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Loch looks to locals for board support

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By Abbey Morton
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Loch looks to locals for board support

A HUGE fundraising effort for Castle Loch is on the cards for this year.

And a goal of £110,000 has been set to upgrade and replace the boardwalks and bridges, which are coming to the end of their natural life.

In a bid to reach the target, locals, visitors, users, supporters and everyone in between is being encouraged to ‘sponsor a board’.

The Castle Loch Lochmaben Community Trust has a total of 1356 planks to replace around the 5km circuit.

And through a JustGiving page, the trust hopes to raise £13,560 to cover the cost of the boards.

Project officer Darren Flint said: “We also want to improve accessibility on some of the path sections.

“We are currently working on a fundraising programme and will announce more details soon.

“The site has really come in to its own during the pandemic with people using the site as a place to safely exercise.

“Pre-covid we had about 22k people doing the full 5km walk, at the end of 2021 it was 35k.”

Until they are ready to commence the major works, the trust and volunteers are working to get everything repaired after the floods of November 2021.

Darren added: “The cottage is now starting to dry out and we can then crack on with the refurbishment and painting and get it back open for school visits and events.

“The footpaths are almost back in one piece, the bridges have been repaired and children’s play area put back.”

Last year brought some highs for the trust, and also some real lows as the reserve was battered by severe weather.

Some of the highest floods were felt at the loch, causing damage to paths, bridges and the cottage, and then Storm Arwen brought down many trees.

However, those closest to the loch remain positive and proud of the work in 2021.

Darren said: “530 hours were donated by volunteers, which is an amazing achievement considering we were in lockdown between January and April.”

And he explained that work included clearing rhododendron, finishing the footpath in the Kirkhirst woodland, they welcomed back their first school class, gave their first community talk in 18 months and 400 wildlife-friendly tree whips were planted, creating a new hedgerow.

To sponsor a board, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/castlelochboardwalk and look out for further details of fundraising for the overall project.

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