Little village maybe 15 or 16 km north of Balloch on Loch Lomond. It is quaint and small, cars are left in the parking lot. and then you can walk and enjoy the sceneries. Have tea in the little cafe or shop for souvenirs, or else go on the pier to take pictures of the loch shores...
Loch Lomond is actually the largest stretch of water in Britain at 24 miles long by 5 miles wide. The west bank is more geared for tourists with more towns, marinas and boat tours while the east bank is much quieter. In recent years the area became Scotlands first National Park and the West Highland Way [a walk that stretches from Milngavie - pronounced Mullguy - to Fort William] passes along the banks of the Loch.
Loch Lomond and the surrounding area are full of wildlife. Apart from sheep, cattle (especially the highland variety), and deer, you may spot llamas not wild of course), golden eagles, and even wild goats. Here are some pictures of the more common inhabitants of the area. Birdwatching and deerspotting are popular pastimes in the area.
Luss is the ancestral home of the Clan Colquhoun and has connections with St Kessog who brought Christianity to the area in the early 6th century. The current church was built by Sir James Colquhoun in 1875. The village itself is very picturesque witha row of early 19th estate workers' cottages lining the main street. This is well worth a short visit to walk around the village and take in the views over the Loch and of Ben Lomond. The Coach House Coffee Shop has excellent light meals and we love their cinammon toast. They have excellent soups as well, not cheap, but enough for a meal on its own.
My nephew and his wife came for a visit last week and we decided to treat them to a cruise on Loch Lomond. We went on the Silver Marlin, one of Sweeney's boats that sail from Balloch, just across the road from the train station. Although there are other boat cruises from further up the loch, Sweeney's have the advantage of being easily accessible by train direct from Glasgow. It's hard to believe that you are only a 45 minute local train journey from Glasgow Queen Street station (lower level). The 2 hour cruise was £12, and there are 90 minute and 1 hour cruises too. Our boat had a bar open so you could relax with a drink while watching the scenery go by. As you can see from the photographs, it wasn't the sunniest of days, but it was all the more dramatic for that.
Balloch is billed as the gateway to Scotland's first national park. It is indeed a perfect starting point for those travelling north, who have hired a car from Glasgow Airport and want to get away from Glasgow but not travel too far the first day. There are a number of bed and breakfasts, and several small hotels. If you want a longer stay before you go on, there is plenty to do in Balloch. There are boat cruises on Loch Lomond, Lomond Shores Shopping Centre and Sea Life aquarium. There are lots of restaurants and it's only a short drive to Luss, a lovely conservation village.
Here are some pictures of what you will see in and around Balloch.
Balloch also has a station, so it is a perfect destination for a one day trip from Glasgow Queen Street Lower Level.
No one ever said more honest words than 'Rest and be thankful' on the A83 between Loch Lomond and Tarbert you will be glad to pull off the hectic A83 such a busy road with only two directions of travel and everyone in a hurry = they take no prisoners here its evey man for himselfl Oh how I hate this cut and thrust of road travel! On the way south towards Loch Lomond you cannot enter the peace which lies at Rest and be thankful - it would be a dangerous manoeuvre with your car to cross to the right. This place is not sign posted from your journey South anyway. Travelling North you do get to stop and admire this all encompassing magnificent scenery of the old drove road. This road you see below was built on the valley floor and leads from Arroch then climbs through Glen Goe . The road was built by the military in 1743 and is an amazing sight. If I travelled this old drove road, perhaps with a horse and cart, I would certainly rest and be thankful. Oh and you won't be alone here, it is a huge car and bus park with nice picnic area. People tend to come and go quickly here. I took Cuileann's lead and became like her 'the master of all she surveyed!
A Glebe is a sizeable piece of land given to Ministers by the Church of Scotland who ministered in rural areas. In past time they kept sheep or cattle here and grew some crops to eek out their stipend. In these modern times the Glebes still exist, my own Parish Church rents out the Glebe for local farmers for grazing of sheep. Not so in Luss, the land here has been created as a pilgrims pathway. The project was started in 2006 and is due to be completed in 2010. Young people gather here from all over the world to work on this project, planting trees, laying plaques, clearing the old wood land and staying in the accommodation provided by the Church free of charge. Reading the inscription on one of the tiles left me feeling very humble, it had been written by a young girl from Poland - she wrote 'I am not afraid when God is going with me Yes the young trees will grow along with the old oak wood, the fallen trees will be home to insects and animals and provide kindling for barbecues to stop people cutting down living trees - a great example of man's humanity to man - Well done Luss - the power of sharing is indeed strong in your village.
