New landmark at the site that inspired the birth of Scottish tourism
The Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust has been successful in securing a £231,000 grant for a stunning landmark lookout tower and two high quality viewpoints with linking boardwalks above the busy Trossachs Pier visitor hub at Loch Katrine from the latest round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) which is managed by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.
This is the latest phase of the ambitious £1.5 million plans to upgrade visitor infrastructure and to showcase the birthplace of Scottish tourism in the heart of the Trossachs, as part of the Trossachs Trail Visitor Management Programme that enjoys strong support from local communities and businesses. The successful funding bid was submitted to VisitScotland on behalf of the Steamship Trust by Stirling Council while an earlier successful £375,000 RTIF bid for car park and other Trail signing and toilet infrastructure improvements was facilitated by the National Park Authority on behalf of the Trust and the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.
The scenic tower, viewpoints and linking path secured planning permission last year and will be built on the spot where Sir Walter Scott was inspired to write his epic poem The Lady of the Lake, published in 1810 which is credited with triggering the birth of Scottish tourism. They will provide a more accessible vantage point overlooking the loch for those unable to climb the surrounding mountains and help with the management of visitors around the busy Trossachs Pier site.
The site was visited earlier by other literary giants such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Wordsworths who stayed in wicker huts at this jutting headland which were built for ‘the accommodation of strangers to admire and sketch this wild and picturesque landscape’ and were made accessible by a new road blasted out of the rock in the 1790s. A 188-metre path from the Trossachs Pier car park to the new scenic viewpoints is due to be built shortly on part of this historical and now overgrown road with funding that is already in place.
James Fraser, CEO and Trustee of the Steamship Trust said: ” We are delighted our latest funding bid has been successful in what was a very competitive application process with other projects around Scotland and this is the culmination of several years hard work and planning to improve visitor facilities at Loch Katrine.
‘’We are grateful to Stirling Council and the many local community groups and individuals who have provided an unprecedented level of support for this imaginative and high-quality project that will connect people with an important cultural and natural heritage site in easily accessible, and safe and responsible ways in the heart of the National Park.”
Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “This is fantastic news for Loch Katrine and the surrounding area and will undoubtedly improve the visitor experience in the future. Over the last three years, the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund has played an important role in Scotland becoming a sustainable tourism destination.
“Increasingly, visitors are becoming more mindful of their impacts on the world around them, both socially and environmentally. Being a responsible visitor and respecting and protecting our environment and communities makes for a better experience for everyone. Projects such as this will help ensure our visitor destinations come be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike for generations to come
Cllr Margaret Brisley, Convener of the Finance, Economy and Corporate Support Committee of Stirling Council added: ”I’m thrilled at the outcome of this application which has been given tremendous support from the local community. This project will provide a vital upgrade to one of Scotland’s most iconic heritage sites which will benefit both tourists and residents alike. There is no doubt that this boost to sustainable rural tourism in Stirling is something that we should rightly celebrate.”