News

Arrochar & Tarbet Visitor Welcome Initiative

 

31st May 2021

As part of a bold initiative to try and turn around the fortunes of the lochside villages of Arrochar and Tarbet a new visitor welcome initiative was launched (today) by local MSP Jackie Baillie and villagers. This includes the deployment of Village Visitor Wardens, the opening of temporary public toilets and the roll out of information maps at dozens of sites throughout the villages.

The plight of the popular tourist villages of Arrochar and Tarbet has been highlighted regularly during the past year with them suffering from the double blow of extensive A83 road closures due to landslides at the nearby Rest and Be Thankful and the devasting impact of COVID 19 lockdowns which decimated the local tourist industry.

Earlier this year a working group of local tourism businesses, the local Development Trust, the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Luss Estates and the National Park came together to develop a fightback plan for the villages with a series of priority actions identified including some quick win actions for delivery in time for this summer season.

                                                            Early Action

With funding support from the NatureScot Better Places Green Recovery grants scheme, the Hannah Stirling Loch Lomond Trust and the Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme it has been possible for the local Tourism Action Group to work swiftly to deliver a package of early action improvements for the May holiday weekend.

This includes the provision of temporary toilets at Arrochar Car Park with the permission of car park owners Luss Estates. They are due to be augmented with additional toilets shortly at the start of the popular Cobbler mountain path. Other measures include the employment of three seasonal Visitor Wardens to provide a range of services to help visitors and improve the appearance of the village; and the design, production and installation of information and orientation map panels at key locations such as bus stops, the railway station and other busy tourist outlets in the area.

                                                            Impressed

At the launch event local MSP Jackie Baillie said:’’ I am really impressed with what has been achieved by a small band of local volunteers working in close partnership with the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs in such a short time. It is refreshing to see what can be achieved by adopting a determined and positive attitude in times of adversity.

The provision of much needed toilets and information map panels backed up by three locally recruited Visitor Services Wardens- Robert McEwan, Walter Dey and Martin Semple- should ensure the area caters more effectively for the needs of visitors as we ease out of lockdown restrictions and with a rapid increase in the number of people who simply want to enjoy the great outdoors in the Arrochar & Tarbet area.’’

Friends Trustee and Chair of the local Development Trust Duncan Macglachlan said:’’ It has been a busy period preparing for the launch of this visitor welcome initiative but it marks the start of what will hopefully be a productive period of regeneration in both villages as we begin the long journey on the road to recovery after some unprecedented events outwith our control.

I am grateful to local businesses and colleagues at the conservation charity, Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and Luss Estates who have really stepped up to the plate in our time of need.’’

Jane Ireland of local business group Destination Arrochar Alps added:’’ This has been an exciting period with a real focus on making a difference in a remarkably short timescale and all the hard work has paid off with tangible improvements on the ground which will improve the overall quality of visitor welcome we are able to provide this summer. I am confident we can build further on this as we try to position the area as one of Scotland’s top tourist destinations.’’

James Fraser, Chair of the Friends: ‘’ We were delighted to pull together funding for this visitor welcome initiative and the response from the local community to getting their sleeves rolled up and helping to deliver improvements in the villages has been great to see. It demonstrates what can be achieved quickly with the right encouragement and pump priming financial support.’’

Vacancy for Project Support Officer

We have an exciting opportunity for a Project Support Officer!

 

Job Vacancy *** CLOSED ***

Job title:                    Project Support Officer

Salary:                      £22,000 pro rata

Part time post:         30 hours per week (Mon-Fri flexible by arrangement)                                     

Job location:            Home Based & Balloch

 

The Friends of Loch Lomond is seeking to appoint a part time Project Support Officer who will be an experienced administrator with a proactive attitude to work with the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park’s only independent conservation and heritage charity.  The position is currently home based with the potential for some days to be based in the National Park offices in Balloch in the future. 

For over 40 years we have been working to protect and nurture the special qualities of the National Park, promote and celebrate its natural and cultural heritage, and provide support to make the National Park a better place for people and nature. We currently are active on a number of fronts and this post involves supporting a Board of voluntary trustees with the delivery of an interesting and diverse range of programmes and activities.

