Loch Ken, the largest body of freshwater in Southern Scotland has been long identified as one of the jewels of Southern Scotland, with an enviable location within the Galloway landscape, the UNESCO biosphere, Dark Sky Park and neighbouring Galloway Forest Park.
A range of organisations, agencies and businesses are now coming together to unleash this potential, under the banner of the Loch Ken Trust (LKT). Following formal approval from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), Loch Ken Trust has now been established as a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).
The formal purpose of the Loch Ken Trust is:
“…to promote the natural, cultural and recreational assets of the Loch Ken area for the benefit of the public and to support sustainable local communities.”
Alan Smith, Chairman of Loch Ken Trust, said: “This formal approval is the start of an exciting future for Loch Ken and the surrounding area. Loch Ken Trust has been set up to put the community at the heart of decision making that affects them. With all the uncertainty ahead of us, I would urge everyone to get involved and help build a brighter future.”
Loch Ken Trust is already active around Loch Ken in the following ways:
- Loch Ken Boat Registration. LKT has taken over operation of the Loch Ken Boat Registration scheme from previous systems operated by the Loch Ken Advisory Management Committee. The Loch Ken Boat Registration officer operates on behalf of all the motorboat access points on the loch, ensuring an effective control of motorboat traffic.
- ‘Loch Ken Alive’ project. Working together with the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, LKT has appointed Barnaby Fryer to deliver this project. The remit of the Loch Ken Alive project is to make Loch Ken one of the premier tourist destinations in Dumfries & Galloway.
Loch Ken Trust has also been working with local communities during the current coronavirus crisis, to prepare for the re-opening of tourism activity and the return of visitors to the area.
Loch Ken Alive officer, Barney, said: “Loch Ken is such an amazingly beautiful area. I am really excited about working with the community to share this beauty with the world, in a way that preserves and enhances what is so magical about the landscape. In these difficult times, the world is crying out for examples of what a better world could look like. I believe that Loch Ken can be that example!”
The welcome return of visitors to Loch Ken, the vast majority of whom are responsible and respectful, has unfortunately also brought a much less welcome return from an irresponsible few. As reported in local media recently, we have seen some heart-breaking instances of litter, vandalism and other forms of anti-social behaviour.
To try and get a grip on this issue, Loch Ken Trust has been working with local councillors and partners to establish a stakeholder group to develop appropriate solutions. The group has representatives from local landowners, businesses, angling groups, Police Scotland and the local authority. The purpose of this group is to ensure that all partners are able to share ideas and information and work together to care for and protect this landscape that we all cherish.
The group is keen to hear from local communities about any concerns they have about this issue. Police Scotland have also agreed to develop a summer action plan to address identified issues.
Councillor Dougie Campbell said: “We want people to come and enjoy everything that Loch Ken has to offer so protecting it over the years to come is very important. That’s why in response to some incidents of anti-social behaviour a group has been formed to put plans in place to deter this and to encourage responsible camping. I’m really pleased that the police are playing their part and the council will do everything it can to work with the local community to protect this beautiful environment.”
Right now, Loch Ken Trust is looking to recruit members and trustees who can provide the support and governance needed to make sure that its work provides the greatest benefits to the whole community.
If you are interested in becoming a member or trustee, or would like to know more about the work of Loch Ken Trust, please contact Barnaby Fryer, the Loch Ken Alive officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Loch Ken Alive facebook page www.facebook.com/lochkenalive