CONSTRUCTION work on a new passenger boat pontoon in Balmaha started with the pouring of a concrete structure this morning (Monday 3 September).
The project will see communities around the loch better connected with a wider choice of water transport and passenger cruising opportunities for the benefit of local residents and visitors – and the pontoon will have disabled access, something not currently available on any of the existing piers on the east side of the loch.
The man behind the project – Sandy Fraser of the village’s Oak Tree In – explains:
“We’re very respectful of the boat passenger services currently on offer, however they don’t fully satisfy visitor demand and sadly we have seen tour operators move away from Balmaha, not only to other parts of Loch Lomond, but indeed to other destinations in Scotland.
“Over the past 18 years we’ve constantly improved and adapted our facilities and services to meet the ever changing needs and demands of local people, businesses and visitors. We see the strengthening of the boat trip offering as the next logical step as part of a wider initiative by the Park Authority and boat trip operators to capitalise more on the appeal of exploring the natural beauty of Loch Lomond by boat.
“We plan to work in close collaboration with existing boat trip operators to provide an exciting range of new boat trip services, with additional destinations around the loch and themed trips to complement existing options. This initiative will have the added benefit of allowing visitors to arrive by water, thus relieving pressure on main car park in the village and also on the narrow and twisting road to Rowardennan.
“One of the new services we hope to introduce is a waterbus link between Balmaha and Rowardennan, for access to Ben Lomond, as currently this route is not served by public transport via road or water. We also want to be able to offer for the first time access to loch cruises on the east side of Loch Lomond for disabled visitors and improve connectivity for cyclists.”
Click the thumbnails below to see bigger versions of the photos and browse our gallery of the initial construction work on Balmaha’s pontoon…