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Make a Difference Day 10th November 2021

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.

 

Loch Lomondside Litter Success

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.

 

Strong Supporter

 

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.

Make a Difference Day 10th November 2021

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!

The work will will include litter picking and cutting back overgrown vegetation including invasive non-native species on an area of West Loch Lomondside.  A packed lunch will be provided and the event runs from 10am until 3.30pm.  If you would like to know more or to sign up to this event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Literary Landmark at Loch Katrine

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.

The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey

The Great Scottish Squirrel Survey returns for its third year this autumn. Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is calling on people all over Scotland to explore outdoors and look out for tufted ears and bushy tails between 20-26 September (National Red Squirrel Week). SSRS monitors squirrel populations all year round; but autumn remains a particularly rewarding time of year for squirrel-spotting. Squirrels are often more visible as they busily forage the autumn harvest in preparation for the winter ahead. Anyone can take part in the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey by reporting sightings of both red and grey squirrels throughout the week. Each sighting creates a snapshot of the situation, helping the project understand how populations are changing over time and to decide where to focus its conservation efforts. To find out more and record your squirrel sightings, visit scottishsquirrels.org.uk

Loch Lomond Litter Pilot Success

Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond Litter Battle Success

 

National Park charity’s A82 pilot layby bin scheme making a real difference

 

 

In a concerted move to tackle Loch Lomond’s litter shame the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs have successfully introduced a pilot litter bin scheme in twenty laybys beside the A82 on Loch Lomondside over the summer months. The installation and regular emptying of the bins is making a big improvement along what was, until recently, regularly a litter strewn corridor in one of the world’s great beauty spots.

 

This initiative is part of a wider £90,000 Two Lochs Visitor Management Project being led by the Friends with funding support from a variety of sources including the NatureScot Green Recovery Fund, the Hannah Stirling Loch Lomond Trust and environmental waste recycling company ENVA.

 

It is an initiative with a focus on taking practical actions to address serious littering and outdoor toileting issues which have become much worse following the easing of Covid 19 travel restrictions with increased visitor numbers in an already heavily visited tourist destination. It also aims to add to the efforts of other agencies and volunteers working to make Loch Lomond a better place for visitors and residents to enjoy responsibly.

 

John Urquhart, Vice Chair of the Friends said:’’ For many years now we have asked public agencies for litter bins to be installed in laybys alongside the busy Loch Lomond stretch of the A82 as part of a wider litter action plan but sadly this never happened other than beside the very short southern length covered by West Dunbartonshire Council.

 

‘’We therefore decided to take direct action ourselves and raised sufficient funds to run with this seasonal pilot scheme which is working well and making a real difference on the ground backed up with regular emptying and impact monitoring.

 

‘’We are pleased our actions are being complemented by others with the recent involvement of the Community Service team operating out of Helensburgh who are undertaking regular litter picks. The National Park Authority have also undertaken litter clearing work in laybys near camping permit zones beside the loch which are being intensively used over the busy summer months.’’

 

Jackie Baillie MSP has praised the Friends for stepping in and providing much needed bins and she said: ‘’This is a welcome and very practical pilot project and I am delighted to support the Friends impressive efforts to tackle what has been a long running problem which deserves to be resourced better and become part of the main stream services provided by local public agencies.’’

 

She added’’ I am aware there are great inconsistencies in approaches to tackling litter in the Loch Lomond area by public agencies and it is interesting that along the entire length of the A9 in Scotland’s only other National Park-the Cairngorms National Park- bins have been provided and emptied regularly by public bodies for many years and they have proved to work well as part of the battle to improve the litter situation there.

 

‘’It should not be left to a local charity to provide bins in laybys along the busy A82 on Loch Lomondside and I plan to make it a priority to get a longer-term solution in place involving public agencies as it would be a retrograde step to remove the bins after the pilot period comes to an end in October.’’

 

Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, Chairman of the Luss Estates Company as well as Honorary President of the Friends said: ‘’I greatly admire the determination of the Friends Trustees all of whom are all volunteers in helping to address the pressing litter situation on Loch Lomondside which, in recent years, has sadly deteriorated greatly with a sea of discarded human waste on roadsides, in laybys, on the loch shore and the bushes. This is utterly unacceptable in such an iconic scenic location where we should be a showcase for all the best Scotland has to offer.

 

‘‘This latest initiative is a welcome step forward but much more needs to be done as litter affects us all in an age when environmental concerns are to the fore. We should deal with this by confronting the culture that encourages and tolerates litter and particularly by ensuring the tax-funded public agencies whose job it is to look after the public infrastructure and the special Loch Lomond environment do so to a far higher standard with priority being given to tackling the basics such as litter in a much more effective and comprehensive way.’’

 

                                                Action Plan Call

 

Building on the success of the pilot layby litter bin project the Friends have called for a five- point inter-agency action plan to be taken forward to urgently address the serious littering and outdoor toileting problems along the A82 corridor on Loch Lomondside which they consider should include:

· financial support for the continuation of an expanded version of the current pilot litter bin scheme

· erecting appropriate fencing close to northbound laybys to reduce the incidence of fly tipping and outdoor toileting over wide areas

·  removal of scrub vegetation in the vicinity of southbound laybys and viewpoints to make it easier for litter picking and to reduce outdoor toileting

· introducing advance services signing along the A82 at regular intervals to highlight where public toilets are, along with an indication if they are open 24 hrs and

·improving the overall quality of laybys with better levels of verge maintenance and design upgrades where necessary.

Pictured beside one of the large pilot litter bins are (left to right) John Urquhart, Vice Chair of the Friends; Jackie Baillie MSP and Sir Malcolm Colquhoun of the Luss Estates Company and Honorary President of the Friends.

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