Countryside legend Tom Weir’s statue at Balmaha Bay on the east side of Loch Lomond is proving to be a runaway success with a bumper 60,000 UK and overseas visitors since it was first unveiled 8 months ago to commemorate the life of Scotland’s most popular mountain man.
The news of the popularity of the statue as one of Loch Lomond’s top attractions has coincided with the announcement that £21,000 has been secured for further improvements at the picnic site beside the statue and work is now well underway building more attractive stone walling, widening the pavement link to the site, renewing picnic tables and installing 6 memorial benches.
£15,000 has been allocated by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. This includes £10,000 from a legacy received from their late President Dr. Hannah Stirling MBE and a further £5,000 from their popular Friends of OUR Park visitor giving scheme which raises donations for conservation and heritage projects from visitors via local businesses such as the Oak Tree Inn and £6,000 has also been secured from Love Loch Lomond, the local destination marketing organisation.
James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends of Lomond and The Trossachs, said: “We are pleased 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.”
Susan Taylor, Adminstrator of the Tom Weir Memorial Group added: “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.”
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.