The Project Support Officer role will include:

  • Assist with managing projects and membership campaigns 
  • Support digital adaptations to Friends website and online magazine
  • Manage and update financial, member contact and statistical information in MS Access and other MS Office applications
  • Maintain positive contact with Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme members, business supporters and including recruiting more participants and collection of monies raised.
  • Assist with press and marketing activities to promote the Friends activities including the Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme and visitor management programmes.
  • Regular updates and maintenance of the project award files, the Friends’ website and Facebook posts
  • Assist with compilation and distribution of ‘OUR park’ newsletter updates,
  • Assist with the production of the popular ‘ Voice’ magazine and news releases;
  • Support marketing activity, including social media targeted campaigns. Identifying and making contact with potential  individual  members and businesses as directed
  • Assist with all aspects of OUR park and Friends events – these include volunteer / fundraising events, scheme member events and meetings
  • General administrative duties including email & telephone enquiries and taking action minutes of meetings.

Use of a car will be required for this post on an occasional basis.

Please compllete and return the application form: docs/SupportOfficerApplicationForm2021.doc

Application forms and supporting letters should be returned by 5 pm on 31st May 2021 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.lochlomondtrossachs.org.uk

 

 

Vacancy for Project Support Officer (2)

We have an exciting opportunity for a Project Support Officer!

 

Job Vacancy *** CLOSED ***

Job title:                    Project Support Officer

Salary:                      £22,000 pro rata

Part time post:         30 hours per week (Mon-Fri flexible by arrangement)                                     

Job location:            Home Based & Balloch

 

The Friends of Loch Lomond is seeking to appoint a part time Project Support Officer who will be an experienced administrator with a proactive attitude to work with the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park’s only independent conservation and heritage charity.  The position is currently home based with the potential for some days to be based in the National Park offices in Balloch in the future. 

For over 40 years we have been working to protect and nurture the special qualities of the National Park, promote and celebrate its natural and cultural heritage, and provide support to make the National Park a better place for people and nature. We currently are active on a number of fronts and this post involves supporting a Board of voluntary trustees with the delivery of an interesting and diverse range of programmes and activities.

The Project Support Officer role will include:

  • Assist with managing projects and membership campaigns 
  • Support digital adaptations to Friends website and online magazine
  • Manage and update financial, member contact and statistical information in MS Access and other MS Office applications
  • Maintain positive contact with Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme members, business supporters and including recruiting more participants and collection of monies raised.
  • Assist with press and marketing activities to promote the Friends activities including the Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme and visitor management programmes.
  • Regular updates and maintenance of the project award files, the Friends’ website and Facebook posts
  • Assist with compilation and distribution of ‘OUR park’ newsletter updates,
  • Assist with the production of the popular ‘ Voice’ magazine and news releases;
  • Support marketing activity, including social media targeted campaigns. Identifying and making contact with potential  individual  members and businesses as directed
  • Assist with all aspects of OUR park and Friends events – these include volunteer / fundraising events, scheme member events and meetings
  • General administrative duties including email & telephone enquiries and taking action minutes of meetings.

Use of a car will be required for this post on an occasional basis.

Please compllete and return the application form: docs/SupportOfficerApplicationForm2021.doc

Application forms and supporting letters should be returned by 5 pm on 31st May 2021 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.lochlomondtrossachs.org.uk

 

 

Trossachs Gears Up to Welcome Visitors Back 15th April 2021

 

With the recent announcement from the First Minister on easing of travel restrictions (from tomorrow) the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area is gearing up to welcome visitors back with new measures in place to cope more effectively with the anticipated influx of visitors.

James Fraser, Chair of Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said: ‘’We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the National Park to enjoy the great outdoors after a prolonged period of lockdown but we are anxious to ensure visitors act responsibly by following the guidance issued by public agencies on topics such as parking, littering and toileting to avoid the chaos that occurred when lockdown restrictions were eased last year.’’

Thankfully all the public toilets and car parks are open this time around and steps have been taken by the public agencies to extend opening hours and supplement provision at key sites around Loch Lomond with additional temporary toilets. This should help but visitors need to be aware that most tourism business are still closed and they should come prepared simply to enjoy the outdoors in safe and responsible ways.

