News

Thieves steal again from Tom Weir Memorial Site

12/07/2021

 

We won’t be beaten” says charity chief as thieves steal again from Loch Lomond Tom Weir memorial site.

 

For the third time in a couple of years thieves have  cut their way into three heavy duty metal  donation boxes at the busy Tom Weir’s Rest picnic area which is home to the popular mountaineer's statue in Balmaha on Loch Lomondside.

 

James Fraser, chair of the conservation and heritage charity, Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said: ''This latest incident has been reported to the police and, thankfully, the boxes are regularly emptied, so they won’t have got very much for their trouble on this occasion. However, it does beggar belief that some thoughtless individuals think it is alright to steal funds donated by members of the public to help look after this  memorial site and picnic area, and while it is disappointing thieves have struck again we are determined not to be beaten by them and we plan to step up security measures again. 

 

Sandy Fraser, owner of the neighbouring Oak Tree Inn said: '' We take a great pride in looking after this hugely popular site on behalf of the Friends and it is disheartening when incidents like this occur when the charity is just getting back on its feet financially after taking a major financial hit through the pandemic like many local tourism businesses. This has dented the recovery process but we remain fully committed to maintaining this important site on the edge of Loch Lomond to a high standard in partnership with the Friends charity.

 

This means the Friends need the public’s help even more and anyone who wants to support their work can donate securely online via https://www.lochlomondtrossachs.org.uk/donate-online. Alternatively, small donations of £2 can be made by texting LOMOND to 70085”.

 

The charity has been very active recently around Loch Lomond providing badly needed facilities like temporary toilets and litter bins at visitor hotspots designed to augment the work of the National Park Authority tackling some the area’s visitor management pressures in positive ways.

Save Our Wildlife - Reduce Your Speed

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is home to a rich and diverse network of species.

Red Deer, Badger, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Black Grouse, Otter, Brown Hare,, Fox, Beaver and Hedgehog to name but a few who thrive in the  network of habitats provided by  our varied and beautiful landscape.

Sadly evidence shows much of our wildlife is being killed on roads leading to and within the park. Most drivers see wildlife dead at the roadside every day and only a very small percentage of these incidents are reported which means the statistics we see are greatly under represented.

In addition to those of us who live and work here, over 4 million visitors are expected to visit the area this year further increasing the volume of vehicles on the roads. We are all proud that people want to come and enjoy what our national park has to offer but I am sure most people agree it should not be to the detriment of our wildlife.

A Collective Solution

Forest Holidays began the “Save Our Wildlife” campaign (SOW) in 2019 raising awareness with guests and suppliers asking them to “Drive Slowly for Wildlife”. This involves posters, car window stickers, website messaging and social media. We also contact companies whose vehicles have been seen to be driven responsibly to thank them.

But- we are only two locations within the 720 square miles area of the LLTNP, we can`t do this alone.

We are asking local businesses and communities to help save our wildlife by joining our campaign to raise awareness of the problem.

Benefits for All of Us

If we all come together we can protect biodiversity, reduce CO2 emissions, reduce road traffic accidents and show visitors, customers and future generations we care.

To support the campaign and for additional information on wildlife casualty statistics please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Save Our Wildlife - Reduce Your Speed

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is home to a rich and diverse network of species.

Red Deer, Badger, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Black Grouse, Otter, Brown Hare,, Fox, Beaver and Hedgehog to name but a few who thrive in the  network of habitats provided by  our varied and beautiful landscape.

Sadly evidence shows much of our wildlife is being killed on roads leading to and within the park. Most drivers see wildlife dead at the roadside every day and only a very small percentage of these incidents are reported which means the statistics we see are greatly under represented.

In addition to those of us who live and work here, over 4 million visitors are expected to visit the area this year further increasing the volume of vehicles on the roads. We are all proud that people want to come and enjoy what our national park has to offer but I am sure most people agree it should not be to the detriment of our wildlife.

A Collective Solution

Forest Holidays began the “Save Our Wildlife” campaign (SOW) in 2019 raising awareness with guests and suppliers asking them to “Drive Slowly for Wildlife”. This involves posters, car window stickers, website messaging and social media. We also contact companies whose vehicles have been seen to be driven responsibly to thank them.

