Tourism Development

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Children paddling in the River Leven, Balloch in Victorian times


Today’s outdoor enthusiasts are the inheritors of the area’s great outdoor traditions, not just on the hills but also on the water. In the 1920s, messing about in boats could mean building your own houseboat from a converted ship’s lifeboat. Today, the slipways and mooring places are even busier with craft that are mostly much more sophisticated.

Ashore and afloat, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, from Breadalbane to the sea lochs of the west, is Scotland’s most popular outdoor destination, with 4 million visitors every year. Managing these numbers, so that the area preserves the very qualities of wildness and beauty that attracted visitors in the first place, was the motivation for discussions on the way forward for the area, as far back as the late 1940s. This was when the proposal for a National Park was first made. That goal was reached in 2002. Now, a sustainable future for the Park still remains the priority for both the Park Authorities and The Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

John Keats’ walking tour

In 1818, Keats and a friend were on a walking tour. They had heard the name ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ and assumed that it referred to some kind of inn at the top of the pass. After a very early start they were looking forward to breakfast. Keats’ diary entry states:  “We were up at four this morning and have walked to breakfast 15 miles through two tremendous Glens – at the end of the first there was a place called rest and be thankful which we took for an inn – it was nothing but a stone and so we were cheated into five more miles to breakfast”.  Tourist information had a long way to go in those early days!