News

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

 

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’.