July 10, 2020
Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch will reopen this Saturday (11th July) for loch users to enjoy Loch Lomond safely and responsibly.
Staff at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority have been working to prepare the site for launching and retrieval for the first time since the beginning of the lockdown. However, Loch users are being reminded that safety remains a top priority so in light of COVID-19, changes have had to be made to allow the slipway to be used safely.
New procedures have been put in place, in line with Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance on physical distancing, which may mean that things may well take longer than usual when using the facility.
Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations, said: “We have a responsibility to manage the site safely and this is our number one priority, for loch users, for staff and for other visitors, businesses and local community nearby.
“The slipway is one of our most complex sites to operate given the volume and range of people using it, and the constraints of space both on and off the water when launching and retrieving crafts. We have been working hard to put measures in place to ensure that the slipway can operate safely. We now look forward to welcoming slipway users back to Loch Lomond.
“We know a lot of people have been looking forward to getting back out on the Loch. We now ask that they remain patient for just a little while longer when using the facility as it will not be operating as usual.
“Due to physical distancing requirements, launching and retrieving crafts is likely to take longer and we expect there to be queues. Please respect the new processes in place, as well as each other when waiting to use the slipway. Rangers will be on hand to guide users through the new procedures but please bear with us and be considerate as we help you to enjoy Loch Lomond safely and responsibly.”
Once the site reopens there will be a staggered queuing system to launch crafts. To maximise the space available to slipway users, we would ask that cars not towing boats/trailers park elsewhere. The site will open at 8:30am and the gate will close at 9pm, although Loch users can still exit the site if retrieving after this time, by following on-site guidance. No changing or shower facilities will be available although toilets will be, with COVID-safe controls. For their own safety, and the safety of others, we are asking users to wear face coverings, especially when using the pontoon, where physical distancing will be more difficult.
Ahead of the site reopening the National Park Authority has prepared a checklist for loch users that sets out things they can do to help things run smoothly before they arrive and while they are using the facility. This includes things like being as ready as possible in advance, having their completed documentation ready for registration or re-registration, and passengers remaining in the designated waiting area to ensure the pontoon has enough space for physical distancing while launching and retrieving.
More information on the reopening of the site is available on our Slipway web page.