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

News

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

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.

Tom Weir statue reaches 300,000 visitors

Wednesday, December 13 2017

 

An impressive 300,000 people have visited the Tom Weir Statue at scenic Balmaha Bay, which is preparing to mark its third anniversary later this month. The Loch Lomondside monument, paying tribute to Scotland’s most-loved mountain man, was unveiled to the public on Monday, December 29 2014, and has proved to be a runaway success.

 

The statue site has continued to evolve since its opening day, with the creation of a mountain garden named after Tom and his late wife Rhona, picnic facilities and storyboards. It also had donation posts installed which have collected almost £4,500 for the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs conservation and heritage charity, who together with Sandy Fraser, owner of the neighbouring Oak Tree Inn, maintain the site and meet annual costs.

 

The Friends worked closely with the Tom Weir Memorial Fund to raise almost £150,000 to transform the former run down picnic site at Balmaha Bay, which opened almost three years ago in front of hundreds of people wearing Tom’s signature red toorie hats.

 

James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends said: “The success of the site continues to exceed expectations and it has clearly captured the public’s imagination making it a top visitor attraction on Loch Lomondside. Sadly, Tom’s wife Rhona passed away this year, but while she was alive she regularly visited the site and was delighted to see just how popular Tom’s statue and the mountain garden were with residents and visitors alike.

 

He added: “The donation posts have been another welcome addition to the site, and have assisted significantly with the cost of insuring the statue and maintaining the site to a very high quality by our local contractor, Alexander Fraser and Sons.”

 

Susan Taylor, Administrator for the Tom Weir Memorial Fund added: “All those years ago when we first considered the idea of locating a statue in honour of Tom at Loch Lomond, we could never have envisaged the success it would enjoy in its first three years. Tom Weir is a hero to so many people not just in Scotland, but further afield, and the number of visitors to the site, as well as it standing the test of time in its first three years, proves exactly that.

 

“All of this would not have been possible without a hard working group of volunteers and the considerable help of many others, including the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, who stepped in to handle grant funding bids and coordinate the delivery of the project.”

Mountains and the People - trainee recruitment

Thursday, February 1 2018

Our friends at The Mountains and The People project are now recruiting their next batch of eight trainees, who will start work in April.

These posts will be based in Balloch and run for six months from Monday, April 23 to Friday, November 2 inclusive. More details, including how to apply for the posts, are available at www.themountainsandthepeople.org.uk/jobs

New online business resource for Loch Lomond tourism businesses

Tuesday, October 24 2017

A brand new online business resource has launched for the tourism community in the Loch Lomond, Trossachs and Clyde Sea Lochs area.

The website, www.businesslochlomond.com, created as part of the Scottish Enterprise Tourism Destination Development Fund, is completely free to register and use; signposting businesses to news, events, training and hospitality business case studies, industry toolkits and more.

Registered users can also post jobs, business news and events for free, and in the longer term will get access to bespoke training materials and tourism business intelligence - all with the aim of helping tourism and hospitality businesses develop and grow and engage with their visitors.

Karen Donnelly, Destination Manager of Destination Organisation Love Loch Lomond said: "Through our work with destination organisation Love Loch Lomond and having engaged with the local tourism and hospitality business community over time, we realised that there was a real need for a 'one-stop shop' where tourism businesses can go to access all kinds of resources, news and events which can help them capitalise on business opportunities, training, and get practical information to meet the daily challenges of running a tourism business in 21st Century Scotland."

Karen continued: "We are delighted with the feedback received on the site so far, and we strongly encourage tourism and hospitality businesses to register for free, to join our business community and share their news, events and local job opportunities for our area - and take advantage of local business events and training opportunities."

Visit www.businesslochlomond.com for more information and to register.

Volunteers help to open up views of Loch Lomond as part of special Make a Difference Day event

Wednesday, October 18 2017

Volunteers taking part in the latest ‘Make a Difference Day’, organised by Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent and conservation and heritage charity for the National Park, helped to remove trees and shrubs to open up scenic views of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond along a stretch of the busy A82 tourist route.

 

A group of 30 volunteers travelled to Inverbeg, just north of Luss, to remove several hundred metres of overgrown plants and shrubs from the side of the road, giving motorists, cyclists and walkers clear views of Loch Lomond. Also, part of the day was a litter clearance exercise, which resulted in dozens of bags of rubbish being collected from litter strewn laybys and neighbouring areas beside the A82. This was part of the Friends’ ‘Windows on the Loch’ project, which aims to improve views of Loch Lomond along the busy A82 tourist route.

