own experiences on 'My Ardroy Story' on the Ardroy Facebook page.

For further information contact:

David Thorpe, Ardroy Centre Manager

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T: (01301) 703353

For more information on Ardroy OEC go to





Cowalfest announce dates for walking events and AGM

On the 27th, 28th and 29th September the CowalFest committee are offering three days of hills and trail walks to tie in with the Dunoon Presents Outdoor Festival.

The outdoor festival from Dunoon Presents, is a new event covering many different outdoor activities around Dunoon and Cowal. This event is a great opportunity for new walkers, and the welcome return of regular attendees if the CowalFest.

Unfortunately the CowalFest committee are unable to organise a regular 8/10 day festival for 2019 largely due to financial and organisational reasons, and a shortage of volunteers.

To help keep the Cowal Walking Festival alive for future years to come, the CowalFest committee are seeking new members and volunteers particularly with skills to assist with their website, social media, marketing and PR.

All are welcome to pop along to their AGM on TUE 26 MARCH 2019, at the Cowal Camera club premises on Castle Street, Dunoon PA23 7HR at 7.30pm.

Visit for directions.

Event information:



Volunteers make a difference on Loch Lomond side


As part of a major initiative to open up and maintain views of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond from the busy A82 the conservation charity Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs recently organised a very successful Make A Difference Day with the support of the National Park Authority and Luss estates.

Good weather blessed the efforts by the 'Make A Difference Day' volunteers working to open up views of the busy 1 kiliometre busy stretch of the A82 just north of Inverbeg on Loch Lomondside.

A total of 13 volunteers from a variety of organisations and backgrounds selflessly gave up their day and cleared scrub and saplings which threatened to obscure views of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond.  They also collected piles of rubbish including old car seats and kitchen equipment that had been thoughtlessly discarded.on the banks of Loch Lomond and distracted from the scenic beauty of this popular visitor destination.

Handing out 'Friends of OUR Park' badges to the volunteers, John Urquhart Vice Chair of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said 'The continued support of an enthusiastic band of volunteers once again has made a huge difference,on the ground in protecting and improving scenic views of Loch Lomond".

He also thanked Friends Business Supporter, Niall Colquhoun, proprietor of the Inn on Loch Lomond Hotel for kindly providing a lunch of soup and sandwiches for the volunteers. 


Anniversary of Captain John Lauder commemorated

Lauder Monument restoration and access improvements were complete in time for a special event commemorating the 102nd anniversary of the death of Sir Harry Lauder's son, Captain John Lauder, in WW1.

There was a large turnout of people who came along to mark the completion of a 3 year project to restore the Lauder Monument at Invernoaden in Argyll that was originally unveiled in 1921 by world famous entertainer Sir Harry Lauder in memory of his son.

The £25,000 project, coordinated by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, also involved the creation of a new car park, along with a new path link, upgrading an existing steep path with stone steps and safety railings, and the installation of two story boards and signs.

Funding for the project was secured from two Landfill Trusts and the Friend of OUR park visitor giving scheme, and to ensure the project was completed in time many hundreds of hours of voluntary labour was generously provided.

Local youngsters contributed to the commemorative event with a series of drawings depicting the tragic Lauder Story adorning the ornate railngs aroung the monument, and poignant letter and poetry readings as well as musical tributes on the bagpipes including battle of the Somme.

There was also a wreath laying by Major Donald MacLaughlan and a rededication of the monument by Rev Dr. Robin Mackenzie followed by the unveiling of a new storyboard by local MSP, Mike Russell.



Lauder Monument Restoration Event

Join us for a special event to commemorate the successful restoration and access improvements to the Lauder Monument at 12 noon on Friday 28th December 2018, at Invernoadan by Strachur, Argyll and Bute.

The event will also commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the death of Captain John Lauder who bravely fought and died in the First World War.

There will be short musical tributes and recitals performed by talented local youngsters and others drawing on the works of world famous entertainer Sir Harry Lauder who erected the monument in 1921 in memory of his son Captain John Lauder.  Sir Harry Lauder purchased nearby Invernoadan House and the 14000 acre Glenbranter estate as an engagement present for him and his bride to be, Mildred Thomson in 1916. Sadly John was tragically killed in WW1 before they were married.

Please be advised to wear suitable footwear in the event of inclement weather.





