One of the local landmarks at the southern end of Loch Lomond is the Dumpling, or Duncryne Hill, as it is officially known This hill can be seen not long after you leave Balloch on the road to Gartocharn, a small village just a few miles fromm Balloch on the A811. The hill is only 460 feet (142 metres above sea level) but a short but steep walk up it gives an unhindered view of Loch Lomond and the Highlands to the north, and the lower lying farmland to to the south. The hill is on private land but access is allowed (see the sign in my photos). To find the path to the Dumpling, turn right (if coming from Balloch) along the road just past the Hungry Monk Restaurant. About a quarter mile later you will come to a lay-by with a stile over the fence. The climb is relatively easy for most people, but there is a vey steep section where the footing is a bit difficult, so wear stout shoes and take it slowly. The views are worth the brief strenuous exercise.
On the edge of Loch Tay not far from the village of Kenmore is the Scottish Crannog Centre and that is really really worth visiting. the word "crannog" comes from the Gaelic word "crann" meaning tree. Crannogs where built on an artifical rock island with timber posts and struts supporting a hut above the high-water level. From prehistoric times up until the 18th century crannogs were built and used on many lochs.
The crannog at the centre is a reconstructed one based on the excavation evidence from the 2,600 year old site from the Oakbank Crannog which is one of the 18 crannogs preserved in Loch Tay. Guides take small groups into the Crannog and tell about the history of the crannogs and their builders. We had a very good guide who obviously knew so much of the history and could tell it in such a way that you almost wished you had been there. She also showed us tools that could have been used and after the tour we could try them out.
The Centre is open daily from 15th March to 31st October, and on weekends throughout November.
March to October from 10am to 5:30pm,
November from 10am to 4pm.
In all cases, last full tours are one hour before closing.
2008 Admissions: Adults £5.75 Seniors £4.75 Children £4.00 Family from £18.00.
The Scottish Crannog Centre
Kenmore, Loch Tay, Aberfeldy,
Perthshire, PH15 2HY, Scotland.
This is a little way from Loch Lomond and we visited while coming home from Pitlochry, but it is certainly worth visiting. The visitor centre which costs 3,5 pounds is an absolutley wonderful place for watching birds, the great big window gives great views of the woodland where there are lots of feeding boxes and hundreds of birds and other wildlife. They centre has several pairs of binoculars on the window ledge for free use. We also saw squirrels and deer.
There are two hides on the loch edge and there we also saw lots of water birds. The greatest thrill though was to see the Osprey on their nest on the far side of the loch, they were feeding their young chick. The centre has cameras on the nest so sitting in the centre you can watch the life film but in the hide you can easily see the nest high in the trees using binoculars. The day we were there the adult bird had caught a huge salmon and was tearing bits off and feeding the chick.
If you are very lucky (we were not) you could catch a glimpse of otter in the loch as well.
There is also a nice walk from the visitor centre to Dunkeld which is signposted.
Can you get off the beaten path when you are already out in the country, a lot of which is off the beaten path anyway? Indeed you can, in this case by climbing a mountain which is by the loch next to Loch Lomond.
The Cobbler ( Ben A'an) is one of Scotland's most well known peaks, though just short of a Munro. It is a key feature of the Arrochar Alps, a key location of Scottish radical climbing during the Depression. I'll try to return to that on another page, but meanwhile, some pictures, from another fantastically hot and sunny day. Although the weather has made me turn back from The Cobbler more times than I have climbed it.
Pictures 1 and 2 feature views over Loch Long and the village of Arrochar to Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond. Peak to peak, around five miles?
The third and fourth pics show the Needle, one of two summits to The Cobbler. Being a needle, it has eyes, which you climb through to reach the top. But with only very narrow ledges in places, and a 150 ft drop, surely only an idiot would try to reach the very summit? What's that Frank? It's you in pic 4, you say ;-)
And a gratuitous shot of me before the final ascent, to finish.
A little to the north of Loch Lomond itself, and just off the main A82 road, are the Falls of Falloch. They don't appear to be signposted until you actually are level with the turn off. When I saw the sign I decided to turn back and investigate since I LOVE waterfalls. There is a small car park and a short walk through the woods takes you to a fabulous view of the falls.
We stopped at a viewpoint called “Rest and Be Thankful” to take pictures of the hills.
Our guide told us the Air Force trains in these valleys to prepare for Afghanistan
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