Loch Lomond is a mere 20 miles from the centre of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. The difference that the 30 minute drive makes is hard to believe. This short trip transports you from the noise and clamour of the city to the peace and tranquility of Scotland’s wilderness.
Since its creation in 2002 the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park has welcomed more than 1 million visitors every year. This number is easier to understand when you appreciate the scenery, activities and hospitality that exist in the area.
Loch Lomond is Britain’s largest body of freshwater and has at least thirty islands dotted along its 24 mile length. Watersports are naturally very popular on the Loch with sailing , canoeing, kayakking, wind surfing, water-skiing and jet skiing all welcome. The waters are patrolled by National Park Rangers and designated ‘sensitive’ areas have speed limits of 10kmph but elsewhere a maximum of 90kmph is permitted. Please note that all motorised craft must be registered with the National Park Authority before taking to the water. Loch Cruises are also popular and many are available from Balloch, Luss, Ardlui and Balmaha. A waterbus service is also available during the summer months.
Walking and climbing also draw many visitors to the area. Ben Lomond sits on the eastern side of the Loch at Rowardennan and it is Scotland’s most climbed Munro. It is easily accessible and has a well defined ‘tourist’ route which will allow most people to reach the 974 metre summit. Walkers should be aware that despite the relative ease of the climb, sturdy boots, suitable clothing and normal precautions are the order of the day. On a clear day climbers may be able to see Ben Nevis some 70 miles off to the north. There are 21 Munros (3000ft and over) and 19 Corbetts(500ft to 3000ft) within the confines of the National Park. Another popular climb locally is ‘The Cobbler’ or Ben Arthur near Arrochar.
There are many marked walks and wild walks in the area. Perhaps the best known being The West Highland Way ( a 94 mile route from Milngavie near Glasgow to Fort William) which passes through the park on the Loch’s eastern shore and will usually take 5-8 days to complete.
Unlike Loch Ness to the north Loch Lomond lacks a monster but it more than makes up for it with the wealth of wildlife on show. Sharp eyed visitors may see Otters, Capercaillie, Osprey, Water Voles, Black Grouse, Roe and Red deer and Red squirrels. Beneath the surface of the Loch Pike, Powan, Lampreys and at least 16 other species of fish have been recorded. Unusually, Loch Lomond is also home to a ‘mob’ of wild Red necked Wallabies. The animals can be visited on Inchconnachan Island where they were originally introduced in the 1940s by the landowner Lady Colqhoun.
Cyclists keen to visit the area but wishing to avoid the busy A82 can use the West Loch Lomond Cycle path to travel between Balloch and Tarbet. The majority of the 17 mile route is traffic free and is suitable for cyclists, wheelchairs and horses.
Balloch at the southern end of the Loch is home to a Sealife Centre and all the family will love the otters and other marine life on display. The centre has a specialist section dealing with the preservation and breeding of sea horses. Visitors may also appreciate the chance to indulge in some retail therapy at nearby Lomond Shores which includes a Jenners Department store and a fortnightly Farmer’s Market.
There are several excellent golf courses in the area with the De Vere Cameron Golf Course having recently hosted the Scottish Open. The Callander golf course provides players with spectacular views of Ben Ledi to accompany their round.
Loch Lomond has been celebrated in song and literature and it is known to millions around the world. Its wonders have even spawned a namesake in California. This fame is justified and once you visit its shore you will never forget it’s beauty.
Please feel free to share any experiences or pictures of this wonderful part of the world with us.
Post by Scottish Accommodation Index