One of the most significant challenges is coping with the large number of visitors arriving by car and the current infrastructure is in adequate to cope. Disappointingly, little in the way of additional car parking provision is in place at this stage although the Steamship Trust at Loch Katrine and Forestry & Land Scotland have both recently received planning consent for much need car park extensions below Ben A’an and at Trossachs and Stronachlachar Piers.’’

Meanwhile, the Friends have progressed phase 1 of a refresh of the Trossachs Trail with signs around the 40 mile trail receiving a makeover in the past couple of weeks to assist visitors to find their way around the area.

This has been augmented with the creation of a new website www.trossachstrail.co.uk which is packed with useful information on walks, cycle routes and points of interest in the Trossachs.

New information panels have also been designed and will be erected at key locations around the Trail shortly to help visitors get the most out of their time in the area.

Friends Virtual AGM for Members

Zoom Meeting: 23rd March 2021

Friends Members are invited to attend the annual members meeting on Tuesday 23rd March at 4pm. It is unfortunate that due to Covid-19, we are unable to get together face-to-face as usual at Ross Priory and, like many other charities, we have no option but to host the event online.

Last year we hoped that COVID 19 restrictions would ease to allow us to hold an AGM, however this was not to be, and in the end we did not manage to arrange one. This means that the forthcoming meeting will cover both 2019 and 2020 to comply with OSCR requirements.

As this event will be virtual, it will be a shorter meeting than usual, however we will share a brief overview of some of the projects progressed during the last two years, together with the headline initiatives we are focusing on for 2021. 

Any Members wishing to attend the AGM should contact Carol Lloyd on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Zoom link, along with agenda and accounts will be issued ahead of the event.

Tourism turmoil taking it's toll in Scotland's first National Park

Half a billion pounds slump in Loch Lomond visitor spend on the horizon 

As the anniversary of the first Covid 19 lockdown approaches and with no end in sight to the current shutdown of tourism with travel restrictions likely to remain in place for some time, a former tourist chief for the area and current Chair of a leading National Park charity claims income generated from visitors in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is hurtling towards a massive drop of at least £500 million in the coming months with thousands of jobs already gone and many more under threat. 

The lockdowns last year and so far this year have resulted in tourism revenues falling at a staggering rate in the National Park with over £300 million in losses racked up already and a further £200 million in the pipeline, including valuable advance bookings from the important English and overseas markets, according to James Fraser, Chair of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. 

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Scotland with over 4 million visitors a year generating spend of £420 million and sustaining over 6,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

He warned the current prolonged lockdown, along with recent Scottish Government Ministerial advice not to book Easter or summer holidays, means many tourism businesses in the National Park and throughout Scotland continue to be in limbo clinging on by their fingertips in survival mode and unable to plan ahead with any certainty. 

Mr Fraser said: ''Tourism and hospitality businesses are looking into the abyss with fixed costs increasing due to the recent lengthy cold snap and severely depressed levels of income from forward booking deposits, which are normally buoyant at this time of year. They are becoming more desperate.''

''While the various closure and sectoral grant schemes are helpful they fall well short of monthly fixed overheads with many businesses having now exhausted their reserves and borrowing more heavily on top of previous borrowings. More permanent tourism business closures have taken place and more are inevitable the longer the lockdown continues.''

''When businesses eventually do re-open various trading restrictions are likely still to be in place limiting capacity and trading potential meaning they could be quite exposed in cashflow terms without more support.''

He believes there has been a massive dip in forward bookings from the important overseas and English markets and there is going to be greater reliance on the Scottish market this year. Even with an uplift of a third in 2019 compared to 2018, at 7.7 million trips and a value of £1.4 billion this represented less than 25% of the overall value of tourism to Scotland in 2019.

BETTER PLACES GREEN RECOVERY FUNDING SECURED FOR TROSSACHS BEAUTY SPOT

Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs have joined forces with Port of Menteith Community Council to successfully bid for a NatureScot grant through the Better Places Green Recovery Fund to undertake a review of visitor management issues in the Lake of Menteith and surrounding area  and to come forward with a practical action plan to address some of the problems created by growing visitor pressures.

