Loch Lomond and the Village of Luss

Map of the Area

The weather has been lovely and sunny so with a few days off work, we took the train to Balloch on the south side of Loch Lomond and cycled to the village of Luss. It was an easy-going day.

The area around Loch Lomond is spectacular and it attracts plenty of visitors from all over the world. I heard French, German and an oriental language, which may have been Japanese, as well as English, being spoken.

Loch Lomond 

Loch Lomond is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area.The loch also contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles.The Loch is part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park which was established in 2002.

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond looking East

Crannogs

Loch Lomond has many small islands called ‘crannogs’. These were built by Iron Age people over 2500 years ago when wooden piles were placed in the loch to enable dwelling places to be built free from predators. They were accessed by a causeway.

In later periods rocks were added to the wooden structures to make an island and to allow dwelling places to be constructed with rocks. In the photograph below a crannog can be seen in behind the small boats.

Crannog
Cameron House Hotel
Cameron House Hotel and resort

The five-star Cameron House Hotel and Resort is situated on the banks of loch Lomond. It has an 18-hole Championship golf course, a luxury resort spa and a range of outdoor pursuits.
When we were there, a seaplane was taking visitors on a flight around the area. We watched the seaplane departing on another journey with a full complement of passengers.

Seaplane at Loch Lomond

We then continued on the cycle path to Luss. Although it is not compulsory to cycle on the cycle path, it is recommended, as it is adjacent to the busy A82 road. The cycle path is an old footpath and has quite a few blind bends in it so care has to be taken when riding along.

Queen’s Tree


Across from the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel in Luss is the Queen’s Tree. This was planted to commemorate HM Queen Elizabeth II, on 9 September 2015, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest reigning monarch in British history. The tree is a Red Oak (quercus robur), and its base is surrounded by an inscribed stone circle.

Queen’s Tree, Luss

Luss

One of the things visitors notice about Luss is the colourful displays of flowers in the village. Many of the villagers have good displays of flowers in front of their houses. Below shows some of the displays.



Luss Parish Church

The church in Luss, which was built in 1875, used to performs more marriages in Scotland than any other church. This was scaled down in 2013 at the request of the then minister who wanted to spend more time with the 750,000 visitors to the area. 

Luss Parish Church
Luss Parish Church Entrance
At the entrance to the church is a quote from the Psalm 122 v1 “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” When we were there, a coach load of French visitors were being shown round the church.
 
Luss Pier
 

Luss has a small pier from where many small ferries take visitors on trips around the loch. Visitors can visit many areas and islands on the loch including Rowardennan, Balloch and Balmaha and visit the islands including Inchmurrin and Inchcailloch.

Some of the ferries also have bike racks so it is possible to take a bicycle and continue with a tour in another area of the loch.

A Mute Swan and Cygnets at Luss Pier
Luss Heilan’ Coos
 
There were some Highland Cows in a field in Luss – a mother and two calves. These were very popular with the visitors and the cows were enjoying all the attention they were getting. As it was very warm, the cows were having a wee lie down.
Luss Heilan’ Coos

After a great day in Luss, we cycled back to Balloch to have some fish and chips in Palumbo’s cafe before making our way to the train station for the journey home.

Further Information

Luss

Luss (Visit Scotland)

Palumbo’s of Balloch

Cycle Ride Around East Lothian


I was looking for a nice quiet area to cycle around when friends suggested East Lothian. This is the area to the east of Edinburgh and a popular area.

I arranged to meet friends in Dunbar and travelled from Motherwell on the Cross Country train. The journey was only 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Arriving at Dunbar, I met up with some friends and we started cycling towards the Museum of Flight at East Fortune.

We cycled along the cycle route 76 to East Linton and then continued along the A199 road until we turned right onto the B1347. This road was quite hilly, but we soon had arrived at the National Museum of Flight.

National Museum of Flight

The adult admission was 12 GBP, but as we had arrived by bicycle, it only cost 10.00 GBP. East Fortune is a disused airbase which was established as a fighter and airship airfield in 1915. During the Second World it was used as a flying training establishment. In 1942 it became a station for a group of de Havilland Mosquito aircraft.

Concorde

One of the Concorde supersonic passenger jets is on display in the museum and visitors can enter the plane to view the interior. Concorde was withdrawn from service in 2003 and a few of the planes are on display in various countries around the world.

Concorde
Concorde

The interior of the plane is quite small and the windows were tiny. This was to avoid disaster if a window broke during a flight.

