Loch Lomond

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View of Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is the largest loch in Scotland, the largest body of fresh water in Britain and probably the most famous after Loch Ness. It is part of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, Scotland's first national park. The southern end of the loch is quite flat, but the scenery soon becomes more mountainous and distinctly wild by the time you reach the north end. To the north-east lie the Trossachs with both Loch Katrine and Loch Array.

Towns and Villages[edit]

  • Balloch—located at the southern end of Loch Lomond, it is the main town on the loch, and can get busy. The TIC / visitors centre called Loch Lomond Shores can help you plan your stay and provide you with close-area maps. Has a railway station.
  • Luss -- a town without any attractions other than its beautiful appearance and cottages, which are still worth a visit
  • Rowardennan -- this village makes a great base to explore Ben Lomond
  • Drymen—good base for the Conic Hill, also a nice pub (claimed to be the oldest in Scotland) and Buchanan castle.
  • Tarbet—a large village near the centre of the west shore with railway station
  • Ardlui

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

ScotRail local trains run frequently from Glasgow's Queen Street Station to Balloch which is at the end of the line. The station in Balloch is easy to find.

Several trains run daily between Glasgow and Oban, Fort William and Mallaig which stop at Tarbet and Ardlui on the north-west shore as well as Crainlarich in the northern part of the park. These leave from the upper level of Glasgow's Queen Street station.

The Caledonian Sleeper from London also runs up here - see the ScotRail website for further details.

By Bus[edit]

Buses run frequently between Balloch and Glasgow.

The First Western bus service towards Balloch pick up passengers at the bus stop opposite McDonalds at Jamaica Street. A full day unlimited travel ticket costs about 4 pounds.

Several buses a day between Glasgow and Campbeltown, Oban or Fort William, traveling along the western shore (A82) of the Loch. These will stop at all bus stops north of Balloch, including Luss, Inverbeg, Tarbet and Ardlui.

Get around[edit]

By Bike[edit]

To enjoy the nature, it is best to go by bike. There's a (relatively!) well-maintained and -signposted cycleway from Glasgow to Balloch called National Route 7. A good place to join it is Bells Bridge over the Clyde by the SECC (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center). It's a fairly flat 20–25 miles.

By Bus[edit]

Buses run along the Loch, but not that frequently (see above). You should check the departure-times first, as timetable are not usually available at the stops. The National Park Authority publishes a timetable of all the buses and ferries [1] which may be available as a booklet locally.

By car[edit]

If you're driving, mind that the road along the northern part of Loch Lomond is pretty narrow for the traffic it has.

By Boat[edit]

Sightseeing trips by boat run from Loch Lomond Shores near Balloch.

There is also a useful passenger ferry between Inverbeg (served by Citylink buses) and Rowardennan (at the foot of Ben Lomond mountain).

Travelling Around Scotland An excellent reference tool for planning your journey is the travelinescotland website: www.travelinescotland.com/Timetables and journey planner for all bus, rail, coach, air and ferry services in Scotland. Also open 24 hours by phone on 0871 200 22 33.

See[edit]

  • Loch Lomond Shores, Balloch, 01389-722406. A gateway center for Loch Lomond with an information center, an educational cinema, shops and a view across the Loch. Lomond Shores Project: [2].
  • Balloch Castle Country Park, Balloch. The first park in the national park with a castle you can visit. The castle itself only has two accessible rooms with only little information about the castle, but rather some educational informations about the national park. It was built in the early 20th century to replace the old castle located further down the hill, and only served as a manor house.
  • Luss Village Paths, Luss (along the A82). A beautiful town with four walks around town and a sandy beach. A map can be picked up at Balloch TIC or at the Luss Visitor Information.

Do[edit]

  • Cycling is probably the best outdoor activity besides hiking. The Lowland Highland Trail, which is part of the National Cycle Network Route 7 starts from Balloch, going north to Drymen, Aberfoyle, Callander, Strathyre, Lochearnhead and Killin. Free leaflets with a map of the bike trail can be picked up at TICs along the trail. There is another cycle path along the western shores of Loch Lomond. Bikes can be hired at the Loch Lomond Shores (see above).
  • Hiking is also a good idea. You could for example go to Rowardennan and then hike up Ben Lomond. The long-distance West Highland Way also runs along the eastern shore on its way from Milingavie (near Glasgow) to Fort William.

Eat[edit]

The Clachan Inn in Drymen - Scotland's oldest registered licensed premises (1734) - nice pub with good food and friendly atmosphere.

Drink[edit]

There is a small pub, with outside terrace and nearby pier for boat moorings, on the island of Inchmurrin in the centre of the loch. A ferry is available from Midross, on the A82, to the island. Cameron House Hotel has a marina bar with views over Loch Lomond.

Sleep[edit]

Camping[edit]

Unusually for Scotland, wild camping is banned on the Southeast side of Loch Lomond. This affects the area near the road from Drymen to Balmaha, and these bylaws [3] [4] were introduced following excessive litter and noise in these areas [5].

Wild camping is permitted in other areas [6].

Budget[edit]

  • Rowardennan Youth Hostel, Rowardennan, 0870 004 1148. Located at the banks of Loch Lomond, it can be used as a base to climb Ben Lomond. £10.50-12.00/5.00-9.00 (Adult/Child). Opened March–October. SYHA information and booking: [7].

Splurge[edit]

  • Cameron House on Loch Lomond, A82, 01389 755565. Cameron House on Loch Lomond is a stunning five star Scottish Baronial Mansion on the banks of Loch Lomond perfectly located within Scotland's first national park. The resort also has four restaurants including the exquisite Michelin Star Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond, the unrivalled Cameron Grill serving the finest local Beef and Salmon, the Loch side Boathouse with seafood from Loch Fyne and the relaxed Claret Jug, the best 19th hole in Scotland. The resort also features an 18-hole Championship golf course, a luxury resort spa with rooftop infinity pool and a range of outdoor pursuits from champagne cruises on Loch Lomond to ranger rambles for our younger guests. [8]

Go next[edit]

  • Dumbarton Castle, Dumbarton (take the A82 south), 01389 732167. It features a castle on top of a rock, overlooking the Firth of Clyde. It was an important royal refuge. Historic Scotland information
  • Buchanan Castle, Drymen (along the A811, enter through the gate of Buchanan Castle Golf Course). A ruin of an beautiful castle, which cannot be entered (danger of falling apart). Sadly, it is not getting maintained or repaired, but is worth a peek.
  • Inchmahome Priory, Lake of Menteith (along the A81), 01877 385294. This is the only lake in Scotland. An Augustinian monastery on an island, where Mary Stuart once hid from Henry the VIII. A ferry runs to the island, but is only operated in Summer. Historic Scotland information
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