VISITORS to Balmaha will soon learn more about the rich cultural and natural heritage wonders of Loch Lomond thanks to a £10,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs’ £20,000 project is also being funded with contributions from the National Park Authority and the Friends.
The Friends plan to share information on, and stimulate interest in, Loch Lomond’s heritage through capitalising on the popularity of countryside legend Tom Weir who is celebrated at the recently developed Tom Weir’s Rest site overlooking Balmaha Bay where a statue was erected last December to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. There are plans for storyboards on the site, an educational booklet and a special celebration event in June 2016 involving local schoolchildren and volunteers.
Some storyboards will feature Tom’s own story as Scotland’s most popular mountain man and a prolific broadcaster and writer on Scotland’s great outdoors for more than 50 years, while other storyboards will showcase the natural and cultural heritage of Balmaha Bay and introduce visitors to Tom’s and his wife Rhona’s Mountain Garden which is currently nearing completion on a corner of the site.
The booklet will be researched and developed with input from local schoolchildren around the loch and will also feature a treasure trail as part of an educational toolkit. The booklet will be launched at a special celebration event at Tom Weir’s Rest that will build on the successful inaugural Weirfest held earlier this year.
Commenting on the award, Friends’ Chairman James Fraser tells G63: “We are delighted to receive this latest grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, along with some top up funding from the National Park Authority, as it means we will be able to share Tom’s love of the wonders of Loch Lomond more widely. We intend to build on the resounding success of his statue and the associated greatly improved picnic area that is on target to host 80,000 visitors this year.”
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park adds: “The Friends and the Tom Weir Memorial Group have worked hard over the past couple of years to develop a high quality outdoor visitor attraction on Loch Lomondside which is a fitting tribute to Tom Weir and has already been enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors. We have been pleased to support their efforts with grant contributions towards the statue itself and also the storyboards which will bring to life Tom’s story and the rich heritage of Loch Lomond.”