CYCLISTS, walkers and horseriders are set to enjoy safer routes between Drymen and neighbouring villages Balmaha and Croftamie thanks to the main stage of a £650,000 paths improvement project led by Drymen Community Trust.
The first phase of the project – running from Drymen to Balmaha – is almost complete with just a half-mile stretch between Shalloch (the manse) and Balmaha to be finished.
“We hope to finish this – and the other phases of the project – by next spring,” says community trust chairman Tom Wallace. “Although we still need to secure around £40,000 of the estimated £100,000 needed for completion of the Balmaha route.”
The majority of the project funding to date has come from Sustrans and Sport Scotland. Love Loch Lomond has also supported the project while Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has made contributions to help cover the feasibility costs of the project.
Phase two of the project focuses on roadside improvements between Drymen and Croftamie and plans to minimise the number of road crossings along the route.
If funds and planning applications allow, a final phase of work on the old library road from behind Winnock Court in Drymen to Home Farm will create a circular route connecting the newly improved paths.
Further funding to complete the project, provide signage and produce a leaflet detailing the routes has been secured from both Sustrans and the park, with the reminder to be sourced via other charitable organisations.
“Trying to do things in a cost-effective way has been one of the major challenges,” explains Tom. “We could have spent huge amounts of cash creating new paths in various locations, but the reality has to offer value for money. We’ve managed to work out routes that meet landowners’ approval and still service a wide range of needs.”
Planning for the project began in late 2013 soon after Tom became involved with Drymen Community Trust when the need to improve links between Drymen and outlying communities was highlighted not only in Drymen’s past two community action plans, but also the Buchanan and Croftamie plans,” he says.
“Ensuring we communicate effectively and make sure folks get as much information information as possible has been a priority since we kicked of the plans,” he says. “And although I don’t want to jinx things, the thorough planning stages have helped ensure pretty plain sailing since on-site work started last December.”