Lauder Memorial Restoration Nearly Finished

Setback for WW1 hero’s memorial restoration project as mindless thieves steal digger equipment in run up to commemorative event.

Volunteers step in to try and complete the works in time for the special memorial event over the festive period. Following a 3 year fundraising effort and over 1,000 hours of work by volunteers and contractors the project to restore the Lauder Monument and improve car park and access to the site is now facing a race against time to be complete ahead of the commemorative event being planned to mark the 102nd anniversary of the death of Captain John Lauder on 28th December, 1916 in France during WW1.

Volunteers have stepped in at short notice to try and complete ditching and drainage work following the theft earlier this week of two buckets from mechanical diggers which were being used to create a new path and car park at the memorial site beside the busy main road between Strachur and Dunoon in the Cowal Peninsula.

The Lauder Monument at Invernoaden in Argyll was built in 1921 by world-famous entertainer Sir Harry Lauder’ in memory of his son, Captain John Lauder, who was tragically killed on a battlefield in France between Christmas and New Year 1916. The Monument has been painstakingly restored and improved path and car parking access works are nearing completion as part of a project led by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent conservation and heritage charity for the National Park.

Friends Chairman, James Fraser said: ‘’We have been pulling out all the stops to complete this £25,000 restoration and improvement programme at what is an important historic but long neglected site to mark the selfless contribution of local war hero Capt John Lauder in the First World War. We have been receiving great support from volunteers and the local community to deliver much needed improvements and are saddened by the very selfish and thoughtless act of thieves who, under the cover of darkness, have stolen buckets from diggers we had on hire for car park and path works. However, we are determined not to allow this setback to stop us completing this project and in the words of Sir Harry Lauder, who was devastated by the tragic loss of his son who was shot by a sniper, and then went on to raise millions for injured First World War veterans, we will ‘’keep right on until the end of the road’’ to ensure the work is finished in time for the commemorative event planned later this month. The theft has been reported to the police and it is hoped the perpetrators of this selfish act will have a pang of conscious and return the stolen goods so that the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are not hit with a substantial bill to replace the digger equipment.

Members of the public can show their support by turning out at the special commemorative event planned at the site at 12 noon on Friday 28th December when talented local children and others will share some of the writings and songs of Sir Harry Lauder as part of a tribute to the memory of Captain John Lauder and others killed or injured in the First World War. Sir Harry Lauder purchased nearby Invernoaden House and the 14,000 acre Glenbranter Estate as an engagement present for his son John and his bride to be, Mildred Thomson, in 1916 but sadly John was tragically killed before they were married and able to enjoy family life in this special part of the National Park.


Free Introductory Glamping Business Guide

The Friends recently held two succcessful glamping business workshops within the National Park. The two events, held in Balloch and Callander, were well attended and received from participants and multiple discussions have been launched about starting new glamping sites in the area. 

Following up from the workshops, we are excited to release a free digital version of our introductory Glamping Business Guide, which were distributed at the events. This guide was written primarily by renowned glamping expert Kate Morel, who is an industry specialist and author, speaker and business advisor in the sector, and is essential reading for anyone interested in starting a glamping business.

Please download a free copy of this useful document  HERE

Glamping Business Workshops Taking Place 4th and 5th September

The Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, with support from Scottish Enterprise as part of the Collaborating for Success project, will host two Glamping Business Workshops on Tuesday 4th (Balloch) and Wednesday 5th (Callander) September 2018. Ticket links can be found below. 

Lead by renowned glamping expert Kate Morel, these workshops are for any individual or business considering setting up a small to medium glamping business. Kate is an industry specialist who is also an author, speaker and business advisor in the sector. If you're currently scoping possibilities, want inside tips, profitability charts, or professional input on your business idea - this workshop is for you.

The day starts with an overview of the glamping industry, so you understand how it is developing and where your project might fit in - and succeed. In many ways, glamping is like any other accommodation business, but it does present unique challenges in some areas, and these are addressed in this workshop. Using Kate's glamping start-up formula, the subjects covered will include:

Glamping Business Models, Potential Revenue, Structures & Facilities, Developing a 'unique selling point', Operations & Marketing

We will cover the key factors of setting up and running a glamping business and the event is intended as an overall introduction for those who are thinking of starting a glamping business. If you already have land and ideas, you can start applying the workshop material to your project, if you don't have land, it will help you evaluate the best places to look for.

