Loch Lomond, famed for its sublime beauty all around the world, is a region steeped in legend, folklore and history. Lying on the highland boundary fault-line separating the highlands from the lowlands, the loch itself is 24.5 miles long and is the largest body of freshwater in mainland Britain. It has more than 30 stunning islands (the largest of which is Inchmurrin), and although the average depth of the water is around 120 ft, there are a few particularly deep areas of the loch which have been recorded at over 620 ft.
Whilst the statistics may be impressive, what really sets this region apart is the unique atmosphere and scenery. From the serene snow capped peaks of Ben Lomond (one of the famous southern “Munro’s”) on the eastern shore, to the sheltered oak woodlands and pine forests that line the “bonnie banks”, it ‘s no wonder that throughout history song-writers, poets, musicians and artists received their creative inspiration from this majestic loch.
The villages too are picture postcard material and are sparsely sprinkled along much of the water’s edge. Nestled alongside this tranquil setting are also many places of historic interest including ancient church graveyards, historic grand houses and castles.
Of the islands on the loch, English travel writer, H.V. Morton wrote: “What a large part of Loch Lomond’s beauty is due to its islands, those beautiful green tangled islands, that lie like jewels upon its surface.” If you’ve ever been there when the sun is shining and sparkling off the loch, then you’ll know this colourful commentary is accurate. Each island has its own unique charm and beauty, some comprise green rolling hills and deciduous forestation, others craggy and mountainous with old Scots pine trees, relics of the ancient Caledonian forest, clinging onto the steep rocky slopes. Interestingly, some of the very small islands in the loch appear to be ‘Crannogs’, artificial islands built in prehistoric periods.
The wildlife inhabiting the area is one of the most diverse in the Scottish mainland. From rare water voles and red squirrels to otters, capercaillies, ospreys, roe and red deer, it is rich in fauna. There’s even a colony of wallabies on one of the loch’s islands – Inchconnachan. And surprisingly, beaver were also spotted on the loch a couple of years ago.