NEW picnic tables and memorial benches are just some of the latest improvements at Tom Weir’s Rest picnic area in Balmaha thanks to a £21,000 boost from the Friends of Loch Lomond and Love Loch Lomond.
The site beside the popular Tom Weir statue – which has attracted around 60,ooo visitors since it was unveiled eight months ago – is also being enhanced by new stone walling and improved access through widening of the pavement link to the area.
Of the total secured for the current improvements, £15,000 comes from the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs including £10,000 from a legacy received from the organisation’s late president Dr. Hannah Stirling MBE. A further £5,000 comes from the Friends of OUR Park visitor giving scheme which raises donations for conservation and heritage projects from visitors via local businesses including Balmaha’s Oak Tree Inn.
The remaining £6,000 comes from from Love Loch Lomond who’s manager Karen Donnelly says: “A major priority for us is strengthening connectivity around Loch Lomondside and the work underway at Tom Weir’s Rest is improving pedestrian access between a busy car park and scenic Balmaha Bay.
“The statue itself has also proved to be a major draw and, with our funding support, we are therefore pleased to be able to help accelerate works to provide a high quality visitor experience at Balmaha.”
Friends of Lomond and The Trossachs chairman James Fraser is delighted the statue is proving to be so popular and is helping to strengthen the visitor appeal of Balmaha.
“It has become a real focal point at Balmaha Bay due to the work we have undertaken in partnership with the Tom Weir Memorial Group, with the support of the general public, who have made generous donations, and funding from a range of other sources,” he says.
Susan Taylor, Adminstrator of the Tom Weir Memorial Group adds: ”We are delighted additional funds have been secured from the Friends and Love Loch Lomond to enable us to press on with further improvements at Tom Weir’s Rest and we currently have several other funding bids under consideration as we are keen to complete all site works and ideally this year. We envisage spending a total of £125,000 and, very encouragingly, we have now raised £100,000.”
Karen Donnelly, Manager of Love Loch Lomond, said: “A major priority for us is strengthening connectivity around Loch Lomondside and the work underway at Tom Weir’s Rest is improving pedestrian access between a busy car park and scenic Balmaha Bay. The statue itself has also proved to be a major draw and, with our funding support, we are therefore pleased to be able to help accelerate works to provide a high quality visitor experience at Balmaha.”
Future plans include installing storyboards to tell the Tom Weir story and to showcase the cultural and natural heritage of Balmaha Bay and producing a booklet introducing ‘Tom Weir’s Loch Lomond Wonderland’ to schoolchildren and others.
- The public appeal for the Tom Weir Statue site improvement works remains open and donations can be sent to the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, The Old Station, Balloch Road, Balloch G83 8SS or online here.