It was the end of an era at Mugdock recently as the country park said a fond farewell to manager Iain Arnott.
Tributes were paid to Mr Arnott who left after 16 years to take up new opportunities.
Colin Castle of Mugdock Trust said: “Throughout the time I knew Iain, I came to realise that we had at Mugdock a man of outstanding ability, capable of inspiring others and getting the best out of those who worked with him.
“Iain’s achievements during his sixteen years at the helm are impressive. It was due to his inspirational guidance that the park underwent a radical transformation.
“Perhaps the greatest change came with the Mugdock Castle Interpretation Project. Thanks to Iain, a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund was secured enabling the fabric of the castle’s south-west tower to be secured, furnished and open to the public.
“The castle is now regarded as the park’s principal attraction and is open to the public from May till September annually.
“During Iain’s tenure at Mugdock, the visitors’ centre was also the target for extensive upgrading.
“Today, we now have a superb 60-seat theatre capable of holding a variety of events ranging from meetings of the monthly cinema club, talk programmes, drama and music concerts. A couple of years ago, a licenced foyer was added. Called Charlie’s, it provides light meals amid attractive surroundings which are in harmony with the centre’s early-19th Century architecture.
“Add to this the landscaping of the Walled Garden, the restoration of the Georgian garden and summer house within the castle grounds and Iain’s impact on Mugdock Country Park is impressive to say the least.
“Of course none of this would have been possible without input from others and here we see another of Iain’s strengths.
“Having worked with him on a variety of project committees and on the Mugdock Trust, I never ceased to be amazed at the stamina of the man.
“Without exaggeration, Iain worked an average of 60 hours a week organising this, overseeing that, attracting new clients with something to offer by way of improvement to the Park. He also knew how to get the best from those with whom he worked with an uncanny ability for identifying strengths and never, ever accepting second best.
“Iain Arnott will be sorely missed and his act will be a hard one to follow. He leaves the Park knowing that it is 13th on the list of most popular tourist attractions in Scotland with visitor figures averaging around 600,000 annually with 4-star Scottish Tourist Board status.
“On behalf of those who came to know and respect him, I wish Iain well in whatever plans he has for the future and hope he leaves us with many fond memories of these past sixteen years.”