Luss Filling Station featured on BBC News
Set by the shores of Loch Lomond, the village of Luss has a population of less than 200. The local estate, owned by Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, added a filling station in 1965, but by the start of the 1990s it was losing too much money and closed.
“Without it, it was a round trip of some 20 miles to get fuel,” he recalls. Change came when Sir Malcolm went on holiday to France and nearly ran out of fuel.
“Luckily I found an automated do-it-yourself filling station and thought it was a brilliant idea.”
The new filling station opened in 2016, part of a strategic report commissioned by the estate to rejuvenate the village.
“It highlighted the filling station should be reopened, partly as a resource for the community and partly because of the large number of people going up and down the A82,” says his son Patrick.
“The objective of the estate has never been to make money out of the filling station - the margins are too tight. It supports inward tourism. People are stopping. They see the sign, they say: ‘Oh, Luss has a petrol pump now and there seems to be a seafood bar, a hotel, a shop.’”
For Sir Malcolm, the filling station is a starting point for rejuvenation.
“Places like Luss can turn into retirement villages, but they need families and children to continue. There are real difficulties in rural communities and the mission is to breathe life into Luss by bringing jobs and opportunities and economic prosperity.”
With pretty stone houses on the edge of the famous Loch, Luss’s film-set looks attract around one million visitors a year, all squeezed into a few short months.
“Part of the challenge is to control tourism by giving visitors something to do,” says Sir Malcolm.
The filling station and its nearby car park now provide a central hub, allowing the estate to link visitors with local businesses.
“This season we opened up Loch Lomond Adventures,” says Patrick. "It brings together a lot of local activity providers that we already have partnerships with. So you can arrive in Luss and find one place where you can find out what you can do.”