Free pictures on behalf of West Dunbartonshire council. 2019 Loch Lomond Highland games at the Moss O’ Balloch. A record number of visitors turned out to watch the popular annual Loch Lomond Highland Games at Balloch today. More than 9,000 visitors attended the event, in Moss OÕBalloch Park, for a range of traditional highland game competitions including cycling, running, hammer throwing and heavy weights and the traditional tossing of the caber and tug-of-war. Dancers entertained the crowds by performing traditional highland dances with their immaculate costumes and perfect hair, and spectators enjoyed music from Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun and Tulliallan pipes and drums. The popular games welcomed visitors from as far afield as Germany and Canada who travelled to Scotland to enjoy the traditional Scottish games and was broadcasted to millions of viewers in China watching Chinese travel programme ÔZhuÕs life in BritainÕ. Aynsley Gouck, Assistant Director of Niagra Highland Dance Academy, said ÒWe are over from Ontario Canada and we are attending four Highland Games during our visit. We love Balloch itÕs a beautiful area of Scotland and weÕve been looking forward to our visit. The Highland Dancing competition is very well organised and the girls are very honoured to be dancing in Scotland.Ó German friends Tina and Arthur Helbig and Kirsten and Volber Rademacher, said: ÒWe are in Scotland for 10 days and although weÕre not staying in Balloch we couldnÕt miss this event. ItÕs a great to see all the smart girls in their beautiful Highland dress and hear the pipe band. We are very excited to be here today.Ó West Dunbartonshire Council leader Jonathan McColl, said: “This yearÕs event was a fantastic day and helped by the wonderful weather. Well done to all the competitors for putting on a great show and thanks to the spectators for encouraging the athletes and putting on a great show. ItÕs always lovely to meet visitors who have travelled around the world to attend this great event. I am proud of our Scottish heritage and the Games are a great way for tourists and visitors to get a true taste of Scotland. Well done to the GamesÕ committee, West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust and West Dunbartonshire Council on organising yet another hugely successful event.Ó The Chieftain of the Loch Lomond Highland Games, Major James Macrae said: “I am delighted with this yearÕs event which has been a great success and has been very well attended. WeÕve been really fortunate with the weather the last two years and we are grateful to the thousands who came along, which is great testament to everyone involved in organising the Games. Over the years, the games have attracted contestants and spectators from home and abroad every year and I would like to thank everyone who played their part in making this yearÕs games a huge success. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank our contestants and sponsors, in particular West Dunbartonshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, for their continued support.” For a full round up of results please visit Loch Lomond High Games website at http://www.llhgb.com Copyright photo by Paul Chappells, 07774730898 http://www.paulphoto.co.uk
Lovely Loch Lomondside needs special assistance in wake of virus catastrophe.
By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Lomond, has called on the Scottish Government to provide swift and robust support for the Scottish tourism industry in the wake of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Numerous business owners have contacted the MSP, including those engaged in providing tourism opportunities around Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park tourism is the number one industry with an annual value of over £430 million and many thousands of jobs directly or indirectly dependent on the economic well-being of this sector. For businesses in this area, the threat of Coronavirus is already having a severe impact, with the scale of daily cancellations growing significantly in the past week and the indications are that this is likely to get worse over the coming weeks and months.
The scale of cancellations, and likely future cancellations, is beginning to have a major impact on income generation and the cash flow of many tourism businesses throughout the National Park. The main concern expressed by many was the ability to pay existing staff wages linked to surviving what is going to be a very difficult trading period.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “Businesses within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park are really feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic due to significantly reduced tourist numbers in the area.
“Not only is there a fear as to the future success and viability of these businesses, but there is an immediate concern about how businesses with a reduced revenue will be able to continue to pay staff wages, rent and other costs that come with running a business.
“The Scottish Government’s initial package is welcome but it is clear from comments made to me by the tourism industry that this is not enough to support employers and employees to properly prepare themselves for the weeks and months to come.”
The Scottish Government announced measures for business are:
An 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
An £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
A 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
A fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020