A new Scenic Routes structure was officially opened to the public today (July 14) at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond.
The structure, named Gaels View, was designed and built by Marc Hillis, a 5th year architecture student from the University of Strathclyde. The structure forms part of the wider Scenic Routes Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government via the National Parks.
Paula Baker, RSPB Scotland's site manager at Loch Lomond, said: "There have been some great changes taking place at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond this year. Our new paths opened at Easter, allowing better access for visitors, and now we're able to launch this amazing new structure where people can sit and look out over what must be one of the best views in Scotland!
"Loch Lomond is such a special place for wildlife, so it's great to be welcoming people to the site and providing them with facilities which really do compliment the natural environment."
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: "This is another great addition to the Scenic Routes viewpoints we already have at key locations around the National Park. These are all unique designs by talented young architects, who I am delighted we have been able to support through this project.
"These viewpoints provide fantastic opportunities for people to stop off on their journeys and enjoy the stunning surroundings of the National Park. RSPB Loch Lomond is a fabulous location with an iconic view and I am sure this will add to a great visitor experience."
The new paths at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond, which opened in March, were also officially launched today. The paths were funded by the ScottishPower Foundation, which is also supporting the development of a pond-dipping area on site. Staff from ScottishPower have also been volunteering at the reserve throughout the year.
Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation said "We are delighted to be here today to celebrate the opening of the new pathway; which will transform access for visitors, including many children, and help them to get even closer to Scotland's wildlife.
"We've been supporting the work of RSPB Scotland since 2014, and its dedication to inspiring a new generation to protect our natural world echoes the Foundation's commitment to the advancement of environmental protection. It is a shining example of the role that young people can play in protecting our planet for future generations."
RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond is now open seven days a week from 10am-4pm, with car parking facilities, a nature hub, and easy-access paths. Guided walks take place every weekend, and regular special events happen throughout the year, such as the healing plants walk and bat event in early August. For more information, visit www.rspb.org.uk/lochlomond or call 01389 830670.
· The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
· The ScottishPower Foundation has provided £37k of funding for path development work at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond. They are providing an additional £47k this year for the development of a pond dipping area.
· The ScottishPower Foundation is a registered Scottish charity (SC043862) and a company limited by guarantee (SC445116). The Foundation's aim is to make a significant and lasting contribution to society and enhance the quality of life in local communities. It provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the following purposes: the advancement of education; the advancement of environmental protection; the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science; the prevention or relief of poverty and the relief of those in need by reason of disability or other disadvantage; the advancement of citizenship and community development.
· Additional funding has been provided by the SUEZ Communities Trust (through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund) and the Brown Forbes Memorial Fund. The Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF) - any waste that is discarded which cannot be reused, reprocessed or recycled may ultimately be disposed of in a landfill site. To encourage the re-use, recycle and recovery of more value from waste and use more environmentally friendly methods of waste disposal, Landfill Tax is charged on each tonne of waste sent to landfill. Landfill Operators (LOs) are able to redirect a small proportion of landfill tax liability to Approved Bodies to support a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of landfill sites through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF). The SLCF is regulated by SEPA on behalf of Revenue Scotland. For further information, please visit www.SEPA.org.uk
· SUEZ Communities Trust (formerly SITA Trust) is an independent funding body set up in 1997 and provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund and Scottish Landfill Communities Fund. To date SUEZ Communities Trust has supported more than 3,900 projects to a combined value of over £110 million using tax credits donated by Suez Recycling and Recovery UK (formerly SITA UK).For information on how to apply for funding from SUEZ Communities Trust call (01454) 262910 or visit www.suezcommunitiestrust.org.uk