HARD work over several years by a small team of dedicated volunteers in Arrochar reached a successful conclusion on Saturday with the opening of the village’s own community-operated pontoon.

The Helensburgh and Lomond area’s MSP, Jackie Baillie, performed the official opening of the new facility on the shores of Loch Long.

Between 60 and 70 people were present at the ceremony, including representatives of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Argyll and Bute Council and Luss Estates, all of whom made financial contributions towards the project.

The new pontoon provides berthing facilities for up to four craft at a time, and also enables direct access from the loch to the shore, and to Arrochar’s amenities, for the general public for the first time in 47 years, following the closure of the village’s steamer pier in 1972.

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After the official opening, everyone crossed the road to the Three Villages Hall, where tea and cakes were provided to quench thirsts and satisfy appetites.

The Loch Long Jetty Association was formally established as a charity in November 2017 to lead the fund-raising for the new pontoon and to guide the project through the planning process.

Secretary Dawn Gourlay said: “We had more people along than I expected when I saw the weather in the morning – but the rain didn’t dampen our spirits.

“We even had a pleasure cruiser pay an unplanned visit during the opening – they came from the Holy Loch and didn’t even realise the pontoon was there, but were delighted to discover it and promised they’d be back.

“Jackie Baillie has been a great supporter of the project throughout its life – she jointly chairs a community council forum which meets every few months to discuss local issues, and it was great to see her come along and perform the official opening.”

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The next event in the Arrochar calendar is the village’s annual 10K race on Saturday, September 21 – while the association is now getting to work planning the inaugural Loch Long Adventure Trail, a running, cycling and kayak event which it’s hoped will be held for the first time in May 2020.