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

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Bluebells

When I was golfing last weekend I noticed some bluebells growing in the woodland adjacent to the course. As it was not very considerate to start taking photographs during a round of golf, I decided to go back at a later time to capture these lovely woodland flowers.

Bluebells are an indication of ancient woodland and are commonly found in many areas of the UK. They are protected in the UK under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Below are some photographs of these lovely flowers. More images can be seen here.

White bluebell
Close-up of a bluebell
Wild Garlic
Bluebells
Bluebells

Some bluebells lack the blue pigment and are white in colour as can be seen above. There only a few of the white ones in the wood.

The white flowers above are Wild garlic. This has a strong odour but is a lovely flower and it can also be used in cooking. I have not tried it but some of my friends who love cooking tell me it adds flavour to many dishes.

Unexpected Visitors on the Golf Course

On my way back I walked through the golf course and was surprised to meet two women dressed all in black with niqab headwear walking on the fairway. I got a bit of a shock as it was quite an unexpected occurrence to see Muslim women on a golf course. 

They told me they were looking for the River Clyde and Strathclyde Park. I had to escort them off the course as they were in danger of being hit by golf balls and take them to the path which led to the river. They were very friendly and told me they had recently moved from Bangladesh.

I gave then some information about the area and pointed out some areas of interest before leaving them to enjoy the River Clyde and Strathclyde Park. 

It had been an eventful day! 

Milngavie Circular Cycle Ride

With Spring arriving the weather has been much warmer and drier and this has allowed me to travel further on the bike. I recently cycled on a circular route from Milngavie which took me up the Crow Road to Fintry then on to Killearn and back to Milngavie. The distance was 39 miles.

As Milngavie is quite a distance from my house I travelled by train to the start. The friends I was going to be travelling with were boarding the train at Partick station in Glasgow.

The weather was nice and sunny, if a little chilly. We were going to travel in an anti-clockwise direction  from Milngavie to Torrance and then take the Campsie Road to Lennoxtown. This part of the ride was fairly flat. On leaving Milngavie, we passed Murray Park, the training ground of Rangers Football Club. As it could be viewed from the roadside, I took a photograph of it.

Murray Park

 Campsie Hills

At the end of this road was a roundabout and we took the left turn onto Balmore Road. Shortly afterwards we arrived at the turn-off to Torrance and very soon the Campsie Fells could be seen in the distance. 

The flattish roads were soon going to give way to the steep climb of the Crow Road. To get an idea of the gradient, think of a Pyrenean climb in Tour de France. It is such a steep hill.

Crow Road

Arriving in Lennoxtown, we took the turning onto the Crow Road. The climb starts off quite gently before unleashing a torturous climb to the top. Not only is it extremely steep, it also seems to go on forever. Shortly after starting the climb, a car park comes into view and this is usually the place where hill walkers begin their walk over the Campsie Fells.

View from the Car Park
Crow Road from the Car Park

It is at this point many riders start to think that the worst of the climb is over, but they soon find out that the summit is still a long way off. 

Jamie Wright’s Well

On Ordnance Survey maps there is mention of Jamie Wright’s Well. On dragging myself up the hill, I spotted the well and as it was on a flattish part of the hill, I stopped to take a photograph.

Jamie Wright’s Well

The well also has a tribute to James MacKintosh Slimmon (1865-1898) and his verses about the water at the well are inscribed on the front of it. As the water looked a bit dodgy, we refrained from filling our water bottles from it.

The small break to take the photograph of the well seemed to give me a ‘wings’ as I was able to climb to the top with less effort than at the start.

Fintry

At the top it was a nice descent to Fintry. The road surface on the descent, however, was dreadful – it looked like the council had thrown asphalt on the road and left the passing cars to flatten it as best they could. It was a bit dangerous and some care had to be taken to avoid a high speed crash.

At Fintry we stopped to view Fintry Kirk. The original church was built in 1642 and the present one in 1823. Its windows are amongst the finest in Scotland and includes a First World War Memorial window. It also has one of only two cantilever staircases in the area. The bell was transferred from the original church to the new one and is still in use today.

Fintry Kirk

The road surface on the next part of the journey to Killearn was also in a dreadful state, which meant we spent quite a lot of time keeping an eye on it rather than on the beautiful scenery. In the distance could be seen a snow-covered Ben Lomond.

View from the road from Fintry to Killearn 

Killearn

Arriving at Killearn, there were a number of bicycles parked outside the various cafes. We stopped at a one for a cup of tea and a cake and consumed them outside in the Spring sunshine, which was pleasantly warm.

After our refreshment stop, we were going to embark on the final leg of the ride to Milngavie. However, it was not going to be a mad dash to the finish – we were going to stop at Glengoyne Distillery to look at the waterfall which carries the water from the hills to the distillery and at loch Ardinning. 

Glengoyne Distillery

Glengoyne has been described as Scotland’s most beautiful distillery due to it being situated under Dumgoyne Hill.

Glengoyne Distillery
Dumgoyne Hill

The distillery is unique in that it is classed as a Highland Malt despite being matured in the Lowlands. This is because the Highland Line, dividing the Highlands from the Lowlands, is located on the A81, which divides the main buildings of the distillery.

Waterfall at Glengoyne Distillery

The waterfall above is located behind the main distilling area. It is a nice area to visit, with seating for visitors.

Water carrier at Glengoyne

Loch Ardinning

After viewing the waterfall at Glengoyne, we continued on the journey back to Milngavie. We were going to make one more detour to Loch Ardinning. This is a nature reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.The reserve is a mixture of wetland, woodland, grassland and moorland. There were some good paths around the reserve which were smooth enough to cycle on with road tyres.

Loch Ardinning

The reserve was quite busy and we decided to visit it in the summer when the loch comes alive with invertebrates and flowers.

After leaving Loch Ardinning, it was a short cycle back to Milngavie station to catch the train home. It had been a great day out.

Further Information

Milngavie has a regular train service from the Glasgow and the surrounding area. There is space on the trains for transporting bicycles.