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