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Lauder statue and viewpoint in Glenbranter to be improved by National Park conservation bodies

The path to a stunning viewpoint and statue in Glenbranter built to honour John Lauder, the son of famous Scottish entertainer Harry Lauder, is being upgraded in the run up to the 100th anniversary of his death in World War 1.

This is the first phase of a joint project by two leading conservation charities in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park with the support of Forestry Commission Scotland and the local landowner, John Montgomery, which will celebrate the Lauder family connections with Cowal.

Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent conservation and heritage charity for the park, is leading the project with the first phase involving replacing rotting timber steps with a stone path. The work will be carried out by trainees of the Mountains and the People project, set up last year by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust to work on landscapes throughout Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and The Cairngorms National Parks. Timber and safety railings will be donated by the Forestry Commission Scotland.

This phase of the project has been scheduled to be completed ahead of the 100th anniversary of John Lauder’s death aged 25 on December 28, 2016. This occurred while he was on duty in France during World War I, serving as 2nd Lieutenant of the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Various accounts have been given of how he met his demise, which was reported to Harry while he was appearing in a successful revue called ‘Three Cheers’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in early 1917. John’s final note home had arrived only hours before.

Harry Lauder and his family moved to Dunoon in 1908, buying Gerhallow House and changing the name to Laudervale four years later. John continued to be based predominantly in London, but would travel to Dunoon whenever he was able and regarded it as a peaceful refuge from city life.

James Fraser, Chairman of Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, said: “We are delighted to be co-ordinating this project to recognise the Lauder connection with Cowal and Glenbranter in particular, especially with such a milestone occasion coming up at the end of this year. We are pleased we have been able to raise the funds to support it through the Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme, which continues to go from strength to strength with the support of local businesses. We are also extremely grateful to the Mountains and the People Project team and the local Forestry Commission Scotland staff based at Glenbranter for their great support with this initial phase of work.”

Tom Wallace, Activity Programme Manager for the Mountains and the People project, added: “This is something that our trainees are looking forward to getting their teeth into and helping visitors to the local area recognise a man who fought for his country during a time of conflict. Our thanks go to everybody who has enabled us to get involved in this project and carry out the work to the extent that we are planning to. We are certain we will be able to do justice to this iconic site.”

Future plans include site interpretation and improving advance signing as the site is currently by-passed by visitors. Proposals for a wider ‘Harry Lauder’s Roaming in the Gloaming of Cowal’ initiative are also currently being worked up to showcase the area and are subject to securing various grants.

Photo header: David Robertson, the Forestry Commission Scotland’s Recreation Forester in Argyll Forest Park, and Philip Norris, the local Friends Trustee, inspect the path to the Lauder Statue.

For further information please contact:

Tom Wallace, Activity Programme Manager of the Mountains and the People project on 07483 103906 (tom@cairngormsoutdooraccess.org.uk).

James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs on 07894 908807 (jamesbfraser@aol.com).

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