They've put up some fancy new stone signs at some of the entrances to the park, too:
It's very nice, I'm sure you'll agree. There's only two problems.
First up, why on Earth is "the Trossachs" so much smaller than "Loch Lomond"? As a child, I spent a heck of a lot of time visiting the Trossachs (Loch Venachar being one of the few lochs in the area suitable for swimming in) and not a lot of time around Loch Lomond. I personally feel a wee bit aggrieved that the much nicer part plays second fiddle to something everyone knows from "that song"....
But secondly, there's no Gaelic on it. Nothing out of the ordinary in that, and while it was traditionally part of Highland Gaeldom, Gaelic is now extinct in the local area.
The signage to the park had been raised bilingually, which means that this new (and expensive) sign is actually taking away the existing visibility and status for the language.
I've written to the park authority:
I am from near to the national park (Gargunnock) and a frequent visitor. At present I am working overseas, but am looking forward to finishing and getting home, and getting my bike back up the Duke's Pass, along the Inversnaid road and round Loch Katrine.
I am aware that the park has taken on a new brand identity, reflected both on the website and on new long-life stone signage erected at certain major entrance points.
I am disappointed, however, to find that the new logo has no space for the Gaelic name of the park, and that this has led to existing bilingual signage being replaced by a monolingual alternative, which is directly contrary to the general trend in Scotland.
Indeed, it is likely that at some point the park authorities will be subject to a Gaelic Language Plan, and that one of the key actions for the park will be the use of bilingual branding and signage. It is therefore easily foreseeable that the present signage will need to be replaced in the not-too-distant future, leading to additional expenses on the park that could have been avoided had a little foresight been applied.
I am currently living and working in Corsica, one of the many minority areas in Europe that considers themselves a "nation". The current debate over independence has led to increasing exposure for Scotland in the public consciousness here, and in other areas such as the Basque Country and Catalonia, where developments in Scotland are often featured in major news bulletins.
This presents an opportunity for Scotland, whether or not we eventually opt for independence.
While Gaelic does not represent a central feature of Scottish identity in the same way as Welsh in Wales, Catalan in Catalonia and Basque in the Basque Country, it is certainly a feature that is currently garnering much attention, and is therefore useful in attracting tourists. Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and most of the placenames therein are Gaelic in origin, and this is something that should be exploited to its maximum to attract tourists to the area.
Thank you for your time and attention in this matter,
All of this is true.
In my classes here, several people have asked me if I speak Gaelic -- I don't get that a lot. When I was living in Edinburgh, newly-arrived Catalans, Basques and Galicians would ask about the language. It is a tourist asset.
I say this, but I am not one of those learners who proudly declare that Gaelic is "my language". It is not. I was brought up in the lowlands, in a village that probably spoke an Anglo-Saxon tongue from its very founding (there are various Celtic-derived placenames in the vicinity, but most of these are very, very old). I didn't start learning Gaelic until my mid-twenties, and even then I learned Spanish to a much better level. Either "my language" is English, or "my languages" are Scots and English. I am a nationalist, but my support for Gaelic isn't about Scottish nationalism (most people do not consider Gaelic a pre-requisite for Scottishness, so Gaelic is more likely to damage nationalism than help it).
Gaelic deserves its support simply as a mark of respect for people who speak the language. (By extension, any learner who claims to "love the language more than a native speaker" has completely missed the point of why you should learn someone else's language.)
But if that's not good enough, then be mercenary: Gaelic is a marketable asset. Scotland has a limited tourist draw thanks to its climate and those ******* midgies. Gaelic can be employed as a commercial tool to sell us as a destination for people from the other small nations of Europe, rather than relying on the New World diaspora revisiting their roots, and the odd European whisky fan on a "distillery pilgrimage"....