 

The volunteers came from a variety of walks of life including Luss Estates, the Department for International Development and Scottish Water as well as motivated individuals who volunteer regularly with the Friends and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. The nearby Inn on Loch Lomond Hotel also provided shelter and complimentary lunch for the volunteers.

 

The event was the latest Make a Difference Day to be led by the Friends, and builds on the efforts made by the conservation and heritage charity in recent years with funding support from the National Park Authority to remove stretches of the Loch Lomond ‘tree tunnel’ which for years effectively meant there were no views of Loch Lomond along the entire twenty mile stretch of the A82 between Duck Bay, near Balloch and Tarbet.

 

In recent years other Make a Difference Days have involved litter and rhododendron clearance and path improvements works at different locations around the National Park with volunteers and corporate bodies helping to protect the special landscapes of the National Park.

Volunteers who took part on the day

 

Friends Vice-Chairman John Urquhart, who was among the volunteers who took part on the day, said: “Anybody passing this area of Loch Lomond now has a much better view of its natural beauty, and it is all down to the efforts of the volunteers, who turned out in force to ensure that this event was a great success. We even noticed passing motorists stopping in laybys to have pictures taken against the new backdrop!

 

“We were delighted with the response we had to Make a Difference Day, especially at a time of year when the weather can be so unpredictable. Fortunately, we had the elements on our side this time around, and with the hard work of so many people to open up views of the loch and Ben Lomond has made a real difference.”

Volunteers get to work

 

Niall Colquhoun, owner of the Inn on Loch Lomond, added: “We were very pleased to support the Friends and the volunteers on the day, helping the hard workers to enjoy a relaxed lunch in between their spells of unstinting efforts. The improved views of Loch Lomond from the A82 has already been positively commented on by some of our visitors and I am delighted with what has been achieved by the volunteers.”

Friends' response to Herald article

Tuesday, October 17 2017

The below letter has been sent to the Herald in response to their front-page article of Monday, October 16 2017.

Dear Sir/Madam,

The not so ''Bonnie Banks''

I was interested to read your front page article highlighting the stark claims by environmental charity Keep Scotland Tidy that ''Scotland is being choked by soaring levels of litter and filth which is creating an image of a country gripped by decline and neglect with rubbish and fly-tipping standards at their lowest level in a decade'' (''One million Scots living in dirty towns and streets'', The Herald, October 16).

This is a damning, but fairly accurate, indictment of the current situation which equally applies to popular beauty spots such as Loch Lomond and the busy A82 route corridor, as well as the communities in urban and rural Scotland referred to in the article. It also undermines Scotland's recent accolade as the most beautiful country in the world as voted by Rough Guide readers. How long before we are voted as one of the dirtiest countries in the western world which is a real possibility if we continue on the current trajectory?

In response to the unsatisfactory state of affairs on Loch Lomondside we organised a successful 'Make a Difference Day' last week which saw 30 volunteers from a wide variety of walks of life getting their sleeves rolled up and removing dozens of bags of litter strewn beside laybys on the Bonnie Banks as well as opening up views of Ben Lomond. We have found that direct action of this nature is often far more productive than making fruitless representations to public agencies appealing with them to face up to their responsibilities and to address the situation in a consistent and coordinated basis.

Sadly, many public agencies have become more skilled in passing the buck and hiding behind ''PR speak' rather than admitting there is a litter problem that needs concerted action with their involvement and resource commitments. To be fair, the National Park Authority has recently acknowledged the deteriorating situation with regards to litter and is making attempts to bring local partners together to try and improve the situation. The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has also called for a ''Litter Summit'' to be held soon involving senior representatives from relevant agencies and local community councils and businesses as the current unsatisfactory situation cannot be allowed to continue.

No doubt as part of the latest annual round of local authority budget saving reviews throughout Scotland the option of cutting back further on litter and cleansing services will feature high on the agenda. Based on the compelling evidence from the recent extensive Keep Scotland Beautiful surveys this would be a major mistake and would simply accelerate the further erosion of Scotland's environmental credentials and undermine the economic well-being of the country which is increasingly dependent on a successful tourist industry.

Yours faithfully,

James Fraser

Chairman

Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

Carrochan

Carrochan Road

Balloch

G83 8EG