A STATUE of Scottish countryside legend Tom Weir has been unveiled on the banks of Loch Lomond, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Mr Weir’s widow Rhona - wearing a red and white ‘toorie hat’ in tribute to her late husband - unveiled the life size statue at the Balmaha picnic area, with folksinger and broadcaster Jimmie MacGregor and mountaineer Cameron McNeish also in attendance.
The statue, created by sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, is based on a 1992 photograph taken by photographer Barrie Marshall, and was the result of a campaign started in 2012 to honour Mr Weir.
Rhona, 94, said that her husband had been particularly fond of the beauty spot where the statue has been installed.
Mr Weir was a prolific writer and broadcaster on Scotland’s great outdoors for more than 50 years until his death in 2006.
He lived for many years with Rhona at Gartocharn, at the southern end of Loch Lomond.
She said: “The level of detail and likeness to Tom is amazing and I am pleased the statue has been sited at one of Tom’s favourite spots on Loch Lomondside which inspired so much of his writings and broadcasts on Scotland’s great outdoors.
‘’I earnestly hope Tom’s statue and the associated picnic area and viewpoint will be a source of much pleasure to those who visit Scotland’s first National Park over the coming years, and I would like to thank the many people from all walks of life and different bodies who have made this possible.’’
Mr McNeish added: “Tom would have been 100 years old today and it’s interesting that he was born only a few days after the death of the great John Muir.
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“The two men were so similar in many ways; in their passion for wild land and in their belief that we should look after and nurture the natural world as much as we could.
“Just as John Muir is remembered in his birth town of Dunbar with a statue in the Main Street, so Tom will also be remembered with a statue on Loch Lomondside so that future generations will remember him and what he achieved for Scotland.’’
Mr MacGregor said that it was ‘impossible to calculate the number of people introduce to the splendours of the Scottish countryside’ by Mr Weir, adding: “We all owe him a great deal.”
Susan Taylor, from the Tom Weir Memorial Group, added: “This special celebration and statue unveiling is the culmination of almost three years’ hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers who were determined to mark Tom’s contribution to enriching the lives of many tens of thousands of people with his writings and broadcasts on facets of Scotland’s rich and diverse heritage.
“The fact that we have raised over £70,000 is tribute to the high regard Tom is held in.”
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