Inchcailloch – Loch Lomond

Went on a trip with the my friends from the Scottish Wildlife Trust today to Inchcailloch on Loch lomond.

The weather was lovely and quite warm and helped make it a day to remember. Thanks to Sheila and Robin who picked me up from Hyndland Station in Glasgow and drove me to Balmaha and saved me a trek there by public transport.


At Balmaha we met the other members of the group and took the ferry to the island. It was only a 6 minute journey and a nice and smooth one.

Inchcailloch Island from Balmaha
Inchcailloch Island from Balmaha


Inchcailloch is one of the larger islands on loch Lomond near Balmaha on the south of the Loch. The name  means “Isle of the old woman” or “Isle of the Coweled Woman” after Saint Kentigerna who came to Scotland from Ireland in 717AD to preach and spread Christianity.

The Pier is on the north of the island and we walked in an anti-clockwise direction round the island. The Bluebells were in bloom and covered large areas of the island.

‘Dung Beetles’

There were also large numbers of beetles on the footpath called ‘Dung Beetles’ which play an important role in agriculture. They bury and consuming dung, and as a result, they improve  soil structure. They also protect livestock by removing the dung which could provide a habitat for pests. On the island there are Fallow Deer and the Dung Beetles help protect them.

Dung Beetles
Dung Beetles

Inchcailloch Graveyard

There is a graveyard on the north of the Island and the remains of a church which was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St Kentigerna. Until the 18th Century, people from the mainland rowed across  for worship and to bury their dead.

‘Coffin Valley’

The church was abandoned in 1670 but the graveyard was used until 1947. The path leading to the graveyard was known as ‘Coffin Valley’ as the dead were carried here on their way to the graveyard.

Inchcailloch Graveyard
Inchcailloch Graveyard

The Graveyard was used by the Clan MacGregor and some of Rob Roy’s ancestors are buried there.

Old Farmhouse

To our left was Loch Lomond, but it were obscured by the trees. On the way to the beach at Port Bawn, on the south of the island, we passed the remains of an old farmhouse which was last inhabited in around 1770.

Remains of an Old Farmhouse
Remains of an Old Farmhouse

Industrial Revolution

In the late 18th Century the land was planted with oak trees for the production of Pyroligineous Acid which was used in industry to soften the leather belts used to drive machinery. Processing the oak bark was carried out at the Liquor Works, at Balmaha which is  now the Highland Way Inn.

Port Bawn

At Port Bawn we stopped on the beach for lunch. It was quite busy – the weather had got warmer and it was very pleasant. Walk leader, Ruth, brought some home made flapjacks, which were excellent. An Osprey was seen catching a fish in the Loch and taking it to feed its young.

Summit of Inchcailloch

We then proceeded to the highest point of the Island, at 85 meters, to get fabulous views of Ben Lomond, Bein Bhreac, BeinnDubh Conic Hill, Inchfad Island and Glen Luss. Some walkers could be seen on Conic Hill and there were many small sailing boats on the Loch.

View from Top of Inchcailloch
View from Top of Inchcailloch

Glen Luss can be seen to the left  in the photograph below.

Loch Lomond and Glen Luss
Loch Lomond and Glen Luss

The islands of Torrinch, Creinch and  Inchmurrin can be seen in the photograph below. Inchmurrin is the largest island on Loch lomond.

Islands of Torrinch, Creinch and  Inchmurrin
Islands of Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin

Conic Hill

Conic Hill is a sharp little summit rising above Balmaha. Right on the Highland Boundary Fault, this short hillwalk offers truly fantastic views over Loch Lomond and its many islands.

Conic Hill
Conic Hill

Birds and Plants

On the walk we saw a Tawney Owl, a Woodpecker, male and female Crossbills, Wood Warblers, Wren, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Canada Geese and Tree Pippit.  There were also some interesting flowers such as the Yellow Pimpernel, Bitter Watercress, Wood Sorrell and Climbing Corydalis.

Highland Boundary Fault

The Highland Boundary Fault is a strike-slip fault that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh on the west coast to Stonehaven in the east. It separates two distinctly different physiographic and geological terranes – the Highlands from the Lowlands.

‘Pudding Stone’

The loch islands of Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch, and Inchcailloch all form part of the Highland Boundary Fault. On Inchcailloch could be seen ‘pudding stone’ or conglomerate which was formed more than 400 million years ago when rivers flowed down from mountains and brought sand, silt and pebbles with it. These solidified to create ‘pudding stone’ or conglomerate.

Conglomerate or Pudding Stone
Conglomerate or Pudding Stone

A good example of conglomerate was seen on the path down towards the Pier at the end of our walk. The ferry came at 16.00 as agreed to take us back to Balmaha.

Ferry Home
Ferry to Balmaha

It had been a fabulous day out thanks to our leader Ruth and all the SWT members of the group who provided such interesting information about the island and its wildlife.

Further Information:
Scottish Wildlife Trust:

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

Balmaha Boatyard (MacFarlane & Son)

8 thoughts on “Inchcailloch – Loch Lomond

  1. Madhu May 21, 2012 / 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the tour Jane! We look forward to visiting Scotland someday!

    • janeslog May 21, 2012 / 6:59 pm

      If you do come you have to go to Loch Lomond.

  2. jmgoyder May 23, 2012 / 7:56 am

    I love the way your blog is so informative. My niece is getting married to a Scottish guy soon – in Scotland – I will find out where!

    • janeslog May 23, 2012 / 7:13 pm

      I will be covering in the next few months:

      – Carlisle
      – Inverness, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Culloden Moor
      – St Andrews
      – Smugglers caves at Culzean Castle
      – Lochleven Castle (where mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner)
      – Inchcolm Abbey and Island
      – Dunfermline Abbey and Palace (burial place of Kings and Queens of Scotland)
      – Linlithgow Palace (birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots)
      – Glencoe (site of a famous massacre)
      – Isle of Bute
      – Isle of Arran

      Castle, Lochleven Castle

  3. janeslog May 23, 2012 / 8:13 pm

    Scotland is not such a big place – not like Australia.

  4. Debbie May 25, 2012 / 9:42 am

    I love this! I was on the walk too and had a fabulous day. Thanks, Ruth, for arranging it all – and Jane for the great blog.

  5. Sartenada March 11, 2014 / 6:47 am

    So beautiful like Paradise and really wonderful photos! I give one link here to my favorite place in Finland:

    Koli national park.

    If You carefully the Lake Pielinen, You find that island on the lake have same direction – due to Ice Age.

    • janeslog March 11, 2014 / 7:04 am

      Both look very similar.

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