The loch may not have a monster like its Highland counterparts, but it is huge. At 24 miles long and up to five miles wide, Loch Lomond is the largest loch in Scotland and is located in Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It is home to 200 species of birds and more than a quarter of British plant species can be found there. The loch straddles the Highland Boundary Fault, where pastoral lowland vistas meet the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands with swathes of green, craggy hillside. The Boundary can be viewed from the summit of Conic Hill, acces-sible via a moderate climb from Balmaha, on the loch’s eastern shore. If the climb doesn’t take your breath away, the view will – weather permitting. For the energetic, Ben Lomond, the most southern of the Munroes, all 3,195 feet of it, is a thigh-aching climb up a mountain which proudly guards the waters beneath.
Balmaha provides respite for those walking The West Highland Way , offering a pub lunch pit-stop and a shop to replenish supplies. Nature lovers can follow the Balmaha Millennium Forest Trail, drop in to the visitor centre and learn about the area. Boats can be hired for a day’s fishing for trout and salmon or the numerous species of coarse fish found in the loch. The Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association issues permits and manages the loch’s fishery. Boat trips are also available, with a ferry to Inverbeg operating during summer.
Six miles further along the Balmaha road (B837) comes to and end at Rowardennan, where you can stay at the hotel , youth hostel or campsite. All enjoy quiet seclusion and have the attraction of the nearby Queen Elizabeth Forest Park .
The west shore is in contrast more developed, and attracts golfers, shoppers and tourists in number. The Barclay’s Scottish Open is a mid-July highlight for golf fans; the course at Loch Lomond Golf Club was voted ‘Best Inland Course’ by Golf World. Loch Lomond Shores is found in Balloch , offering lochside shopping and an aquarium . And for those seeking an opulent getaway, Cameron House Hotel , an 18th century building with its own golf course, is a suitably indulgent retreat.
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