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Conservation Volunteers Help Improve Lochside Beauty Spot at Inversnaid

Volunteers helped to keep an important viewpoint in Scotland’s first National Park beautiful as part of the latest Make a Difference Day led by Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent and conservation and heritage charity for the National Park.

A group of around 40 people travelled to Inversnaid to take part in practical conservation activities including rhododendron removal and path maintenance tasks beside the scenic waterfalls, RSPB Nature Reserve and Inversnaid Hotel, which is a popular beauty spot enjoyed by many thousands of West Highland Way walkers and visitors arriving at the village’s jetty on boat trips operated by Cruise Loch Lomond.

The volunteers came from a variety of walks of life including Luss Estates, Lloyds Banking Group and Scottish Water as well as motivated individuals. They were recruited by the Friends, The Mountains & The People project, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and The Countryside Trust; which work collaboratively on a range of volunteering events throughout the year in the National Park to make a difference.

On a day of challenging weather, Tarbet-based boat trip operator Cruise Loch Lomond provided complimentary travel and hot drinks for the volunteers, while Lochs and Glens Hotels, who own the Inversnaid Hotel, provided much needed shelter when the weather took a turn for the worse.

The event was the latest Make a Difference Day to be led by the Friends, following on from a previous rhododendron removal event beside the A82 at Loch Lomond. In recent years other Make a Difference Days have involved litter clearance and path improvements works at different locations around the National Park. Events have taken place in Arrochar and The Trossachs, with numerous volunteers and corporate bodies helping out to protect the landscapes of the National Park.

Friends Vice-Chairman John Urquhart, who was among the volunteers who took part on the day, said: “This was a very successful day and the work undertaken by the team of enthusiastic volunteers has made a real difference at a popular lochside beauty spot. Our volunteers always turn out in force for these types of events which make a huge contribution to augmenting the work of others in trying to keep some of the   special places in the National Park in a good condition for visitors to enjoy. We are also extremely grateful to the organisations and business supporters with whom we joined forces to help make this event an undoubted success.”

Tom Wallace, Project Manager with The Mountains & The People, added: “Events like these are a key part of the work our project delivery across both Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and The Cairngorms National Parks, and it was an easy decision for us to become involved. Volunteers are vital to the protection of Scotland’s National Parks and it was very heartening to see people, and a range of third sector partners, turning out and work together towards a common goal on what was a far from perfect day weatherwise.

“The Mountains & The People project still has four years left to run and we would be very keen to join forces with the Friends and others to stage more such activity days to ensure as many people as possible play their parts in conserving Scotland’s two National Parks.”

Stuart Cordner, Managing Director of Cruise Loch Lomond added: ‘’As a business supporter of the Friends we were delighted to provide free boat transport and hot drinks to the volunteers who gave up their time to help open up views and paths overrun by rhododendrons at scenic Inversnaid which is one of the highlights on our cruises itineraries.’’

Photo header: Volunteers assemble at Tarbet Pier ready to head to Inversnaid.

For further information contact Tom Wallace, Activity Programme Manager of the Mountains and the People project on 07483 103906 (tom@cairngormsoutdooraccess.org.uk) or John Urquhart, Vice-Chairman of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs on 01436 674922 (john@balmillig.co.uk).

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