A grant of £8,500 has been awarded to the Friends by NatureScot and ‘in kind’ support from the Friends and the Community Council takes the overall value of the project up to £10,000 for the detailed review which will be undertaken in close consultation with residents in the Port of Menteith Community Council area.

James Fraser, Chair of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said: ’’ We are delighted that the Lake of Menteith Visitor Management Project is being supported by NaturteScot and we are looking forward to working closely with the Port of Menteith Coummunity Council and local residents and businesses over the next couple of months to help identify and address some of the pressing visitor management issues being faced in this special area on the edge of Scotland’s first National Park.

We are also pleased to have recruited local resident Callum McNeill-Ritchie of Hushwing to undertake the important community consultation which will be the key to developing a consensus on what ‘light touch’ visitor management measures are required to improve the current situation around the Lake. Callum is a very experienced senior countryside ranger who has previously worked for both the National Park and the National Trust for Scotland and he, of course, has been well mentored by his late step-father, Keith Graham and regular Observer nature columnist, who was Scotland’s first ever Countryside Ranger’’

Jim Riach, a Port of Menteith Community Councillor said: ‘’ We are pleased to receive the backing from both NatureScot and the Friends for this important work which hopefully will result in the creation of a widely supported Visitor Management Action Plan that will help make a real difference locally.

We are a small community with limited resources and infrastructure. We hope that by creating and implementing a Visitor Management Action Plan this this will encourage more responsible use of the area and our unique but fragile visitor attractions. We want Port of Menteith to be a great place where local residents and visitors can safely co-exist and enjoy what we have to offer.’’

If you are resident or have a business in the area and have views on current visitor management issues around lake of Menteith or nearby please contact Callum McNeill-Ritchie- email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refill initiative helps to reduce plastic waste in the National Park

Did you know….that if just 1 in 10 Brits refilled their water bottle once per week, rather than buying a single use bottle, it would save around 340 million plastic bottles a year?

One of the objectives of Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, is to support green initiatives within the National Park and we were interested to hear about ‘Refill’, a national campaign led by the City to Sea charity, with the aim of reducing plastic pollution. Refill Loch Lomond and The Trossachs kicked off last summer and 20 businesses are already signed up and offering refills.  We know only too well the amount of plastic bottles that end up in, or strewn around, the lochs, from the sack loads that we collect during our litter-picking events.  

Alison Limbert, Director of Love Lochs and Landscapes explains more about the scheme and the environmental benefits it delivers.   

Refill connects people with a reusable water bottle to access tap water while out and about rather than buying a single use plastic water bottle.  The campaign provides an app which lists places (Refill Stations) where drinking water is provided by local businesses or by public water fountains.  Many businesses may already be offering to fill up water bottles, however the app and the Refill branded window stickers provide a recognisable commitment from a business that they are willing to do so.

67% of people would be more likely to use a reusable water bottle if they knew that a business would willingly fill it up.  In October 2020, the national Refill campaign was extended beyond water bottle refills to also include listing businesses where you can buy a takeaway hot drink in a reusable cup.

Refill Loch Lomond and Trossachs began in summer 2020 and has 20 businesses signed up so far to be Refill Stations.  As well as reducing the environmental impact in the area from producing, shipping and disposing of single use plastic bottles and coffee cups it also reduces the number of items that can be littered. 

It has been great to have many businesses sign up and offer refills during the pandemic. It has been a difficult time and there’s been a lot of confusion and concern around hygiene and reusables.  As reported on City to Sea website:

*Over 120 health scientists have stated reusables are safe as long as basic hygiene is followed i.e. wash your hands

Some statistics on why it is important to find alternatives to single use plastic bottles and coffee cups:

  • If just 1 in 10 Brits Refilled once per week, it would save around 340m plastic bottles a year (City to Sea)
  • Plastic bottles are the biggest source of plastic pollutants in rivers (Earthwatch and Plastic Oceans UK)
  • Over 200m single use drinks cups are estimated to be used in Scotland each year. This is expected to increase to 310m by 2025 less than 1% are recycled. At least 40,000 are littered (source Zero Waste Scotland). “

 

 

Christmas Tree Cash Boost for Red Squirrel Conservation in The Trossachs

In the run up to last Christmas the Duff Christmas Tree Farm of Buchylvie partnered with the Friends of Loch Lomond & Trossachs conservation charity to support the fight to save Red Squirrels in the Trossachs which is a major battleground to prevent the drift north of the stronger and more dominant grey squirrels.

