THOUSANDS of people will be tracing their Scottish ancestry at a new visitor and heritage centre at Luss. The former derelict Shore Cottage in the picturesque Loch Lomond village is being transformed into a tourist attraction after �37,000 was secured by the Clan Colquhoun Heritage Society.

The site had lain vacant since it was badly flooded, but the welcome cash will go to fitting it out as an interactive visitor centre.

The society landed an �18,250 boost from the Argyll and the Islands Leader programme, �8,750 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and �5,000 from Luss estates for the project.

Volunteers had also managed to boost the fund by a further �4,500 through fundraising at events such as the Luss Highland Games.

The group have undertaken work on the cottage and are now aiming to have it fitted out with screens to provide an interactive cultural and learning experience for people from around the world.

Clan Colquhoun boasts significant interest from descendants at home and abroad and regularly attracts visitors from nations including the US, Canada, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.

They are keen to have the clan's help in tracing their heritage and learning more about the clan structure.

George Kirkpatrick, Chairman of the Clan Colquhoun Heritage Society told the Advertiser: "We have been doing a lot of hard work to raise funds ourselves. We have been working on fundraising for this centre for the best part of two years.

"The money we have secured is an excellent boost. We are hoping to provide a new community asset for use by visitors and the local community. The clans have played such as important part in Scottish history but there are very few centres which tell their stories."

Around 750,000 people visit the cottage-lined streets of Luss each year to enjoy the beautiful scenery, visit the famous parish church and browse the village shops.

It is hoped that local children can also use the centre as an educational facility and build the clans into part of their learning projects.

Some work on creating education packs for young pupils at Luss Primary has already been done, thanks to the help of University of Glasgow students who designed packs as part of masters' degree work.

Luss Estates, who have backed the group, offered the lease to the cottage to help the group secure a suitable centre, they have also carried out work in a bid to make the venue fit for a summer opening.

George added: "The Luss Heritage Association looks forward to working closely with the Clan Colquhoun Heritage Society in investigating the social and economic history of Luss Parish."