Loch Lomond ( East and South shores )

Loch Lomond Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
The Clachan Pub, Drymen

As part of my introduction to my home city, I did mention the fact that, from the part of the city where I live, Loch Lomond is just 20 minutes away, and that I hadn't been up there for the best part of 10 years. Today I decided to rectify that.

The loch was originally known as Loch Leamhna ( from the Scots Gaelic 'Leamhain' meaning Elm Water). It is just over 20 miles in length, and it's width goes from 0.75miles to 5 miles at various points and goes to a depth of 636 ft . The loch is full of little islands, some of which can be accesed by boat tours.

Loch Lomond lies on the boundary fault between the Central Lowlands and the Southern Highlands, and there is occasional seismic activity, but never usually on a big scale.

South Across Loch Lomond From Balmaha
Despite National Parks being established in England since the 1950's there was never seen to be any requiremant for it in Scotland, probably because we have so much wilderness. However, mainly due to the increase in water sport activity, the Loch was becoming dangerous and, along with the nearby Trossachs forest area, a National Park with local by laws was created in 2002. 

Subject of a famous song, The Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond, written in the 1840's and supposedly about a Scottish soldier waiting to die in a prison and talks of taking the 'high road' back to Scotland to be with his true love again. fairly traditional, but some great cover versions recently, most notably by Scottish band Runrig. 

Well that's a bit of the background, but I decided to head for my own favourite part of it on the East shore.

Mail Boat At Balmaha
Far less developed than the Western side,which has the main A82 road running along it's side. On the eastern shore the road only goes as far as Rowerdennan and the rest is only accesible on foot.

Set off early(ish) and for me I tool the A811 towards Stirling, and cut off it at Drymen ( Dri-men). Drymen is a nice enough little village and indeed when me and my mates were younger we would head up there on a Friday or Saturday night, as a change from hanging about the local pubs. Drymen is on the West Highland Way (http://www.west-highland-way.co.uk/home.

asp )  , and with a couple of decent hotels and a few pubs it is not a bad place to stop on the first night after walking all day.  

Headed out towards the loch where you reach Balmaha . Here there is a National Park Centre, and there are a couple of short woodland walks to enjoy. Down by the loch side there is a boatyard, where boats were berthed out of the water for the winter. There was just one small boat in the water still,where the ice in the bay had been broken up a bit so that it could still get out, as the boatyard also runs the Royal Mail delivery service to the inhabited islands on the loch. Again as part of the West Highland Way, there are plenty of hotels,B&B's and a bunkhouse.

View Of Loch Lomond From The Hills

This is as far as you can get on public transport. There is a bus,309 operated by McColls, that runs from Alexandria,via Balloch on the south shore, and then up through Drymen

Heading northward there is a steep hill out of Balmaha and then you get back to the shoreline and I pulled in at Milarrochy Bay. A small cove with a bit of stoney beach it is a popular place for individuals to take part in water sports as it is easy to get canoes and wind surf boards into the loch here. There is now, as part of the National Park status, a Ranger Station here. 

Further up I stopped at Sallochy Bay. This is where we used to come up to on hot summer days when I was a kid. A slightly bigger bay, with a few 'beach' areas and great for swimming.

North From Pier
It may have been 10 years or so since I had been up here, but it is a lot longer then that since I swam in it. Given the amount of water in Loch Lomond, and the fact that Scottish summers are not particularly warm, the loch never really heats up. Fine when you are young and daft, but I wouldn't even put my toe in it now :-D  

On the other side of the road here there are three different woodland walks. This area comes under the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park,  set up before the National Park, and designated as the Sallochy Trail. Been years since I had done any of them and decided just to follow the blue route that followed a small stream. Think it must have been the toughest as there were some steep climbs, and when I got up to the top there were markers for the other routes that seemed to have come up a forestry road.

Youth Hostel
No prizes for guessing which way I went back down. 

Carried on up to Rowerdennan,where the road on the east side comes to an end. The Rowerdennan Hotel is the main thing here, though there are some chalets set beside it. Walking onto the Forestry Commission land and along the track you are back onto the West Highland Way. There is a small public car park beside the pier, where during the summer you can get a boat to from Tarbet or Inverbeg(may not run this summer 2010) on the West side of the loch. Just along from it is the War Memorial, which is one of the more unusual ones I have come across. Back on the track you come to a former shooting lodge which now is a Youth Hostel.

Decided to keep on heading up the route and came to Ptarmigan Cottage. Here the Forestry road ends and you are onto a path that has a long incline as it goes along the loch.

West Highland Way
Here there is a sharp steep drop down to Loch Lomond, and views are obscured by trees that have gown up beside the shore. Part of the work of the Trossachs and Queen Elizabeth Forest Parks has been to reintroduce the natural woodland that once covered Scotland in ancient times, the Caledonian Forest.

The next stop off the route is Inversnaid, but it takes between 4-5 hours to walk, so I turned back to Rowerdennan to pick up my car. While there was still a bit of light I decided to go to Balloch, the southern most part of the loch. Balloch is probably the easiest part to get to for anyone travelling to Glasgow. There is a twice hourly train service operating through Glasgow Queen Street Low Level station, and the station at Balloch is the end of the line.

View Walking Back To Rowerdennan
Also buses run out to here from Glasgow's Buchanan Bus Station.

The train station at Balloch is practically at the shore, and if driving there is a car park across the road from it.

