New owner of ruined village by Loch Tay plans signs to explain its story to visitors

By Melanie Bonn

The atmospheric abandoned village of Old Lawers has a new owner who wants to see history preserved at Loch Tay.

Local heritage groups waited with bated breath to see the outcome of the sale of the ruined settlement when it went on the open market this summer for offers over £125,000.

There was huge interest and the company handling the sale Goldcrest Land and Forestry Group said it went for "significantly in excess" of the starting price.

The three-acre site includes two scheduled ancient monuments, an area of semi-ancient native woodland, a paddock, a private beach and trout fishing rights.

The place had been problematic for past custodians as Old Lawers village is a Scheduled Ancient Monument listed with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), meaning building of any kind among the tumbled stones is forbidden.

Mike Donnelly from Glasgow bought the land, set on the lochside down a steep lane below the Lawers Hotel, in July.

His first move has been to contact Breadalbane Heritage Society (BHS) with an indication that he intends to keep the ruins just as they are while allowing visitors to make the most of the historic backwater.

Breadalbane Heritage Society (BHS) has held a long-standing interest in Old Lawers Village and was involved in the past with the previous owner, HES and the National Trust for Scotland, about matters to do with the monument.

In a letter to BHS seen by the PA, new owner Mike wrote: “I have no immediate intentions other than to enjoy the location for the natural beauty it provides.

Lawers Village, a settlement between Kenmore and Killin was abandoned in the 1820s. Picture by Neil Hooper (Neil Hooper)

“I am a bit concerned about the number of wild campers and in particular the vehicles they take onto the location and the mess left behind.

“I have engaged with Perth and Kinross Council to discuss options on how to better preserve the location and scheduled a meeting with one of the rangers in August.”

Mike also spoke to the Breadalbane Development Trust - which had considered the feasibility of a community buy-out before the sale went ahead.

“I have discussed signage which is currently non-existent with the PKC ranger, so hopefully I will get a positive outcome, but I’m looking for ideas.

“HES are sending out some basic signs and information regarding maintenance of the site.

“I have a few ideas on how to improve preservation of the area but would welcome ideas from yourselves as you obviously know more about the old village more than I do.

“I also want to better understand how the litter picks work with volunteers and thought it may be worth having an annual barbecue or Christmas party for volunteers by way of thanks.”

He indicated that he was considering setting up a dedicated website to promote Lawers for people wanting to explore it.

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