The interior of Luss Parish Church has a restful and calming atmosphere. The Minister, the Reverand Doctor Dane Sherrad, personally welcomes all visitors and tells some history of his Church. He told us of the many Weddings he had conducted below the 'Good Shepherd' window, joining together people from all corners of the world. You can see some on the web link which is fascinating in its self, this website also broadcasts the Sunday Service live to the world. I particularly liked the many stained glass windows, my favourite was 'I to the hills will lift my eyes' very fitting given the glorious location of Luss on Loch Lomond.
Ben Lomond is the most southerly of Scotland's Munroes and one of the smallest at a height of 974 metres 3,200 feet. Its name in Scottish Gaelic is Laomainn which translates as Beacon Peak. Ben Lomond although small in stature can be seen from the mighty Ben Nevis a mere forty miles away! It is one of Scotland's most popular mountains, easily accessible from Glasgow and central Scotland nicknamed 'Glasgow Hill' down sized as only Glasgow humour can do! If you travel south from Argyll the road towards the 'Ben' highlights some amazing mountain scenery in the shape of the Arrochar Alps. What a great surprise to find we in Scotland not only have Munroes but we also have the Alps on Glasgow's door step! What a picture these blue alps made.
It had been a very long number of years since I last saw Loch Lomond when we went to see a Runrig Concert on the shores at Balloch. In those far off days there were no visitor centres you just parked in a field and hoped you would be able to get the car back out. All has changed since the area became Scotland's first National Park with lots of parking lots and visitor centres. We visited the 'Bonnie Banks' from Firkin Point, Luss and Tarbet where the loch narrows and great views can be seen towards the head of the loch and the best views of Ben Lomond from Luss. Loch Lomond has the largest surface area of fresh water of any Loch or Lake the United Kingdom. The Loch is 24 miles long and five miles wide and at its deepest point is some 600 feet deep.
On the Loch there are approximately 38 Islands, some of them inhabited and there is even a Hotel on one at Inchmurrin.
The Loch crossed the Highland Boundary Fault and the scenery here is unusual depicting both the highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland. Here you can find around 200 species of birds and over 25% of Britain's wild plants flourish around here. We had a great time here walking along the shore by the old road and as you can see from the last photo Cuileann had a blast with some drift wood and very cold water!
Five vessels sail on Loch Lomond daily from May until October. Winter sailings are also available by telephone arrangement. The cruise day starts at 11.00 am and the last sailing is 17.00. Prices vary depending on your choice of cruise, there are three The West Highland Way Rambler - The Inversnaid Experience and The Rob Roy Discovery. We were on our way home when we stopped to see the boats, so sadly didn't have time to take a cruise. I had to smile at the safety notice = If you don't like to wear a life vest - raise your hand! I will definately be back in the National Park and one day I will sail Loch Lomond complete with life vest I hope!
We had a lovely sunny walk along the river bank. Early Spring saw most of the trees still bare but they did provide nice reflections in the river and the sweet yellow primroses were in bloom. We crossed the aptly named 'Sappers' Bridge' The old bridge had been destroyed by a flood, the Royal Engineers who were at that time based in Osnabruck in Germany, came to Luss to build the bridge for free. Material was provided by Babcock Marine. It took the troops three weeks to build the bridge and it was opened in their presence on 2nd. June 2006. I loved the little plaque on the bridge which read -
Now do thy speedy utmost Meg
and win the key-stone o the brig
There at them thou thy tail may loss
A running stream they dare na cross
Until they built the bridge at Luss
'In the spirit of Rabbie Burns' a little misquoting from 'Tam O Shanter'
The pretty cottages which line Luss streets were originally build in the late eighteenth century to house workers from the cotton mills and slate quarries. The houses were build using local slate, which is very colourful in shades of pinks, blues, greys, cream and apricot. Luss became conservation village when the houses which had fallen into disrepair were totally renovated. The gardens are lush with a myriad of plants and flowers. Only around one hundred people live in these streets, at least one has a sense of humour. I had to smile when I saw the sign on a gate 'Beware Killer Cats' Well if you had a horde of tourist tripping by your door wouldn't you like to provide a warning?
There has been a Church here in Luss since 510 AD founded by the Celtic Saint Kessog, his name in Gaelic is no surprise, he is known as MacKessog the Monk who introduced Christianity to Luss. Many pilgrims followed this Saint to Luss and the Church here was once linked to Glasgow Cathedral. The present Church in Luss was built around 1875 with major renovations both inside and out in 2001. The cost of the renovations was £900,000 with the bulk of the money coming from Historic Scotland - Boy they do a good job in preservation! I particularly liked the lychgate where funeral processions could stop to avoid inclement weather, the round squat tower was interesting and the tri fold window of the Holy Trinity held great significance to me. The surrounding Kirk Yard with its many graves pre dating the present Church is awesome to stroll around and absorb some history.