Images of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
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  • Benmore & Kilmun

    The community profile below is taken from the Benmore & Kilmun Community Action Plan 2013-2017.

    The Area

    The Kilmun Parish incorporates the area from Whistlefield on Loch Eck in the north, through Rashfield and Benmore on the A815 Dunoon road to Kilmun and Strone on the Holy Loch and round into Blairmore at the foot of Loch Long. The area also includes the small communities of Glen Massan, Glen Lean and Clachaig to the west.

    Population

    The results of the 2011 Census are not yet available. However, at the time of the 2001 Census, the population for the Benmore and Kilmun area stood at 1030. There had been a decline of 99 people (8.76%) between 1991 and 2001. We now have fewer children under the age of 10 and a higher percentage of residents of retirement age when compared to statistics for the National Park and Scotland. This decline in population and with it an increase in the average age of our community appears to continue.

    Housing

    There are around 465 residential households in the Benmore and Kilmun area. The percentage of owner occupiers is higher than the Scottish average. The number of social rented properties is still low although we have benefited from the affordable and attractive housing built by Fyne Homes.

    Employment

    The percentage of economically active people is substantially lower than the Scottish average and also the National Park average. This highlights that the area has a very high percentage of retired people. In a recent report commissioned by the Scottish Government and undertaken by the Scottish Agricultural College, Dunoon was identified as the rural town most at risk from the current economic situation and public sector cuts in Scotland.

    Education

    Strone Primary School is the only school within the area. Some children in the area also travel to Sandbank Primary and St Mun’s RC Primary school in Dunoon. Children in the western part of the community are in the Sandbank catchment area. For secondary education children travel the 6-10 miles to Dunoon.

    Village Halls

    There are four village halls in the area – Uig Hall (Benmore/Rashfield),Younger Memorial Hall (Kilmun), Highgate Hall (Strone) currently closed, and Blairmore Village Hall.

    Shops, Cafes, Pubs & Hotels

    The area has a selection of facilities which includes, Whistlefield Inn and the Coylet Inn on Loch Eck; Benmore Café; the Pier Hotel at Kilmun (B&B, Bistro, Art Gallery and Gift Shop); the Strone Inn and a Post Office/General Store in Strone; Blairmore Gallery (art gallery and coffee shop), and The Glory Hole - a church run bric-a-brac shop in Blairmore. There is a supermarket, petrol station and Sheila’s Diner at the Cothouse; and The Cothouse Hotel will re-open when the refurbishment is complete.

    Piers

    There are three sea loch piers in the area – Blairmore, Strone and Kilmun. Blairmore is operational as a fully navigational pier with passenger excursions to and from the pier. The PS Waverley makes regular visits to Blairmore throughout the season. Kilmun Pier is used as a working pier by Western Ferries. Strone Pier is privately owned.

    Community Development Organisations

    The following community organisations operate within the area: Benmore and Kilmun Community Development Trust, Benmore and Rashfield Community Association, Blairmore Village Trust, Deer Park Woodland Trust, Friends of Blairmore Pier Trust and Kilmun Community Council.

    Children and Youth Groups

    There is a limited programme of outdoor activities run for the local community and children by Benmore and Rashfield Community
    Association. There is one play park at Grahams Point in Kilmun.

    Transport

    Buses:
    There is a network of regular bus services around the Cowal peninsula that serves this area and is operated by West Coast
    Motors. Where possible, most routes link with connections to further destinations. A regular service operates between Ardentinny and Dunoon and back. Connections can be made between Dunoon, Benmore, Inveraray, Portavadie, Arrochar and Tarbet on Loch Lomondside.

    Onward Travel:
    Most bus services generally connect to Western Ferry Terminal at Hunter’s Quay and to the Clyde Ferry services at Dunoon for onward travel to Gourock Railway Station and to Glasgow. McGills ‘City Connect’ service runs regularly between Dunoon and Glasgow and calls at points within Inverclyde district and at Braehead Shopping Centre.

    Ferries:
    There are three car and passenger ferry terminals serving the Cowal peninsula:- Western Ferries between Hunters Quay and McInroys Point (Gourock); Calmac between Portavadie and Tarbert; Calmac between Colintraive and Rhuabodoch (Bute). There is one passenger only ferry service operated by Argyll Ferries (Calmac) between Dunoon town centre and Gourock.

    Environment

    The Benmore and Kilmun community is surrounded by lochs, hills, forests and outstanding scenery – and it is the ‘coastal
    gateway’ of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park accessed via the Clyde sea lochs of Loch Long and the Holy Loch.
    The nationally important Benmore Botanic Garden, Pucks Glen and Kilmun Arboretum are located within the area.

    The beautiful and peaceful Loch Eck and the oak woodland to the west of the Loch are classified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The area is rich in wildlife and is host to otters, eagles and ravens, bats, roe deer, red deer, red squirrels, pinemartens, seals, eider ducks and many other species.

    Ancient Heritage

    Features of historic interest include Argyll Mausoleum at Kilmun, Bernice Graveyard on the west side of Loch Eck, Inverchapel Graveyard, drove roads, the pier ruins on Loch Eck, the old settlement in the woods behind Whistlefield, gunpowder mills at Clachaig, Paper Caves to the west of Loch Eck, the tin/lead mine above Gairletter, iron smelting at Benmore, St. Munn’s Church and Churchyard, the heritage associated with David Napier, and grand Victorian country houses such as Invereck, Benmore and Dunselma.