Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs AGM & Annual Gathering
Tuesday, 17 May 2022 at Ross Priory, Gartocharn
It is with great pleasure that, once again, we are able to invite you to join us at Ross Priory, face to face, to attend the ‘Friends’ AGM and Annual Gathering which will be preceded by an optional two course buffet meal and followed by two very interesting talks on topical subjects.
The meal will commence at 6pm and be followed by a short AGM at 7.15pm and then the talks.
These are short but very interesting talks on the theme of Protecting the Special Qualities of Loch Lomond and are of current interest.
It is anticipated that this interesting evening will conclude by 9pm at the very latest.
To assist with arrangements we would appreciate your booking in advance, both for the meal and the AGM.
Booking can be made by phoning Mrs Jennifer Plunkett, Project Support Officer, on 07496 433134 (Mon–Wed 8am-6pm & Thurs 8am–11am)
Or by writing to: Friends Office, Carrochan, Carrochan Road, Balloch G83 8EG
The sum of £10 will be payable on the night for the two course buffet meal and coffee/tea.
The Annual Report, Accounts and the Agenda for the AGM will be available for everyone at the meeting.
We do hope that you will be able to attend this Members’ evening.
As part of a recent Make a Difference Day volunteering event organised by conservation charity, the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, over 100 bags of litter and large discarded items such as PVC doors and carpets were removed from layby verges and the shores of Loch Lubnaig.
Over 20 volunteers from the Friends, Forest Holidays, Terrenus Land & Water Ltd and the National Park tackled large accumulations of litter and fly tipping beside the busy A84 lochside road. Other tasks tackled included removing broken plastic tree guards and cutting back vegetation as part of an effort to protect wildlife and improve biodiversity.
The event was co hosted by Forest Holidays who operate the successful Strathyre Cabin complex at the north end of the loch and they provided lunch and refreshments for the hard-working volunteers who made a real difference in this stunning part of the National Park.
John Urquhart, Vice-Chair of the Friends who participated in the event said: ’It was great to see such a large turnout of enthusiastic volunteers who tackled litter blackspots alongside Loch Lubnaig which is one of the most popular destinations in the National Park as well as a busy through route with traffic heading to and from the West Highlands.
Given the scale of littering there is case to re-introduce litter bins at some of the more popular stopping places. This has proved to be a great success on Loch Lomondside where we piloted a bin scheme last year which resulted in the removal of the equivalent of a staggering 6,500 bags of litter.’’
Pauline Lynch, Environment and Sustainability Officer at Forest Holidays said: “We were really pleased to support this event as we prepare for a very busy period with lots of visitors enjoying the great outdoors in this part of the National Park.
It was disappointing to see the scale of littering and fly-tipping taking place and I would urge visitors planning to come to the lochside to act responsibly by taking litter home and leaving nothing behind to protect the rich variety of wildlife on the shoreline of this special loch.’’
Do you have a day to spare to make a difference in the National Park? Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs are looking for volunteers for our Make a Difference Day on Wednesday 30th March!
Several lochside visitor management projects being delivered by the conservation charity, Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, have received a welcome cash injection of £4,500 from donations made by passengers on cruises operated by long established Cruise Loch Lomond.
Projects benefitting from the funds include litter management along West Loch Lomondside, protecting views of the loch and Ben Lomond along the A82 tree corridor, red squirrel conservation and local village warden schemes.
Friends Chair, James Fraser said:’’ Cruise Loch Lomond have been long time supporters of the Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme which provides a mechanism for visitors to donate funds via local businesses to support conservation, heritage, access and visitor management projects in the National Park for the benefit of people and nature.
It is to the great credit of the Directors and staff of Cruise Loch Lomond that they have managed to raise so much for local projects during the past two years which has been a challenging time interrupted with Covid 19 closures and restrictions on trading and we are grateful for their efforts.
We rely heavily on this sort of support from 100 businesses in and around the National Park and they all deserve our sincere thanks as do their many thousands of visitors who are helping us to make a real difference to make the National Park a better place with the delivery of many practical projects on the ground working with local communities.’’
Stuart Cordner of Cruise Loch Lomond said: “We are only too glad to try to help locally based projects in the National Park which need financial support, and the Friends of OUR park scheme has been an excellent way for us to do this. We wish to thank all customers who have made contributions to our fundraising while we have been part of this great initiative led by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.’’
Cruise Loch Lomond operates out of piers around Loch Lomond and has been at the forefront of many green tourism initiatives as part of their efforts to ensure visitors can enjoy the special natural and cultural heritage qualities of Loch Lomond.
Scheme should match the best scenic routes in global family of National Parks
National Park conservation group, the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has called for a much bolder and inspiring solution for the planned upgrade of the 17km stretch of the Loch Lomondside Road north of Tarbet which is more in keeping with the National Park setting and less environmentally damaging in such a sensitive scenic area.
