Loch Leven bird hide: Crowdfunder raises almost £30,000 to replace bird hide destroyed in fire

An appeal to fund the replacement of a popular bird hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve after it was destroyed in a fire has raised almost £30,000.

By Beth Murray
Monday, 10th May 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 2:19 pm

The organisation NatureScot started a campaign through MyParkScotland after the Mill Hide, on the shores of Loch Leven – Scotland’s most visited nature reserve – was destroyed on February 18, 2021.

The campaign began on March 1 with a goal of £35,000 and the organisation committed to make up any shortfall in the costs when it came to rebuilding the hide later this year.

The bird hide – originally built in 2011 – sits on the edge of Kindross behind the Todd and Duncan factory and won several awards for its architectural design.

It was popular with both locals and tourists alike as it enjoyed some of the best views of the loch and a large number of birds which would congregate 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.”

The Factory Bay bird hide, Loch Leven Nation Nature Reserve, November 2011. (Picture Credit: ©Lorne Gill/SNH)

The charred remains of the hide were removed in early March, and the site was fenced off for public safety.

The foundations survived the fire and will support the replacement structure.

Mr Mitchell continued: “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.”

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.

The charred remains of the Mill Hide on Loch Leven Nature Reserve after it was destroyed in a fire. (Picture credit: Neil Mitchell-NatureScot)

“Reserve Manager Neil Mitchell has told us that support from the local community and friends and family from far and wide has been both overwhelming and heart-warming.”

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The local Beaver group did a fundraising walk as part of the crowdfunder and raised £500.
Loch Leven National Nature Reserve - Sunrise from Mill Hide. (Picture credit: David Alston)