The Year Ahead

As we are now in the middle of the deep dark winter I just wanted to share with you some 360° footage of the Lubnaig site, on a sunny day, kindly provided by ‘Alba Virtual Tours’ showing what is now available at these sites. I know it is still a bit early to be thinking of spring, but it’s nice to let your thoughts wander to potentially warmer and sunnier times ahead.

Following on from the ‘Clearway Ahead’ blog, we have now written formally to Transport Scotland asking them to consider the safety issues associated with those sections of the trunk roads that run through the 5 Lochs area. It is now with Transport Scotland to make the decision about how they want to proceed. If they feel that clearway orders for these roads are an option they will then follow their procedures which will involve an official consultation period. Again I will keep you posted on developments.

We are also in the process of identifying the next steps to improve the infrastructure in the 5 Lochs area. There were a number of options identified in the management plan so we are reviewing these in light of our experience with Loch Lubnaig and will identify the next step in the near future.

Your man on the ground.

Graeme

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Seasons Greetings

Welcome to the last instalment of 2013. It’s been a very busy year between the great work that has been completed at the Loch Lubnaig car parks and the continuing efforts to find solutions to the traffic and parking issues that affect the area.

I’d like to take this opportunity to give a huge vote of thanks to all of the various people and organisations who have contributed time and effort to make the 5 Lochs project a success.

The local communities, represented by the Community Councils have provided an invaluable local perspective. Other organisations such as the Local Authorities, Police Scotland, Forestry Commission (Scotland), Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Land & Estates, and SportScotland have all brought their specific expertise to the table. The project has also benefited from the involvement of our own locally-elected National Park Board members, Owen McKee and David Warnock as well as our local authority appointed board members Martin Earl and Fergus Wood. Many of these individuals have given up considerable personal time to contribute to the success of the project and this is hugely appreciated.

This year we also ran a number of drop-in sessions for people to come along and chat about the project. These sessions were very well attended and extremely productive and I would like to think that those who attended got something from the conversations they had. As we go forward next year it is our intention to offer similar opportunities to come along and find out more and share your thoughts. We’re aiming to hold these drop-in sessions around March/April time but I will keep you posted when the dates are confirmed.

Although a lot has been achieved, this year has just been the beginning and there is still MUCH to do if we are to protect this beautiful part of the National Park and reduce the impact of visitor pressure and anti social behaviour on local communities. Over the next few months we will be taking on board all the lessons we have learned this year and using these experiences to continue improving the plans for next year.

Finally I would like to thank everyone who has been following this blog and in particular those who have made taken the time to comment.

Wishing you all the best for the festive period and a prosperous New Year.

Please click on the image below to view our National Park festive message:

 

Your man on the ground.

Graeme

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What are you doing next week?

I am delighted to be able to let you know that the gates to the sites at Loch Lubnaig are now open to the public. A small gathering of stakeholders met at the end of November  to see Bruce Crawford MSP unveil a plaque recognising the completion of the work and to meet the operators of the new facilities.

Bruce Crawford MSP visits Loch Lubnaig site.

Bruce Crawford MSP visits Loch Lubnaig site.

The two sites will be open every day to allow visitors to stop and take in the view. You can stop in now during the day, between 10am and 4pm if you want to visit. The sites will, of course, be closed throughout the night.

It is planned to have the kiosk, camping area, toilets and overnight motorhome bays fully operational from March in time for the summer season. The kiosk will offer hot and cold food and soft drinks and access to the toilets.

There will also be short stay opportunities for those passing through with motor homes if you want to take a break in your journey. You will also be able to empty black water tanks and replenish fresh water for a small fee. Due to the size of the car parking area there is a limit of 7.5m on the length of motorhomes wanting to use the site. The proceeds from this will contribute to the emptying of the black water holding tank on the site.

As you can imagine with any new development there are always snagging issues and some of the comments received already have picked up on these. The new generator does make a low noise when it is running but it is designed to switch off during the day after charging batteries in the morning. Unfortunately there was a teething problem with this but I’m glad to say this has now been fixed.

For those of you who use the A84 regularly you will no doubt have seen a few new establishments starting up that will complement the existing businesses already offering food and accommodation.

The Broch, just as you come into Strathyre heading north after the campsite on the left, opened in August and offers a range of catering from sandwiches to a sit down meal with a glass of wine. The Broch will be open all year.                                                                      Contact details: The Broch Cafe, FK18 8NA. Tel: 01877 384612

Mhor 84 also opened its doors this year, rebranding what was the Kings House hotel at Balquhidder. Here you can have breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. There is also accommodation available if you want to make more of your stay in the area, as the hotel is open all year.                                                                                                                                 Contact details: Mhor 84, Balquhidder, FK19 8NY.  To book a table or accommodation Call 01877 384646 or email: motel@mhor.net

‘The Cabin’ is the name of the kiosk at the new site at Loch Lubnaig and this will add to this provision when it is open in March.  Here you will be able to stop and have a sandwich or burger, a cup of soup or a hot or cold drink. The Cabin will be open every day until the end of the season. I will post the contact details for booking once this is in place.

Even though it is getting noticeably more wintry now, the Lubnaig sites are looking really good. I really like this time of year because I get a chance to see the National Park quite literally in a different light. The contrast in colours and the shadows caused when the sun gets a chance to shine brings parts of the park you might not normally notice into clear view. The fact that it is usually a bit quieter as well provides an opportunity to sit undisturbed and take in everything that’s going on around you.  But don’t take my word for it; why not take a drive and see for yourself.

Your man on the ground.

Graeme

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