Lochside transport links

Boats at Tarbet

An innovative transport project has been piloted on the banks of Loch Lomond.

The '4Bs' service was designed to help visitors of all ages and fitness levels access the Loch Lomond National Park.

Boats, boots, bike and bus

Bus stop sign

Tested during the two-day 'Get Active' festival in September, the service was designed to link cycle routes, walks and cruise itineraries within the Loch Lomond National Park. A bus service with bicycle trailers in tow was scheduled to meet boats crossing the loch.

Travelling along the A82 between Balloch and Tarbet, the bus service allowed cyclists and walkers to create their own combination of routes to suit their own abilities.

Cruising

Passengers boarding boat

Suggestions for routes included the 'Inversnaid Explorer' which made use of the bus service dropping passengers off at Tarbet pier. From there they were able to travel along the north end of the loch by cruise boat to Inversnaid.

Disembarking on the eastern shore, passengers were encouraged to follow short walking routes to Rob Roy's cave, the Arklet waterfalls and an RSPB nature reserve.

Some passengers took their bicycles on board the boats, and on arrival at Inversnaid they cycled uphill to Loch Arklet and Loch Katrine.

Facilitating access

Bus towing bike trailer

Routes were designed to facilitate access to parts of the national park for walkers and cyclists, with transport connections linking to both Balloch train station and the car park at Lomond Shores visitor centre.

The 4Bs service was planned by the organisers of the Get Active festival, Can You Experience Loch Lomond, with the help of local companies and other sponsoring bodies.

Trial period

Bike being loaded onto bus

Heidi Cordiner, spokeswoman for the Get Active festival, said the trial had been timed in order to showcase the 4Bs service to visitors. She said the trial would also to provide the opportunity to discover possible problems and gain ideas from users of the service.

The reaction of users to the service was generally positive. Ken and Jill Ormond, cyclists from Cumbria, said it was "very likely" they would use the service if it went ahead.

Mr Ormond said: "We decided to cycle up to Tarbet, and it's been a lovely ride so far. As pensioners we do enjoy cycling on level tracks - in Cumbria it's very hilly."

Further discussions

The future of the service is to be discussed at a meeting of various supporting bodies, including Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire and the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. They will consider funding and logistical options for the service ahead of a possible launch in 2008.

Jim McAloon, operations director at Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire said: "Destination Loch Lomond is the one world class resource we have in Dunbartonshire and we must do all we can to maximise the potential it has for attracting more visitors to the area."

Mr McAloon added that creativity was key to improving transport links and in finding ways of working together with local businesses, in order to enhance the experience of visitors to the Loch Lomond area.

Watch this video report on the 4Bs transport service.

Page first published on Thursday 20th September 2007
Page last updated on Friday 21st September 2007

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