But- we are only two locations within the 720 square miles area of the LLTNP, we can`t do this alone.

We are asking local businesses and communities to help save our wildlife by joining our campaign to raise awareness of the problem.

Benefits for All of Us

If we all come together we can protect biodiversity, reduce CO2 emissions, reduce road traffic accidents and show visitors, customers and future generations we care.

To support the campaign and for additional information on wildlife casualty statistics please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sir Walter Scott Steamship sends out an urgent SOS call

The future of this national historic maritime treasure is under threat

The charitable trust that looks after the 121-year-old Sir Walter Scott Steamship has launched an urgent appeal to preserve the iconic steamship and get her back sailing on Loch Katrine.

The SOS appeal to ‘Save our Steamship’ seeks to raise £500,000 to restore the historic steamer, which requires a new boiler and other significant repairs. These funds will have to be secured by the end of this year to allow work to begin in time to allow her to resume sailing during summer 2022 and to avoid further deterioration. She has not sailed since the annual inspection in January 2020 which revealed hairline cracks in the boiler which led to it being condemned.

Launched away back in 1900, Sir Walter Scott Steamship is named after the novelist and poet, born exactly 250 years ago, whose ‘Lady of the Lake’ poem, published in 1810 put Loch Katrine and the Trossachs on the map, resulting in it becoming the ‘Birthplace of Scottish Tourism’. Crowds have continued to flock to Loch Katrine to sail on the Steamship and enjoy this special part of Scotland in the heart of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park which is also the source of Glasgow’s main water supply.

James Fraser, Trustee and CEO of the Steamship Trust, said: ‘’Our efforts to restore the Steamship have been severely hampered by the impact of Covid 19 lockdowns which meant we have not been able to generate enough trading income to repair and restore the steamship to full sailing. Sadly, as a result of the prolonged cessation of sailings the Steamship has rapidly deteriorated and this is a situation we are anxious to reverse quickly as there is a real danger of us losing the boat permanently.

Many generations of visitors have had enormous pleasure sailing on the historic Sir Water Scott Steamship. We have to act now to make sure that current and future generations will be able to enjoy cruises on this national maritime heritage treasure.'’

The Steamship plays an important role in supporting the fragile Trossachs rural economy and is a significant local employer, with many additional indirect jobs dependent on the Steamship being in operation.

As well as providing much needed transport links on the loch for sightseers, cyclists and walkers, the vessel can carry 220 passengers and is accessible for all levels of mobility and sensory needs. When restored the Steamship will also be a leading example of an eco-friendly water transport visitor experience in Scotland with low carbon emissions due to a ground-breaking hydrogen-based fuel mix that it is planned to use.

Financial support for help to save this important national maritime heritage asset which brings so much pleasure to so many people can be made on site at Loch Katrine or via the SOS appeal website www.saveoursteamship.com

 

Beauty Spot Toilets Breakthrough

After years of unsuccessful campaigning the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has decided to step in and provide temporary toilets beside the popular Duck Bay beauty spot at the southern gateway to Loch Lomond for the period May to October this year.

The initiative is being funded by a number of partners including the Friends, the Hannah Stirling Loch Lomond Trust, the Park Authority and Argyll & Bute Council. Sponsorship is also being provided by the Cawley Group who own and operate the adjacent Duck Bay Hotel. Alan Cawley kindly agreed to allocate staff to regularly clean the toilets and provide toiletries and cleaning materials.

The provision of toilets after a 25 year absence of functioning public toilets at this busy site, which is used by over 300,000 visitors a year, has been widely welcomed and follows on from a site walkabout last August led by Jackie Baillie MSP involving senior representatives from various bodies and the Cawley family. This reinforced the urgent need to address the chronic outdoor toileting problem with thousands of visitors in desperation having to resort to toileting behind bushes and walls due to the absence of public toilets at what is the busiest picnic area in the National Park.

Welcoming the breakthough in toilet provision Jackie Baillie MSP said:’’ The Friends are to be congratulated for taking the initiative to provide much needed temporary toilets at this popular Loch Lomondside picnic area and this means that thousands of site users will no longer  face the indignity of having to toilet outdoors and can now visit the site in the safe knowledge they will have access to toilets which are well maintained and hygienic.’’

