Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
“By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where we two have passed so many blithesome days,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
Ah, to pass many a blithesome day in a cool shady glen, or on a steep hillside watching the sun flashing on the rippling water, listening to birdsong whilst the wild flowers bloom – now that’s the dream.
There have been many songs and poems inspired by great beauty, whether animal, mineral or rock, where words have immortalised the mortal so they transcend time. From the women in Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” to Shakespeare’s “A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted’ to the high peaks of John Denvers “Rocky Mountain High” and the scrubby dusk of The Kinks “Waterloo sunset”, the written word tells of people places and times that are perhaps gone, but not forgotten and invites us to wonder at them just as the admirer did when the verse created. Oh to inspire such admiration!
Scotland has been such inspiration – from Edwin Morgan to Robert Louis Stevenson, Scotland has been immortalised in the written word, enticing visitors to explore and marvel at the wild landscapes and rugged hilltops that were once, before the end of the 18th century, secret and foreign. Famous travel writers such as Thomas Pennant published accounts of their journeys into the Highlands, fuelling further interest and intrigue. Many places in Scotland, hills, glens, shorelines, mountains have been sung and written of, places of such beauty that it needs to be shared. None more so than Loch Lomand and the surrounding Trossachs – a place of snow capped peaks, glimmering waters and sweeping forests it truly reflects Scotland’s world renowned scenery. First put on the map by Sir Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake” in 1810, its popularity has grown and it remains one of the most loved and most explored areas of Scotland today.
Loch Lomand and the Trossachs National Park was designated in 2002 as Scotland’s first national park consisting of 21 munroes, 22 lochs, two forest parks and over 50 designated special nature conservation sites that are home to a variety of wildlife. The eponymous loch, with a shoreline of 153km, is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain. If that is not in itself reason enough to visit then just imagine the wild scenery, thrilling history, exciting trail rides, climbing, biking, hiking plus superb local food and drink.
You could take a cruise on the waters in the shadow of the mighty bulk of Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro, as well as the jagged shoulders of the Arrochar Alps, stopping to perhaps visit one of the loch’s 30 islands. Look out for the wallabies (yes WALLABIES!) when you pass Inchconnachan – this island has had a colony of these creatures happily hopping there since being introduced in the 1920s by a local landowner. To cruise Loch Lomond, the family-run Sweeney’s Cruises have been offering sightseeing cruises of Loch Lomond for over 100 years, offering also a seasonal daily waterbus service and private boat charters. The Maid of the Loch paddle steamer, built in 1953, also operates on Loch Lomond.
If you are of the opinion that there is nothing better than spend an afternoon on the water then look no further- you have a choice of kayaks, canoes, jetskis or perhaps a windsurfer. Every kind of watercraft can be seen cruising the blue waters, and there is plenty going on below the surface, so anglers (and permits) at the ready!
For those that enjoy a pint or two, visit Loch Lomond Brewery and see how these handcrafted ales and beers “capture the flavour of the surrounding landscape”. If shopping is your thing then make sure you pay a visit to the Loch Lomond Shores, with views up the water making it one of the most beautifully situated shopping destinations in Britain. You can browse famous Scottish brands and unique one-off shops, and pick up some fine local fare to tickle the taste buds and fill the tummy.
Anyone with a passion for design and architecture should not miss the Hill House, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh showcasing the visually exciting mix of Art Nouveau, Scottish Baronial and Japonisme architecture and design, plus a beautifully restored garden.
And what’s a holiday without a bit of magic? On the western shore of Loch Lomond sits Luss, the prettiest village in Scotland and home to the faeries. Since the beginning of time, Scottish faeries have lived by the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, happily inhabiting the forest and woodlands, living in harmony with nature. Tread carefully and follow the trail, take in the views and learn all about the faeries.
And perhaps to finish, a little bit of history. You can find a bit of everything from prehistoric cairns and stone circles to ruined castles around Loch Lomand. Some of the most interesting stories you can find are about the history in each of the villages. For example, the village of Tyndrum is built over the battlefield where Clan MacDougall defeated Robert the Bruce and also has an association with Rob Roy MacGregor, whose gravestone can be seen at Balquhidder Parish Church. Stumble across the past in ruins and remnants throughout the area such as the Auchenlaich Cairn, a neolithic chambered cairn; the Kinnell stone circle in Killin, and the ruins of Strathfillan Priory in Kirkton.
There is something to capture the heart and imagination of everyone in this marvellously beautiful and rugged place. These are but a few of the adventures you could have if you venture to the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond…
“O ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
For all holiday homes in the area of Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs National Park visit our website HERE