Transport Scotland has recently unveiled plans for a long overdue £150 million upgrade of the strategically important A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan, which is currently very narrow and dangerous as it winds its way through challenging terrain close to the lochshore and the West Highland Railway.
The current proposals include a series of large and highly visible rock cuts, lengthy sections of viaduct structures built out over the loch and removal of extensive areas of protected ancient oak woodlands to develop an upgraded route that is very close to the existing A82 but wider with fewer bends.
Friends Chair, James Fraser said: ‘’We are disappointed that the current proposals fall well short of what is required in this sensitive National Park setting, notwithstanding the considerable engineering and environmental constraints that exist.
The design proposals follow the more ‘minimalist approach’ adopted for sections of the current A9 reconstruction between Perth and Inverness with many opportunities to capitalise on the unique settings of both of Scotland’s National Parks not being fully realised compared to some scenic through routes developed elsewhere in European and North American National Parks where more is made of the special natural qualities with imaginative wildlife crossings, scenic lookouts and outdoor recreational infrastructure.
A more ambitious scheme that truly embraces the unique setting of the route in this part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is required which is more aligned with the vision set out in the National Park Plan that recognises the importance of protecting the internationally renowned landscape of Loch Lomond for people to enjoy and appreciate the outstanding natural and cultural heritage.’’
The Friends consider the impact and benefits of the current preferred scheme could be greatly improved with the introduction some more ambitious landscaping solutions such as green canopies where higher rock cuts are planned, the greening of areas under viaducts, the greater separation of the planned cycleway from road verges with diversions and tiered structures and the construction of a roundabout and safer crossings in the Tarbet area where villagers suffer from high traffic volumes using both the A82 and A83.
They also contend that circumstances have changed significantly in recent years due to the climate emergency and the surge in popularity of Loch Lomond as a recreational resource as a direct result of COVID 19 and, consequently, a more ambitious solution is required. They consider there should be a brief pause to re-examine the optimal solution which will leave a better legacy for the benefit of current and future generations that is truly worthy of the unique setting of Loch Lomond and its place in the worldwide family of National Parks.
Volunteers Make a Difference on the Lochside
The sun shone on the 40 volunteers who turned out last week to take part in a very successful Make a Difference Day on West Loch Lomondside organised by conservation charity, the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs with support from the Park Authority.
The volunteers made a real difference by opening up views that had become lost due to overgrown vegetation and clearing over 100 bags of litter from bramble bushes on the lochside between Luss and Inverbeg. This was part of the Friends long term ‘’Windows on the Loch’’ project to maintain views of Loch Lomond and complemented the lay-by litter bin pilot project that the Friends successfully introduced this summer.
Friends Vice-Chair, John Urquhart said: “With nesting long finished and the leaves going off the brambles, early November is a good time to carry out this kind of work and to get sunshine too was a real bonus which meant the volunteers were able to get more done in pleasant conditions.”
Jennifer Plunkett, The Friends new Project Officer, who coordinated the event said: ‘’This was the first time the Friends have been able to undertake an event of this nature since the Government’s relaxation of Covid combatting measures and it was really heartening to get such a good turnout including such good representation from the business community who have come through a torrid time over the past two years.’’
Volunteers from a wide area took part in the event and they were joined by staff and volunteers from Cruise Loch Lomond, Luss Estates, Terrenus Land and Water, Scottish Water and the National Park.
Bonnie Banks Lay-by Litter Bin Scheme a Runaway Success
In a move to tackle Loch Lomond’s chronic litter problems following the easing of COVID 19 travel restrictions, independent conservation charity the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, introduced a pilot litter bin scheme in laybys beside the busy 13 mile stretch of the A82 on Loch Lomondside between Arden and Tarbet over the summer months
This has proved to be a great success with 15 tonnes of litter collected and an impressive 97% of this waste being recycled instead of strewn along road verges and in laybys on the lochside as it would have been in previous years. This equates to a staggering 4,000 bags of litter collected overall (120,000 litres) with 3,880 bags of litter being recycled (116,400 litres).
This litter initiative was part of a larger £90,000 Two Lochs Visitor Management Project, led by the Friends with considerable volunteer input, that also included providing temporary toilets at the busy Duck Bay and Arrochar visitor hotspots as well as introducing seasonal village visitor wardens. The funding for the litter pilot scheme was provided by NatureScot from their Green Recovery Fund and the Hannah Stirling Loch Lomond Trust with some additional sponsorship from waste recycling company ENVA.
The installation of 20 bins in lay-bys and twice weekly litter collections over the busy summer months has been truly transformative and additional litter and fly-tipping clearing work by volunteers, the local Community Service team, Argyll & Bute Council and the Park Authority have also helped improve the litter situation along what continues to be one of the busiest tourist routes in Scotland with over 6 million vehicle movements annually.