The Christmas Tree Farm made a generous donation of almost £700 generated from a small levy on the sale of every tree sold as part of a very successful ‘cut your own Christmas Tree’ fundraising initiative, boosted with additional contributions from their customers. Visitors to the farm during December were greeted by Red Squirrel mascots, which helped raise awareness of the fundraising efforts.

The Christmas Tree Farm is on the edge of the National Park and the Duff family volunteered their support to help protect and grow the population of Red Squirrels in the Trossachs. This is a crucial area for the long-term conservation of these iconic and much loved endangered animals.

20th January 2021

Thanks to projects supported by Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and others, the numbers of Red Squirrels are starting to increase, but more work needs to be done to ensure longer-term success. These funds will go towards a range of projects with local groups, including the installation of bird feeding boxes in the southern woodland areas of the Trossachs and nearby Gartmore.

Euan Duff of Duff Christmas Trees said: ‘’This year, despite Covid-19 we were able to safely maintain what for many is an important family tradition of choosing and cutting a Christmas Tree. We are delighted that the season was such a success and that so many people were able to participate.

With our position so close to the Highland Boundary Fault line we were very keen to support Red Squirrel conservation. We were delighted to be associated with Friends of Loch Lomond & Trossachs, as there is great synergy as we continue to ensure maintaining good environmental practices. Our green charter includes the planting of two trees for every one cut down and protection of ancient woodland that is on our farm.‘’

James Fraser, Chair of Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs said: ‘‘This is a positive news story amid the continuing gloom associated with the impact of Covid 19 and we are grateful to the Duff family at Duff Christmas Tree Farm for stepping up to the plate so enthusiastically to support the conservation of red squirrels along the Highland edge in Scotland’s first National Park at this time.

Not only have they and their customers raised much needed funds, but they have also helped to raise awareness of the urgent need to strengthen conservation efforts to save Red Squirrels. These funds will be well used and should help with the purchase of bulk supplies of red squirrel feeder boxes and squirrel feed which we plan to deploy by working closely with local groups in and around the Trossachs.’’

Love Local Cash Boost for The Trossachs

Wednesday, 9th December 2020

The beleaguered Trossachs tourist industry has received a welcome boost with the announcement that the National Park heritage charity, the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has received a £5,000 grant from the Scotland Loves Local Fund to support the showcasing of the Trossachs area and local businesses as part of a planned refresh of the 40 mile Trossachs Trail that links the communities of Doune, Thornhill, Port of Mentieth, Aberfoyle, Brig o Turk and Callander.

The grant is part of a wider funding package to strengthen the promotion and better management of tourism in the Trossachs area and the funds will be specifically used to develop a new Trossachs Trail website, improve signing and install information and map boards at ‘’hub and spoke’’ locations in towns and villages and stopping off points around the scenic tourist route.

Welcoming the grant award James Fraser, Chair of the Friends said:’’ This is another important contribution to the ambitious Trossachs Visitor Management Project being taken forward with other local partners and should enable us to make a real difference by strengthening the promotion of things to see and do as well the extensive range of services provided by fragile rural businesses which are struggling to survive due to the impact of Covid 19 restrictions.

By stepping up the promotion and development of the Trossachs Trail this will greatly help the recovery process and improve the showcasing of the of the area and the diversity of services and facilities available in communities along the Trail and in the surrounding countryside areas.’’

The Scotland Loves Local Fund is provided by the Scottish Government to support local partnership to promote their local area, including small scale place-based improvements. The Fund is administered by Scotlkand’s Towns Partnership.

Phil Prentice, STP’s Chief Officer, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative in such an important tourist area where local businesses have suffered dramatic decreases in trading due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is vital we support them in every way we can at this difficult time and the Trossachs Trail programme of activity will I am sure have beneficial impact in 2021 and beyond.

It’s so important, whether it be for retail or hospitality, that where we can, we think local first for all of our needs. This will ensure that our local businesses can continue to be there for us in the future.’’

To find out more about some great ways you can support local this December visit: www.VisitScotland.com/LoveLocal