**UPDATE (11 Jan): The path will now be closed from today, Wednesday 11th January, until Friday 31st March. The contractor has advised that site preparation will require the path to be closed ahead of the scheduled stone uplift next week and the timber steps on the hill have been removed this week.
Conic Hill is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and the volume of visitors now being seen demands that the path be widened and strengthened to make it more robust and ensure the hill can continue to be enjoyed in the years to come.
As such, the National Park Authority is investing in a package of essential maintenance and improvement works over the next three years. This work is being delivered in stages and will be carried out during the quieter winter months to minimise disruption from the associated path closures.
The first phase of these works begins this week and will be completed by Friday 31st March, ahead of the Easter weekend. This aligns with work by Forestry & Land Scotland to remove trees from the Conic Hill path infected with Phytopthera Ramorum, which is due to take place across February and March 2023.
The path will remain closed for the duration of the work, with no access to Conic Hill from either side. The West Highland Way will remain open but users will have to follow the low-level route down Creityhall Road to Milton of Buchanan and along the B837.
Signs will be in place advising that the path is closed, along with Heras fencing and communications from the Park Authority.
Further works are planned for later this year, after the end of peak visitor season.
Upgrade works taking place October 2022 – March 2023
This winter, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority is investing around £420,000 (with a similar level of investment likely next year) to repair and improve the Conic Hill path from Balmaha. This is part of a wider commitment from the Park Authority to investing in visitor infrastructure in the National Park.
Specialist upland path contractor ACT Heritage Ltd has been appointed to carry out the works, which will start on 31st October 2022 and continue until March 2023. A second period of work will then take place in Autumn/Winter 2023/24 to complete the upper sections of the path.
The upgrades will require the path to be closed while certain elements of the work take place:
- w/b 31st October 2022 (estimated 1 week)
For health and safety reasons, the path will be closed to the public while helicopters are transporting approximately 450 tonnes of stone to site to begin the upgrade works.
- January-March 2023 (estimated 8-9 weeks)
The path will also need to be closed while the second section of the path – from the ford to the forest boundary – is upgraded. This section will involve replacing the timber steps with 2m wide stone pitching. The topography of this section of the path means that it will be too dangerous for the works to be carried out while the path remains open to the public. Work on this section is expected to begin in mid-January and the date of the path closure will be confirmed.
The West Highland Way will remain open throughout the works, but walkers will need to follow the low-level route down Creityhall Road to Milton of Buchanan and along the B837.
Fencing and signage will be put up on site to warn walkers of the closure and to help direct them to the low-level route.
Find out more about the works from Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.