James Fraser, Chair of the Friends said: ‘’It has been a long hard struggle to get to this point but we are delighted that our determination to make something happen at this site has finally paid off and we are grateful to all the partners for contributing to the funding package to enable long overdue and desperately needed toilets to be provided here. I am also grateful to Alan Cawley who has willingly stepped in to support the initiative with practical day to day assistance as well as investing heavily in the neighbouring Knoll and Viewpoint which once again can now be enjoyed by thousands of visitors to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.’’

He added’’ We will continue to keep the pressure on public agencies to come forward with further plans to invest in this tired looking site which has the potential to be a jewel in the crown of Loch Lomond which we can all be proud of.’’

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority added: “Duck Bay is an extremely popular site within the National Park used by visitors for a range of activities both on the land and the water. Providing temporary toilets here is essential to supporting people to have a more enjoyable and responsible visit. With the National Park Authority not owning any land in this area we are delighted to support and help fund a partnership approach to deliver these crucial facilities. This reflects work going on across the National Park to provide for current visitor needs and we look forward to working with the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and a range of public body partners on longer term plans for investment in visitor facilities.”

Duck Bay Knoll & Viewpoint

Meanwhile, Alan Cawley of the Cawley Group has moved forward at pace with the restoration of the neighbouring Knoll and Viewpoint which he purchased last year with encouragement from the Friends. Extensive areas of rhododendron has been removed to open up stunning views of Loch Lomond again and path repairs have been completed which includes the replacement of a footbridge which will be named in memory of Hannah Stirling, the founder and late president of the Friends of Loch Lomond. Hannah previously led a £100,000 Knoll Viewpoint project in the 1980s and worked closely with the late Bobby Cawley who funded the neighbouring car park to enable visitors to freely enjoy Duck Bay picnic area and the neighbouring viewpoint. Sadly, the viewpoint fell into disrepair in the mid 1990s after local government re-organisation led to the site being split between two local authorities and neither Council honouring the previous agreement to maintain the viewpoint for the benefit of the public.  Photo (Top) Celebrating the opening of the temporary new toilets are left to right Sam Newell of Honeywagon-the toilet suppliers, James Fraser of the Friends and Stuart King of the Cawley Group 

Trossachs Trail Improvements Underway

22nd June 2021

New information signing and website to help visitors now in place.

The first phases of plans to upgrade the Trossachs Trail have recently been completed as part of an ambitious Trossachs Visitor Management Programme being led two local charities - Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and Sir Walter Scott Steamship Trust.

This has involved a refresh of directional signs and the installation of useful new information panels around the 40 mile long Trossachs Trail highlighting where car parks and public toilets are as well as the top 20 things to see and do by bike, boat and on foot. This has been augmented by the creation of a new website www.trossachstrail.co.uk  

Funding for these early phases of works has been provided by the Friends, the Steamship Trust, Love Local and the Strathard and Callander Community Hydro Funds and more substantial improvements that involve car park and toilet expansion schemes in the heart of the Trossachs are planned for later in the year.

 James Fraser, Chair of the Friends and CEO of the Steamship Trust said: ’’Following a massive influx of visitors to the Trossachs last year and an anticipated repeat this year, due to Covid 19 and overseas travel restrictions, we considered it was essential urgent steps were taken to improve the visitor management infrastructure in the Trossachs and let visitors know where facilities are as most simply want to visit a loch shore or take a walk in the knowledge they can park safely and have access to toilets.

We see the refresh of the award-winning Trossachs Trail, that was first developed almost thirty years ago and was the first official geographic tourist trail in Scotland, as an important first step in helping visitors make the most of their time in the area in responsible ways.’’

Frank Park, Chair of Callander Hydro said: ‘’ We were pleased to support this initiative as it showcases the Callander and wider Trossachs area in effective ways and should help encourage visitors to stay longer and explore the wealth of things to see and do locally. It augments our recent support for a range of local tourism and recreational projects such as the Callander Landscape Partnership and Callander Visitor Information Centre.’’

