Walkers on the West Highland Way, Ben Lomond, the Luss hills and the Arrochar Alps now have a greater range of transport options following the introduction of a new timetabled water bus service linking 12 destinations across Loch Lomond. After a successful pilot last year, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park has supported the introduction of the improved boat links. The ferries connect with train services from Glasgow to Balloch and Tarbet, making the loch more accessible to public transport users.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has worked with boat operators and Scottish Enterprise who contributed funding for the initial pilot and marketing the new service. Piers were repaired during the winter. Co-ordinated timetables now bring together all water transport on the loch including on demand services from ferry operators including MacFarlane & Sons at Balmaha and others.
The Water Bus routes include Balloch to Balmaha, Cameron House and Balloch Country Park, Rowardennan to Luss, Tarbet to Inversnaid and Rowardennan, Luss to Inchcailloch and Balmaha.
Gordon Watson, National Park Director of Planning and Rural Development said:
'By supporting regular scheduled water bus services, we hope to encourage more people to explore the National Park by alternative means of transport ...reducing some of the traffic at key visitor hotspots around Loch Lomond. These new timetables will help people plan their day out and we are delighted that local cruise operators have worked so closely with us to provide the new services. It is a great way of getting more people visiting different destinations which will benefit local tourism businesses around the Loch.'
'Whether you want to visit Rob Roy's Cave and the stunning waterfall at Inversnaid, cycle along the west Loch Lomond cycle path, walk a section of the West Highland Way or simply take in the views of the Loch from Luss, I would encourage visitors to experience the Loch from a new perspective and explore what the National Park has to offer.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland added:
'There is a great tradition of people travelling from towns and cities to the water and Loch Lomond offers the people of Scotland and the world a fantastic experience taking in some of the greatest scenery we have to offer. We need to capitalize on the natural assets we have in Scotland and what better way to welcome people to one of the most iconic attractions than by water. I am delighted to see the National Park working so closely with local tourism businesses to deliver this initiative.'
Information about the water bus service can be found on the National Park website and timetables are available from National Park offices, visitor centres and cruise operators.