Tom Weir Statue, Balmaha
December 28th 2014 would have been Tom Weir’s 100th birthday. It was therefore the perfect day for the official unveiling of a statue to celebrate the life of this famous Scottish climber, author, TV presenter and lover of the outdoors.
Many people turned up on that cold and foggy day to watch Tom’s widow Rhona unveil the statue. The event marked many years of hard work by volunteers of the Tom Weir Memorial Group, who had long campaigned and fundraised for an appropriate tribute.
As well as writing for Scots Magazine for 50 years Tom Weir was famous for his long running TV series Weir’s Way running from the mid 1970's to 1987, where he took viewers to Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. His natural warmth and genuine passion for the countryside inspired many people to venture out of Scotland’s towns and cities to see for themselves their land of outstanding beauty.
You can see an excerpt here from a Loch Lomond edition, with Tom up in a hot air balloon.
The feeling on that day was that Tom would have approved of the setting for the statue. The landscaping of the area, as a result of the introduction of the statue has greatly enhanced this beautiful spot by Balmaha Bay.
Conservation charity The Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs played a key role in helping the dream of a statue become a reality. They in turn were greatly assisted by the Fraser family, owners of The Oak Tree Inn, which is adjacent to the site known as Weir’s Rest.
Tom & Rhona Weir's Mountain Garden
Weir’s Rest is not just the home of the statue, it is now a much improved picnic spot. A small mountain garden – Tom & Rhona’s Mountain Garden has also been introduced. This was in the second phase of the Weir’s Rest project and again opened by Rhona Weir, who had first met husband to be Tom on a mountain.
In the first few years of Weir’s Rest a summer festival ‘Weirfest’ was staged to raise additional funds and improve the profile of the new statue. At the festival local musicians played, with other entertainment as well as local food and drink.
Don't forget that the essential item of clothing for any Tom Weir Statue event or visit is Tom's trademark red toorie hat!
Loch Lomond Wonderland
We were pleased to be asked by The Friends of Loch Lomond to work with local schools to produce a booklet celebrating Tom Weir’s Loch Lomond Wonderland. This project allowed a fascinating insight into the history, heritage, wildlife and geology of Loch Lomond through the eyes of primary school children. Before her retirement Rhona had been the Head Teacher at Gartocharn Primary School, they were one of the local schools who participated in the project.
Tom Weir Statue Photography
You can see our photographs on collection posts around the site. Donations by visitors help to maintain Weir’s Rest to a high standard. It is very pleasing to see the amount of support received from generous visitors, this is no doubt a combination of a fondness of Tom Weir and appreciation of the beautiful spot by the bay.
The Tom Weir Statue must now be one of the most photographed parts of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. Most people passing stop to take a ‘selfie’ with Tom.
Tom Weir Statue - Through the Seasons
Now that the site is a few years old we have been able to grow a collection of seasonal photographs of Weir’s Rest. In particular the winter pictures, with the statue covered in ice, show the high level of craftsmanship put in by sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn.
Visit Weir’s Rest
If you are visiting Weir’s Rest look out for the excellent information boards, they tell the story of Tom Weir and illustrate some of the wildlife that you are likely to see, along with points of interest around the bay.
There is parking close to Weir’s Rest in the main Balmaha car park. This is also the location of a National Park Visitor Centre. The popular Oak Tree Inn is located close to the statue and on the other side of the bay you can take a short Loch Lomond cruise, or travel on the water bus to Luss.
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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