East Loch Lomond Community Trust welcomes plans for Balmaha-Drymen path completion

PLANS for the final link in the Drymen to Balmaha path have been submitted and timescales for completion of the project expected to be announced soon.

The final stretch of the path between Shalloch and Balmaha promises not only increased safety but also a much improved surface for walkers and cyclists.

“Staff changes within the Stirling Council roads department, the complex design and landowner negotiations are part of the delay in completion,” explains Tom Wallace. “And as a volunteer, my own availability has also had an impact.”

The proposed works will see the pavement on the north of the road widened from Shallloch – where the current phase of the project ends – to the start of the existing tarmac path in Balmaha.

At up to two-and-a-half metres wide the path promises space for walkers and cyclists to pass each other whilst also keeping a safe distance from any passing vehicles. Cyclists will be encouraged to rejoin the carriageway at the narrow bridge before Balmaha where additional signage and road markings will slow traffic and increase the safety of the road for all users.

“Due to the need for the works to eat in to the fields on the north side of the road, a lot of work will be needed to reinstate hedges, plant trees and replace fencing,” says Tom.

“Plans for this have been developed with the support of the Graham family at Montrose Estates and their tenant farmers whom we would like to thank for their support.”

The required works will be put out to tender once planning permission has been granted.

“At this stage we have a proportion of the funding in place,” adds Tom.

“But until we have received tender prices we will not know how much more we are required to secure.

“We are very happy to say that Sustrans has continued to support the project and will contribute at least 50% to the completion of the works. As soon as I have a timescale for the delivery of the works I will report back to the community.”

Meantime, work is being done to redesign the access at both the east and west entrances to Milton of Buchanan in response to feedback from the community last year.

Following feedback from Stirling Council, the resulting proposals – including a 40mph buffer zone and associated road markings – have been passed to the Buchanan Community Council to make them available at its meeting on 14 May.

“In addition to this, over the coming weeks I plan to meet with those who have access rights to Gort Daraich Walk to identify what measures can be put in place to improve the security of the gates and reduce the frequency of vehicles using this route as a shortcut to the Buchanan Estate, concludes Tom.

“The gates on this road should be closed at all times as it’s a private road with vehicular access only permissible to those living at High Mains, those working for and on behalf of Montrose Estates.”

• Full plans for the final phase of the project can be found on the National Park Planning Portal by using reference 2018/0071/DET