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.”