We will also feature local case studies who review their experience in the glamping industry as well, providing some context for businesses in the region. This conference is part of the Friends’ exciting ecotourism initiative and is open to all tourism related businesses.

When and Where:

Tuesday 4th September, 2018 – National Park Headquarters, Balloch
Workshop will start at 10.00 and run through to 14.00
Book your tickets here for the 4th: 

Wednesday 5th September, 2018 – Callander Youth Hostel, Callander
Workshop will start at 10:00 and run through to 14:00
Book your tickets here for the 5th: 

The cost is £10 per person, which includes a light lunch.

There will be a limited number of one to one surgeries available onsite for businesses, if you're interested, please contact us. Appointments will be alotted on a first come, first served basis. If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Feedback from previous workshops that Kate has led:

"incredibly useful, I've got a much better idea of what to do and how to go about it"

"driving home I had my 'eureka' moment regarding my U.S.P, I also now have a name which has driven me mad for the last 2 years and I really think that was down to your workshop and seminars. I am now chomping at the bit and have to quickly get all these ideas down. Thank you Kate for all your help, positivity and enthusiasm"

"really helpful in so many ways, among other things it's got us thinking about our mouse and cheese!"

"I arrived with hopes and dreams but no clue how to get it going - left with a clearer view of how to start and shape my glamping, which I didn't think was possible in an hour."

"put me firmly on track, can't wait for the workshop in October, going by today I'm pretty sure I'll l



Luss Clean-up Day

Thursday, March 8 2018

Luss Clean-up Day, organised by Luss and Arden Community Development Trust, is taking place on Saturday, March 24, and all volunteers are invited to take part.

The day's activity will consist of path clearance, a litter pick-up, and the removal of larger fly-tipping where possible. Anybody coming along is asked to bring garden gloves and waterproof clothing.

Participants are asked to assemble at 9am at The Village Rest, where tea, coffee and bacon rolls will be provided to start the day. At the conclusion of the event, which is expected to be around 12.30pm, a soup and sandwich lunch will be laid on by, and served at, the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel.

For more information please call 01389 710000 or 07833 751454.

Tourism conference to take place in National Park

Tuesday, February 27 2018

A major conference for tourism related businesses in and around the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is being held in Balloch on Tuesday 13th March between 10.00am and 3pm with an impressive line-up of speakers.

The theme of the conference is ‘’Growing Sustainable Tourism Businesses’’ and is being organised by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, with support from Scottish Enterprise and the National Park Authority, as part of a Collaborating for Success initiative being coordinated by Love Loch Lomond and aimed at maximising the tourism potential of the National Park, the Clyde Sea Lochs Trail, and surrounding communities.

The conference will provide an ideal opportunity for businesses to hear about the tourism priorities for the National Park over the next 5 years and to explore, in very practical ways, sustainable tourism growth opportunities with a range of speakers from a variety of agencies and successful local businesses.


Speakers include National Park Authority Chief Executive Gordon Watson, Janie Neumann, Industry Development Manager (Sustainability/Food and Drink) from Visit Scotland and Jim Walker from Cumbria Tourism, the destination organisation that covers the Lake District National Park where there are some useful lessons on how to develop sustainable tourism businesses.


There will also be speakers from local successful businesses in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, including Tom Lewis of Mhor Group who operate a range of accommodation and catering businesses in Balquhidder Glen and Callander; Sandy Fraser of the Oak Tree Inn, the Village Shop and St Mocha Coffee Shop in Balmaha; and Gordon Allan of the Loch Katrine Steamship Company who have recently diversified with the addition of an eco-camp catering for the growing glamping market.


James Fraser, Chairman for Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, said: “I am delighted we have managed to organise this event at what is both an exciting and challenging time for tourism businesses locally with tourism currently on an upward trend but with visitors becoming increasingly discerning in what is a very competitive marketplace.


He added:’’ We have a great line up of speakers who will provide useful insights to tourism trends as well as providing practical tips on how to grow successful and sustainable tourism businesses capitalising more on the international brand appeal of the National Park. Some business advisors from Business Gateway will also be present to help local businesses at what should be a very informative and useful business networking event”


The cost is £10 per person, which includes lunch. To find out more or to reserve your spot, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01389 727761.