Adopt a Bin Scheme Plans
Following the success of the pilot scheme, the Friends have allocated funds to extend the litter bin initiative over the winter months while longer term plans are developed for an innovative year-round ‘Adopt a Bonnie Banks Bin’ scheme with support from potential private and public sector partners.
John Urquhart, Vice Chair of the Friends said: ’’There is a substantial body of evidence from our regular monitoring activity that, despite the considerable volumes of traffic and pressure on the A82 along West Loch Lomondside, not only were the lay-bys mostly clear of litter, but so also were the road verges between the lay-bys. This is also reflected in the very positive feedback we have received from appreciative residents, businesses, and visitors.
The pilot project has proved that if you provide bins and keep a place litter free, most people will treat the area with more respect and will respond to this and with a substantial drop in incidents of thoughtless littering.’’
A comprehensive evaluation report has been prepared for the pilot layby litter bin scheme and is being widely circulated. This report also aims to build on the success of the pilot scheme and outlines proposals for a blended funding solution to continue with the existing scheme and to possibly expand it further.
A series of other practical recommendations are made in the report including the urgent need to prepare and adopt a coordinated A82 litter action plan involving various agencies and other stakeholders such as the Friends and local communities so that further progress can be made in tackling litter problems along the busy A82 Loch Lomondside corridor in future years.
Jackie Baillie MSP, a strong supporter of the pilot scheme, has welcomed the publication of the report and she said: ‘’The Friends have delivered a very practical litter initiative which has made a real difference. The findings of the report, the positive feedback received locally and the evidence on the ground has clearly demonstrated that the provision of litter bins in lochside lay-bys, that are regularly emptied, are a very effective way of helping to manage and control litter in areas where there are high levels of visitor pressure.’’
She added: ‘’It is encouraging some local businesses are willing to step in and help fund the roll out of an ‘Adopt a Bonnie Banks Bin’ scheme next year. However, it is important that public agencies also contribute funds to ensure a truly sustainable scheme is in place and I will be asking them to help as it is essenial further steps are taken to continue improving litter situation along the A82 on Loch Lomondside and it should not be left to a local charity to step in to do this on an ongoing basis.’’
Along the stretch of the A82 in West Dunbartonshire, the Council currently funds the provision of litter bins in lay-bys and regular collections, and this has been successful over many years while neighbouring Argyll & Bute Council has not provided bins in lay-bys along their section of the A82 on the lochside. This led to serious litter problems before the Friends stepped in with the pilot project this summer to show what a difference providing bins and regular collection services can make.
Do you have a day to spare to make a difference? Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs are looking for volunteers for our Make a Difference Day on Wednesday 10th November!
Literary giants’ contribution to the birthplace of Scottish tourism to be celebrated with a landmark scenic tower and lookouts at Loch Katrine
A fitting tribute to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott
The Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust has received the green light from the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park to reinstate the historic Roderick Dhu Path and construct a stunning lookout tower and platforms above Trossachs Pier at Loch Katrine after a marathon three and a half hour meeting and site visit by members of the Park Authority’s Planning Committee earlier this week.
This is the spot where Sir Walter Scott was inspired to write his Lady of the Lake poem, published in 1810. Scott was born 250 years ago this month and it was his poem that is credited with triggering the birth of Scottish tourism.
The site was visited earlier by other literary giants such as poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and writer Dorothy Wordsworth who stayed in wicker huts at this jutting headland which were built for ‘the accommodation of strangers to admire and sketch this wild and picturesque landscape’ and were made accessible in the late 1770s by a new road blasted out of the rock.
This imaginative project is part of a more ambitious Trossachs Trail Tourism Management Programme which has been developed by two heritage and conservation charities-the Sir Walter Scott Steamship Trust and Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs- in partnership with local communities and Forestry & Land Scotland and seeks to improve visitor infrastructure at busy tourist hotspots in the heart of the Trossachs.
James Fraser CEO of the Steamship Trust and Chair of the Friends said:’’ Securing approval for this landmark cultural heritage project to celebrate the contribution of literary giants such as Sir Walter Scott to Scottish tourism is a major step forward in our efforts to improve visitor facilities and connect people with Scotland’s rich natural and cultural heritage in easily accessible, safe and responsible ways that are compatible with the aims of the National Park.
We are hugely indebted to the large number of local residents, visitors, businesses and community and conservation groups for their unprecedented level of support for this project which has really captured the imagination and we look forward to delivering a high-quality project which does justice to the magnificent setting which Scott vividly described as the scenery of a fairy dream.’’
A conditional funding approval of £375,000 was secured earlier this year from Visit’s Scotland’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to assist with the delivery of this project and a series of car park and visitor facility improvements at Ben A’an, Trossachs Pier and Stronachlachar Pier car parks, along with improved signing around the 40 mile Trossachs Trail which was inspired by the original Trossachs Tour developed by Thomas Cook in the 1800s.