The Trossachs Tour

The Trossachs Trail is based on the famous Trossachs Tour popularised by Sir Walter Scott and other writers in the 1800s which led to the growth of popular destinations such as Callander and Aberfoyle and the development of other small villages with hostelries along the way.

Meanwhile, work on major car park and visitor hub infrastructure projects at Ben A’an, Trossachs Pier and Stronachlachar Pier, backed by a conditional grant of £375,000 from VisitScotland, has stalled awaiting the outcome of a planning application which involves the reinstatement of the historic Roderick Dhu Watchtower path and scenic lookout, adjacent to Trossachs Pier Car Park, with stunning views of Loch Katrine, Ben A’an and Ben Venue.

This signature element of the Trossachs Visitor Management Project has captured the imagination of the public and enjoys the support of a number of local community and conservation groups as well as many visitors and locals who have lodged supporting notes with the Park Authority who are due to determine the application shortly. This is a site that was originally opened up in the 1790s with a rock blasted road and the placement of two wicker huts on the knoll overlooking Loch Katrine which were visited by many famous poets and painters who helped the area become famous as ‘the birthplace of Scottish tourism’.

Loch Lomond Parking Charges Controversy

21/06/2021

Use of popular Duck Bay picnic and rest area under threat from Council’s charging plans

Conservation charity, the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs has joined the campaign to protect the use of the popular Duck Bay Picnic and Rest Area from the controversial plans by Argyll & Bute Council to introduce parking charges at the car park which was funded and provided by the Cawley family, owners of Duck Bay Hotel, more than 30 years ago for the free use of local residents and visitors to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

The Friends are also fighting the plans for parking charges along the entire length of the associated loop of the old A82 which performs an important role as a pull in and rest area for travellers where they can safely enjoy their first glimpse of Loch Lomond and break long journeys.

In a detailed submission to the Council, the Friends have put forward strong grounds of objection to the charging proposals which are currently out for public consultation. However, their overriding objection is on the grounds of road safety as they contend this will result in the displacement of a large number of vehicles to less safe areas such as verges and low capacity laybys beside the nearby busy A82 where motorists and their passengers will be placed in more danger with the prospect of a higher number of road accidents. They argue that Duck Bay is currently a ‘safe haven’ for travellers seeking a stopover rest area and visitors simply wanting to enjoy a popular lochside recreational area which they traditionally have done so for many years.

James Fraser, Chair of the Friends said: ‘’We appreciate the Council is coming under greater pressure to fund core services but the proposals to introduce parking charges at the most popular picnic and rest area on Loch Lomondside without fully thinking through the consequences on road safety and visitor management grounds is unacceptable and premature in advance of much needed improvements at this important gateway site.

The plans, if they are implemented, will have profound consequences in terms of impacting adversely on road safety, the use of Duck Bay picnic and beach areas by low income households, and the operation of the flagship Duck Bay Hotel with staff likely to struggle to pay the proposed long stay parking charges.’’

The Friends contend the proposals are contrary to the original agreement between the former Dumbarton District Council and the late Bobby Cawley of Duck Bay Hotel that led to the Cawley family investing a substantial sum in building the car park on the understanding this would be available for the general public to enjoy the Duck Bay area free of charge for recreational purposes and for hotel guests and staff to Duck Bay Hotel to have access to free parking.

                                                More Sensitive Approach

Given the national and international significant scenic qualities of this site with the stunning backdrop of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond, the Friends argue a more sensitive approach to dealing with traffic management and site capacity issues is required and consider there is a strong justification for a serious investment in sensitively designed visitor infrastructure improvements including additional parking capacity and permanent toilets before any further attempts are made to introduce parking charges.

According to the Friends, the popular Loch Lomondside site is currently very run down with burnt out picnic tables, derelict toilets, rusting bins, sign clutter and very outdated information boards and is in desperate need of a makeover.

The Friends have recently stepped in, with the help of funding partners, to provide temporary seasonal toilets at Duck Bay following a 25year absence of functioning public toilets at this busy site.

Meanwhile, a ‘Save our Spaces’ campaign against the controversial parking proposals organised by the Cawley Group who own Duck Bay Hotel is attracting strong support and can be accessed by downloading information at https://duckbay.co.uk/news-events/save-our-spaces/

 

 

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