To the right is the River Leven, that runs from Loch Lomond into the River Clyde, and just at the bridge you will find cruise boats that sail Loch Lomond. Looking from the station, walk through the park on the left of the river. This takes you to Loch Lomond Shores, a big retail outlet built not long ago. Not my thing, but just before you get there, turn right as you come out of the park and you will come to the public slipway. Here you will find the 'Maid Of The Loch' the last paddle steamer built in the UK, on The Clyde in 1953.

Used to sail the loch, but suffered damage in a fire a few years back.

'Maid Of The Loch'
Has been restored a bit and is now moored at the pier and operates as a display,cafe, and restaurant. Owned by a preservation charity, I don't know id it will ever get to sail again. Just beside it is Steam Slipway Winch, that used to haul the boats out of the  water. There is also a castle in Balloch, the seat of the Earls Of Lennox, and the original was built in 1238 before they built a better defended one on the island of Inchmurrin in Loch Lomond. New one goes back to the early 1800's.

A few nice pubs and restaurants,notably the Balloch Castle Hotel, it is not a bad place for a wee day out if you find yourself in Glasgow.

If you have got plenty of money and want to stay in the best, just a bit on from Balloch on the A82 west coast road is the Cameron House Hotel.   

 

Africancrab says:
Beautiful, incredible.
Posted on: Mar 19, 2010
bkretzer says:
There is Loch Lomond, here in Colorado. The fishing is supposed to be decent. I wonder if it was named for your hometown lake? I'll have to find out!
Posted on: Jan 18, 2010
Dr_Seuss says:
It is indeed Huib,just that I've grown up with it being there I'm to used to it :-O
Posted on: Jan 18, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Clachan Pub, Drymen
The Clachan Pub, Drymen
South Across Loch Lomond From Balm…
South Across Loch Lomond From Bal…
Mail Boat At Balmaha
Mail Boat At Balmaha
Woodland At Sallochy Bay
Woodland At Sallochy Bay
View Of Loch Lomond From The Hills
View Of Loch Lomond From The Hills
North From Pier
North From Pier
Youth Hostel
Youth Hostel
West Highland Way
West Highland Way
View Walking Back To Rowerdennan
View Walking Back To Rowerdennan
Maid Of The Loch
'Maid Of The Loch'
The Winnock Hotel
The Winnock Hotel
Drymen Pottery
Drymen Pottery
Millenium Forest Trail Map
Millenium Forest Trail Map
Balmaha Visitor Centre
Balmaha Visitor Centre
Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
Boats Out Of The Water For Winter
Boats Out Of The Water For Winter
Across Loch Lomond from Balmaha Pi…
Across Loch Lomond from Balmaha P…
Balmaha Bay
Balmaha Bay
Hills Above Balmaha
Hills Above Balmaha
Ranger Station At Milarrochy Bay
Ranger Station At Milarrochy Bay
Sailing At Milarrochy
Sailing At Milarrochy
Sun Trying To Break Through Over L…
Sun Trying To Break Through Over …
Hills Over Loch Lomond
Hills Over Loch Lomond
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
Sallochy
Sallochy
View Across The Loch
View Across The Loch
looking To West Side Of Loch
looking To West Side Of Loch
Sallochy Jetty
Sallochy Jetty
Beach at Sallochy
'Beach' at Sallochy
Sallochy Trail
Sallochy Trail
Water Cascade
Water Cascade
Ben Lomond Covered In Cloud
Ben Lomond Covered In Cloud
Rock Outcrop
Rock Outcrop
Easy Way Back Down
Easy Way Back Down
Rowerdennean Hotel
Rowerdennean Hotel
Rowerdennan Chalets
Rowerdennan Chalets
Sallochy Bay
Sallochy Bay
The Clansman
The Clansman
Rowerdennan Pier
Rowerdennan Pier
Inverbeg on West Side
Inverbeg on West Side
Rowerdennan Youth Hostel
Rowerdennan Youth Hostel
Hotel From Pier
Hotel From Pier
Small Island In The Loch
Small Island In The Loch
Rowerdennan War Memorial
Rowerdennan War Memorial
Ben Lomond Cottage
Ben Lomond Cottage
Waterfall
Waterfall
Ptarmigan Lodge
Ptarmigan Lodge
Tree Blocking Path
Tree Blocking Path
Stuckgowan On The Other Side
Stuckgowan On The Other Side
Down The Hill To The Shore
Down The Hill To The Shore
Hills On West Side Of Loch Lomond
Hills On West Side Of Loch Lomond
Working On Clearing Storm Damage
Working On Clearing Storm Damage
Still Waters Run Deep
Still Waters Run Deep
Ben Lomond Summit Covered In Cloud
Ben Lomond Summit Covered In Cloud
Balloch Cruise Boats
Balloch Cruise Boats
River Leven Towards Loch Lomond
River Leven Towards Loch Lomond
Balloch House Hotel
Balloch House Hotel
Maid Of The Loch Across The River
'Maid Of The Loch' Across The River
Tourist Information Centre In Ball…
Tourist Information Centre In Bal…
Balloch Railway Station
Balloch Railway Station
The Tullie Inn
The Tullie Inn
Slipway Winch House
Slipway Winch House
Cameron House
Cameron House
Loch Lomond Shores
Loch Lomond Shores
Brigadier Pearson Patrol Boat
Brigadier Pearson Patrol Boat
Guys Returning From Fishing On The…
Guys Returning From Fishing On Th…
Loch Lomond
photo by: arpeggio83