Passenger  jet

There were a number of hangars with different displays including civilian and military aircraft.

Vulcan bomber B.2A as during Falklands War

The above fighter jet was similar to the ones used during the Falklands War in 1982. 

Many of the exhibits are displayed in the buildings on the airbase.It takes a few hours to go round them all, but is very interesting.

After viewing all the displays, we had a light snack in the small cafe before heading for North Berwick. The 4 hours we spent at the museum was very enjoyable and worth visiting again.

Road to North Berwick

The road to North Berwick is very pleasant, as it passes through some beautiful countryside. There were some sharp climbs, but nothing too difficult. In the distance could be seen North Berwick Law, a volcanic plug of hard rock.

Fenton Tower

At Kingston, just outside North Berwick, was Fenton Tower. This is a fortified 16th-century tower and has had many distinguished visitors, among them being King James VI of Scotland (son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley) who was surrounded by a rebel army in Fife and took refuge at Fenton Tower. It is currently used as an hotel.

Fenton Tower

Arriving in North Berwick, we saw the remains of the second St Andrew’s Church. This was built in 1664 and was the only church in the town until 1843.

St Andrew’s Church

North Berwick has a lovely beach but as there was a chilly breeze, there was nobody sunbathing on it!

North Berwick Beach
North Berwick Beach

The Seabird Centre organises boat trips to the Bass Rock and Isle of May. We stayed in North Berwick for an hour and a half before heading back to Dunbar.

Returning to Dunbar

We took the coastal A198 road and got some magnificent views of the Firth of Forth. The view of the Bass Rock was excellent at this point.

Bass Rock

Tantallon Castle

Further along the road we saw the ruins of Tantallon Castle. This was a 14th century castle and was the last curtain-wall castle to be built in Scotland. It is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and on our next visit to the area we intend to visit it.

Tantallon Castle

The rest of the ride to Dunbar was relatively uneventful. My train to Edinburgh was departing at 19.45 and we made it to Dunbar in plenty of time to catch it.

Edinburgh 

Although the journey to Dunbar was direct, the return one involved an hour and 10 minute wait at Waverley Station in Edinburgh. As the sun was still shining, I took the opportunity of photographing the castle. Evening is the best time for this, as the sun shines directly on the castle and gives it a warm ‘glow’.
 
Edinburgh Castle.
I also walked about Princes Street and saw the trams. These were brought into service a few years ago, but are state-of-the art.
Edinburgh Tram
I then made my way back to the station and caught my train back to Motherwell. It had been a great day in East Lothian and the weather was great.
 
Further Information:

Scottish Seabird Centre
Historic Environment Scotland

Matrix Fitness and Pearl Izumi Tour Series Cycle Races – Motherwell 17.05.2016

On Tuesday 17th May, the Matrix Fitness and Pearl Izumi Tour Series Cycle Races were held in Motherwell town centre. This was the second year the town had held these events. I took the day off work to savour the action and also catch a glimpse of the preparation required before a large cycle race.

Photographs of the race can be seen here.

Behind the Scenes

The backroom staff were hard at work during the day getting the riders ready for the race. The bikes are checked out and worn parts replaced. They are then washed ready for the riders to start their race.

JLT Condor 

 The JLT Condor bikes were being prepared. I had a close look at the and the frame was made from carbon fibre with Campagnolo components. The saddle was a Fizik Arione which is a fairly narrow saddle. 

Madison Genesis
Warm-up
Raleigh GAC

North Lanarkshire Pipe Band was also in attendance and entertained the crowds with some lovely music.

Nikki Juniper of Team Ford Ecoboost
North Lanarkshire Pipe Band

Ladies Matrix Fitness Race

There was action in the afternoon with races organised by Scottish Cycling. The Ladies Matrix Fitness race started at 17.30 and was won by Eileen Roe of Lares-Waowdeals. Near the end of the race, there was a terrible crash with one of the riders falling so badly she had to be taken to hospital.  

 

 

Pearl Izumi Tour Series Cycle Race

The men’s race started at 19.30. The dark skies suggested rain would fall during the day but thankfully it stayed off until about 15 minutes before the men’s race finish. The winner of this race was Jon Mould of JLT Condor. Second was Albert Torres of Raleigh GAC, with Ed Clancy of JLC Condor third.


The crowds were out in force and everyone was having a great time. This was the second year the event has been held and it was well organised. Hopefully there will be more events like this in the town.
Further Information:

Tour Series
North Lanarkshire Council