Tom Weir's statue at Balmaha Bay expected to reach 100,000 visitors by end of the year
Countryside legend Tom Weir's statue at Balmaha Bay on Loch Lomondside is proving to be a popular attraction with almost 30,000 visitors since it was unveiled at the end of December.
The news on the runaway success has coincided with the completion of the latest phase of site improvement works which has included the construction of an attractive bay viewpoint incorporating a stone wall, raised pathways, memorial benches and a new Tom Weir's Rest timber sign.
The latest £6,000 package of site improvements was funded by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and the Tom Weir Memorial Group who have taken on a 20 year site lease from Stirling Council to ensure the site is sensitively developed and maintained to a high standard.
James Fraser, chairman of the Friends of Lomond and The Trossachs, said: “The level of interest in the statue has exceeded all expectations and the stunning setting of the statue against the backdrop of Balmaha Bay is coming into its own now with the warmer spring weather and the greening of the area.”
The level of interest in the statue has exceeded all expectations and the stunning setting of the statue against the backdrop of Balmaha Bay is coming into its own
“We are delighted sufficient funds have been raised to improve the bay viewpoint and later in the year we have plans to install story boards featuring the rich natural and cultural history of Balmaha Bay and we also hope to raise a further £20,000 to improve other parts of the neighbouring picnic site which is now attracting such large numbers due to the popularity of the Tom Weir statue.”
Meanwhile, plans for the first ever Weirfest and Scotland's Red Toorie Hat Festival in Balmaha on Saturday, 30 May are taking shape with an impressive line-up of musicians, cooking and outdoor craft demonstrations, craft and food stalls, storytellers, treasure trails, guided walks and fun competitions geared to making this new free event an appealing family fun day out.
Susan Taylor, administrator of the Tom Weir Memorial Group, said: “While this is a fundraising event to support further site improvements we have tried to incorporate something for everyone, remaining true to the values of Tom Weir and his love of the great outdoors and the simple things in life.
“The food offerings at the event will have a Tom Weir twist and some of the activities will introduce folk to Tom's beloved Loch Lomond. We also hope to see a good turnout of folk wearing Tom's signature red and white toorie hats too."
The public appeal for the Tom Weir Statue site improvement works remains open, with £80,000 of the £100,000 target having been raised. Donations can be made online at the Loch Lomond Trossachs website.