Hills & Mountains
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
*I am in the process of redesigning this section to include notes and many more high-res shots*
This is a fairly large section with numerous Munros and hills of lesser altitudes, but often just as worthwhile summits etc all located within the boundaries of Scotland`s first national park. (Note that the Bridge of Orchy area is included in the Black Mount section ). Additional images and more information on Scotland`s Hills & Mountains can be found on Clydeside Images.com - use the blog`s search box or click the `Hills & Mountains` fly-out label on the right-hand side of the blog page. To search my Stock Photography Archive Click Here.
The core feature of the national park is of course Loch Lomond itself - Islands etc* The most famous of not only the national park`s but Scotland`s mountains is of course is Ben Lomond etc (to edit*) Add Image above*
Lomond Shores info*
The paddle steamer Maid of the Loch was built by A&J Inglis of Pointhouse whose yard was situated at the confluence of the Clyde and River Kelvin.
They constructed over 500 vessels during a century of operation ranging from whalers and small liners to warships but the Waverley, the world`s last sea-going paddle steamer, was the most famous ship built by the firm.
The yard closed in 1963 and the city`s new Riverside Transport Museum, which is currently under construction, will stand on the site.
The Maid` was once a familiar site on Loch Lomond as she plied between Balloch, where she now lies, and Ardlui at the loch`s northern tip, criss-crossing between the west and eastern shore to call at various piers and jetties on the way. Normally new vessels destined for Loch Lomond would sail or be towed up the River Leven but the Maid of the Loch was so large that she had to be partially dismantled prior to leaving the builders yard, transported by rail and reassembled on the slipway at Balloch. With a capacity for 1,000 passengers she was the largest vessel to operate in an inland waterway in Britain.
She was launched on 5 March 1953 and entered service in May of that year in time for the busy summer season. She had various ups and downs during her career and changed hands several times having belonged to Cal Mac (Caledonian MacBrayne) for a considerable period. Unfortunately escalating operating costs, dwindling passenger numbers, and mechanical breakdowns led Cal Mac to announce in December 1981 that the vessel would not sail the following season. She was sold soon after but several changes of ownership only resulted in the paddle-steamer decaying at Balloch Pier for the next decade. Fortunately restoration is now well under way in an effort to restore the Maid of the Loch to her former glory. The historic ship currently features an on board restaurant which is a popular venue for functions and a cafe-bar, however, the long term aim is to see her sailing the loch once again.
Boating is obviously the main activity on Loch Lomond and for those who do not have a vessel of their own, a number of companies offer speedboat tours, charter services, motor boat, sailing dinghy and kayak hire. There are several main centres of activity, namely Balloch on the southern shore (below), Balmaha at the southeast corner and Luss on the west side. There are also large marinas at the Cameron House near Balloch and Ardlui at the loch`s north end.
Above: The Cameron House Marina with the Ardlui Marina above right and below.
The majority of the loch`s islands, like Creinch above, are all heavily wooded and there is at least one with an excellent sandy beach. The highlight during a cruise or paddle for many though is usually when the boat negotiates the shallow, winding tree-fringed channel between Inchconnachan and Inchtavanach, known as `the Narrows`. The islands, like the rest of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, support a diverse range of wildlife. Just how diverse was revealed in the early 1980s following a night-time road accident on the A82 when a tanker ended up in a ditch. Despite the driver`s protests that he was stone cold sober the police breathalysed him anyway, especially when he maintained that he was forced to swerve to avoid a Kangaroo!
At that time it was not common knowledge that Inchconnachan was home to a colony of Red-necked Wallabies, introduced in the 1970s by the then island`s owner, Lady Arran. Despite harsh winters the animals thrived and it was later accepted that at least one of the animals may have swam the short distance to the mainland. There was talk recently of a cull as the animals were deemed to be damaging the fragile environment. I managed to snap this one on the island a few years ago and as far as I know they`re still hopping about. The Wallabies tend to remain hidden in dense undergrowth but occasionally one or two are spotted at the waters edge, particularly late in the day when they come down to drink.
This long overdue memorial to Tom Weir MBE (29.12.1914 - 6.7.2006) was unveiled at Balmaha on 29 December 2014 by Cameron McNeish and Jimmie MacGregor MBE in the presence of Tom`s widow, Rhona (who has since passed away) and hundreds of lovers of the Scottish countryside.
The statue was sculpted by Sean Hedges-Quinn, and although it`s a fine piece of work I, having met Tom a couple of times, including at the summit of Stob Ghabhar over 30 years ago on his 70th birthday, don`t think it quite captures his character.
The memorial does, however, without doubt honour Tom`s major contribution to introducing generations to Scotland`s great outdoors through his adventures as a climber, writer, broadcaster, naturalist and pioneering campaigner for the protection of the Scottish environment.
The Endrick marshes nature reserve* at Loch Lomond`s southeast corner is a prime birdwatching spot, especially during spring and autumn migration when rarities may appear etc. For more information on this area see the Duncryne & Conic Hill page.
For information on Luss village on the west side of Loch Lomond, see the Luss Hills section.
The Ranger Service on Loch Lomond operate four craft, one of which is Brigadier Pearson II. Launched in 2007, she is an 11 metre-long Redbay Stormforce RIB with a cabin fitted to protect her crew from the elements. One of the vessel`s tasks is servicing the navigation buoys dotted around the loch. She is seen here sailing north past Inchailloch.
The West Highland Way is Scotland`s first official long distance walking route and runs from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William taking in some magnificent scenery en route (weather permitting of course!). It runs straight past Inversnaid pier and hotel. Inversnaid is one of only three access points for the section that runs up the east side of Loch Lomond.
The original Woodland Nature Trail through the RSPB Inversnaid Reserve is a 600m loop accessed from the Way just north of the hotel. A path winds it's way up through the ancient oak wood and steadily gains height, reaching a small grassy area affording excellent views down the loch and across to Inveruglas and the Arrochar Alps. As well a a variety of birds, roe and red deer, and feral goats, the oak woods host numerous woodland plants and flowers and by autumn each year, an impressive selection of fungi. Slow Worms and nineteen species of butterfly have also been recorded.
The reserve has recently been extended to take in a large area of open hillside adjacent to nearby Garrison Farm. There is a small parking area which is the starting point for an 800m climb via the muddy Garrison Track to a sheep fank on the hillside where the route ends.