Plans to Improve Water Transport Services on Loch Lomond
The Fraser family, who own and operate the award winning Oak Tree Inn have submitted a planning application for permission to introduce a new passenger boat pontoon, by the harbour entrance in Balmaha on the east side of Loch Lomond.
This comes after agreement from land owners Montrose Estates and, if approved, will help to deliver the National Park Authority’s ambition to have communities around the loch better connected with a wider choice of water transport and passenger cruising opportunities for the benefit of local residents and visitors.
As Oak Tree Inn owner Sandy Fraser explains, existing services don’t meet the demands from visitors and group tour operators:
‘We’re very respectful of the boat passenger services currently on offer, however they don’t fully satisfy visitor demand and sadly we have seen tour operators move away from Balmaha, not only to other parts of Loch Lomond, but indeed to other destinations in Scotland.’
‘Over the past 18 years we’ve constantly improved and adapted our facilities and services to meet the ever changing needs and demands of local people, businesses and visitors. We see the strengthening of the boat trip offering as the next logical step as part of a wider initiative by the Park Authority and boat trip operators to capitalise more on the appeal of exploring the natural beauty of Loch Lomond by boat.’
‘We plan to work in close collaboration with existing boat trip operators to provide an exciting range of new boat trip services, with additional destinations around the loch and themed trips to complement existing options. This initiative will have the added benefit of allowing visitors to arrive by water, thus relieving pressure on main car park in the village and also on the narrow and twisting road to Rowardennan.’
‘One of the new services we hope to introduce is a waterbus link between Balmaha and Rowardennan, for access to Ben Lomond, as currently this route is not served by public transport via road or water. We also want to be able to offer for the first time access to loch cruises on the east side of Loch Lomond for disabled visitors and improve connectivity for cyclists.’
If planning permission is granted the pontoon will be introduced near the popular West Highland Way path. The pontoon would have disabled access, something not currently available on any of the existing piers on the east side of the loch.
For more information please contact Paul Saunders Media on 01360 661029, or 07810 481426.
Photo: The Fraser Family by the location of the proposed pontoon.
(Left to right: Stuart Fraser, David Fraser, Nina Fraser, Sandy Fraser, Sandy Fraser Jnr.)
Background Information: The Oak Tree Inn is a popular tourism destination on the east side of Loch Lomond. The Oak Tree Inn consists of a bar, restaurant, B&B accommodation, village shop, coffee shop & ice cream parlour. Recently it was awarded ‘Best Independent Pub in Scotland* (*2015 SLTN Awards). The Oak Tree Inn is a family business, launched and owned by the Fraser Family. It first opened in 1997.