February 23, 2023
Last January, we shared some early CGI images of the work we were doing to create Roderick Dhu’s Watchtower. It's part of a £1.5 million package of works to improve visitor facilities at Loch Katrine. Work is now underway to reinstate an important historic path above Trossachs Pier linking the busy visitor hub with the famous Rhoderick Dhu viewpoint where Sir Walter Scott was inspired to write his epic poem Lady of the Lake, published in 1810 that led to the birth of Scottish tourism.
And, in something quite different for projects we've been involved with, a helicopter was used to make over 100 short round trips from a field beside Loch Achray to airlift bags of stone and aggregate, each weighing around one ton, dropping at points along the route of the pathway close to Trossachs Pier. The helicopter flew by the beautiful and dramatic snow-capped peak of nearby Ben Venue to access the site.
The path winds its way through a Special Area of Conservation and great care is being taken by upland path builders, Hamiltons Environmental, to painstakingly hand build the pathway which will be bordered by post and rail fencing to ensure safe and easy access for a wide range people to enjoy spectacular views of Loch Katrine and the surrounding hills and to assist with site visitor management.
The path is part of a project by Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust, which was awarded funding in a recent round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF), managed by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. The award of a £231,000 grant is for a stunning landmark lookout tower and two high-quality viewpoints with linking boardwalks above Trossachs Pier.
James Fraser, CEO and Trustee of the Steamship Trust, said:
‘We are delighted that work on this project is underway and when complete it will create a more accessible vantage point overlooking the loch for those unable to climb the surrounding mountains and allow them to enjoy a view that for many centuries has played an important role in the rich history of the Trossachs.
Whilst Scott’s poem is credited with Loch Katrine becoming the birthplace of Scottish tourism, some years earlier, in the late 1700s, a new road was blasted out of the rock to access this viewpoint where there were two wicker huts for painters and writers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Wordsworth’s to stay and be inspired by the stunning views of the Trossachs.
This project is another example of the Trust’s commitment to celebrate and showcase the special scenic and cultural heritage qualities of Loch Katrine and the Trossachs, which will also include the return this spring of the much-loved Sir Walter Scott Steamship that first began sailing in 1900’.
The pathway and scenic tower and lookouts will open later this year and have been welcomed by many local community groups and individuals who have provided strong support at the planning stage for this imaginative project.
Here are some images of the helicopter at work and the progress being made to create the Trossachs literary scenic viewpoint.