Appeal to replace popular bird hide destroyed by fire raises almost £30k

An appeal to help fund the replacement of a popular bird hide destroyed by fire has raised almost £30,000.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:33 am
Beavers did a walk to raise funds for the re-build.

NatureScot’s Mill Hide on the shores of Loch Leven National Nature Reserve (NNR) was completely destroyed in a blaze on February 18.

Encouraged by the many offers of support from the community, the organisation began a campaign in March to raise funds to re-build the hide through MyParkScotland, with a goal of £35,000. NatureScot has committed to make up any shortfall in the costs of rebuilding the hide this year.

The hide, built in 2011, won awards for its architectural design. It was a much-loved place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy some of the best views of the loch and the large number of birds congregating on the water.

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NatureScot’s reserve manager Neil Mitchell said: “We’re hugely thankful to everyone who contributed to the appeal. Many people enjoyed the hide’s wonderful vantage point for the ducks, geese and swans that feed and roost in Factory Bay – as well as the occasional glimpse of a kingfisher.

“The response from the community and the general public has been amazing. Given this bird watching site’s popularity and fantastic loch side location near Kinross, we are determined to replace the hide as soon as possible.

“We’d like to thank local businesses, particularly Loch Leven Brewery for its special edition Phoenix Beer, developed to raise funds for the hide, as well as recognise the collective efforts of the community through sponsored events and raffles, with very generous donations from benefactors.”

An example is the local Beaver group, which raised £500 from its fundraising walk.

Speaking on behalf of Kinross Community Council, chair Lynne McKay, added: “While we were pleased that no one was injured in the fire, we were all shocked and saddened by the destruction of one of Loch Leven's treasured loch-side facilities. With its award-winning design and vantage point in a beautiful spot at the south-west of the loch, the hide was a much-loved building.“Neil has told us that support from the local community and friends and family from far and wide has been both overwhelming and heart-warming.”