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Sir Malcolm Colquhoun Opens Final Section of The Three Lochs Way

On Wednesday 22 October 2014, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun of Luss declared the Highlandman’s Road improvement works complete.

Over the past four years Helensburgh and District Access Trust has invested nearly £70,000 in restoring this notoriously boggy part of its popular Three Lochs Way long distance walking route which runs between Balloch and Inveruglas and passes through Helensburgh, Garelochhead, Arrochar and Tarbet.

Prior to cutting the ribbon to open the newly repaired walking route, Sir Malcolm said:

With the Colquhoun family’s historic associations with Helensburgh and Glen Fruin I am delighted to perform this ceremony. It is really marvellous what the Helensburgh & District Access Trust has managed to do to bring this old Church or Coffin road back into use.  

“It is wonderful too that the old road now forms part of the Three Lochs Way, a new long distance walking route which is opening up our beautiful countryside to more and more visitors every year. As well as being good news for the visitor it is good news for local hospitality businesses which will see increasing footfall from people walking the route. It is good, too, for land managers and farmers who are also benefiting from the better access and drainage which the improvements have brought."

“I know how difficult it will have been to raise the funds to complete the work and I can only compliment the Trust for their hard work and determination in bringing this project to fruition.

This latest Highlandman’s Road project was funded by Argyll & the Isles Leader, Landfill Tax Community Fund, Helensburgh Round Table, Love Loch Lomond, HADAT and a generous anonymous donation from a local walker.

John Urquhart, the trustee who managed the project said:

The Highlandman’s Road was in a very poor state and making these improvements has been on the Trust’s to do list for many years.  Together with some works currently being finalised further east near Goukhill, the delivery of this “missing link” effectively completes the whole of the Three Lochs Way route. Now, walkers and mountain bikers can use the whole route from Balloch to Inveruglas with ease."  

"Attention now moves to Arrochar where work will start soon to provide a short link path from the Three Lochs Way down into the village at Tighness.  The Trust is also hopeful it will soon be able to create a similar link down to Garelochhead, but this depends on the success of an Argyll Coast and Countryside Trust application currently under consideration by the Coastal Communities fund.  When these links have been achieved, we will truly be able to say, 'Job done!'”

Mr Urquhart went on to thank Luss Estates saying it wouldn't have been possible to create the route without their support. He also acknowledged a debt of gratitude to his fellow trustees for their unstinting backing during what had been an extended and sometimes problematic project.  Mr Urquhart thanked the funders, and the main contractor, Gordon MacLarty, whose operatives had worked long and hard to overcome the often testing ground conditions.

Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, Sir Malcolm presented former Helensburgh & District Access Trust Secretary and trust founding member, Alan Day, with a scroll bestowing on him the position of Honorary President of the Access Trust.

Further Information:  Three Lochs Way (TLW) and Helensburgh and District Access Trust (HADAT)

Tracing its origins back to the 1990s, Helensburgh & District Access Trust is a charity which seeks to improve access to the countryside in the Helensburgh area.

To date (HADAT) has created, promoted and repaired 12 km of paths and walking routes in the immediate vicinity of Helensburgh.  Including the TLW long distance walking route, it is actively engaged on a further 50 km or so. To date it has raised around £200,000 which has been invested in these paths and their associated signage and other sources of information. The TLW is the brainchild of Alan Day, recently retired secretary and founding member of HADAT.

After extensive research and careful negotiations with land managers, (including Luss Estates), it was in March 2010 that the Trust first launched its website publicising the "Three Lochs Way".

HADAT published free Android and iPhone smart phone app guides for the TLW route in May 2012 and a guidebook published last year has sold more than 250 copies.

To make the link between Rhu and Helensburgh and Glen Fruin, the TLW utilises the historic church or coffin road known as the “The Highlandman’s Road” (although the Glen Fruin folk call it “Church Road”) and HADAT has been working hard over the past 4 years to bring the badly drained  “road” up to a decent standard.  £20,000 from the National Park allowed the northern half of the route to be improved in 2010, while this southern section (being opened by Sir Malcolm Colquhoun on 22 October) has now been tremendously improved with £48,000 obtained from a variety of sources including the European LEADER programme, The Landfill Tax Community Fund, Helensburgh Round Table, Love Loch Lomond, HADAT itself and a generous local anonymous donor.

Along with another recently completed linking path between Balloch and Helensburgh near Goukhill, the Highlandman’s Road work means the whole TLW route is now complete from end to end– a huge achievement. 

After that the priority will be to improve the links between the route and its attendant settlements.  Work should begin before the end of October on a National Park funded link to Arrochar at Tighness and a major funding application has recently been lodged by Argyll and The Isles Coast and Countryside Trust with the Coastal Communities Fund which, if successful, will deliver the long wished for connection to Garelochhead.  

For further information/images contact: Anne Urquhart, Helensburgh & District Access Trust Convener and Acting Secretary, 64B Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh  G84 9JP Tel: 01436 674922.

Email: anne@balmillig.co.uk

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