The construction of a scenic tower and lookouts at the location credited as the birthplace of Scottish tourism will get underway following the award of £350,000 of funding.
Stirling Council supported the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust in accessing funding for the project from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF), managed by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Sir Walter Scott was inspired to write his epic poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’ at the Rhoderick Dhu viewpoint 215 years ago, just above what is now Trossachs Pier.
Scott’s vivid descriptions of Loch Katrine’s landscapes in his best-selling poem, a blockbuster of the day, along with the paintings and stories of other Victorian artists and writers, resulted in visitors flocking to the Trossachs.
Rowing boats accommodated these visitors before being replaced by steamships in 1843. In 1900, the recently restored Steamship Sir Walter Scott began service and is still in operation today. This early tourism activity led to incredible growth over two centuries of what remains one of the nation’s most successful and enduring industries.
The 188-metre pathway Scott and other famous writers used to access this panoramic viewpoint has recently been reinstated by the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust. The previously overgrown path is accessible by a hand-finished stone pathway, together with wooden boardwalks used to protect the sensitive environment around the path.
The funding is also being used to construct a stunning three-storey lookout tower with two panoramic viewpoints and linking boardwalks which, along with the new pathway, are due to open at the end of May.
Stirling Council leader, Cllr Chris Kane, said: “Loch Katrine is a real gem in the tourist offering of Stirling, attracting visitors from all over the world and creating valuable, year-round jobs.
“Stirling Council was delighted to support the Trust in accessing funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to improve the facilities available as part of the wider visitor management of the area. We are delighted to see the works starting on site.”
James Fraser, CEO and Trustee of the Steamship Trust said: “We’re excited that the exact spot where the story of Scottish tourism began will be celebrated with a dramatic new tower and lookouts.
“This coincides with the return of the historic Steamship Sir Walter Scott for her first full season following a £850,000 restoration programme and other visitor infrastructure improvements at Loch Katrine. Visitors will be able to enjoy the impressive views and discover more about the rich cultural and natural heritage of Loch Katrine.”