Luss Village and Church, by Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, West Scotland

Walking around the village of Luss by Loch Lomond last week, it was difficult to get photos of the houses but I managed to take the photo below of what I think is just about the cutest cottage in the village, peeking out from behind its hedge. It’s a shy one. Or maybe the owners fear that tourists might keek in the windows, it has been known elsewhere! Those elevated parts of the roofline above the windows are known in architectural circles as ‘cat slides’ for some reason and Jack and I live in hope of seeing an actual cat slide down one. These ones are very small and not like the usual cat slide dormers.

Cat Slide Cottage, Luss, Scotland

Walking a bit further along we reached the church which was shut, a bit of a shame but maybe it’s open at the height of the tourist season. There are a few images of the inside here.

Luss Church, Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

This Church of Scotland building dates from Victorian times but there has been a place of Christian worship at the site for over 1500 years, it was formerly dedicated to Saint Kessog and has some really ancient graves in it including this Viking hogback grave below dating from around 1200.

Viking hogback stone, Luss church, Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire
You can still see the decoration on it, I think it’s just designs rather than any letters or runes.
Viking hogback stone, grave, Luss, Loch Lomond

We had planned to walk over this wooden footbridge but as we got closer we realised it was all blocked off, apparently it’s dangerous at the moment. Anyway we walked past and onto a path which bypassed it and I managed to get a photo of the church steeple in reflection, if you look closely.
Loch Lomond, Bridge,Church

Loch Lomond Bridge, Luss

near Loch Lomond, Luss, Scotland, trees

Then on back around to the village again.

Luss, from Loch Lomond,

One of the cottages is being re-roofed, not before time as it looked fairly derelict otherwise.

Luss, Loch Lomond, cottages,

I imagine that although these houses must be really quite small inside they won’t be at all cheap to buy, at least there’s no danger of anyone building in front of you and spoiling your view.
From Loch Lomond, cottages, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Loch Lomond panorama, Scotland

Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, West Scotland

Below is a stitch of a couple of photos that I took of Loch Lomond from the wooden pier at the wee village of Luss last Wednesday morning. You can see more images of Luss here. I didn’t take any photos of the houses as there were so many parked cars in the streets. The village was built by a Colquhoun to house the workers at his nearby slate quarry.

Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond panorama

The snow covered mountain that can just be seen to the left centre of the photo below is Ben Lomond, which is a ‘Munro’ meaning it’s over 3,000 feet high. It must be the most climbed mountain in Scotland, it’s an easy one to get up although as ever, if you aren’t wearing decent footwear and you aren’t properly clothed it can still be dangerous as the weather can change very quickly. I believe that some years ago a 12 year old German boy died of hypothermia on Ben Lomond, in July!

Loch Lomond, Luss, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Loch Lomond is an idyllic place but in the summer months it can be very busy with tourists as it’s such a short distance from Glasgow, this area is often called Glasgow’s playground. When I was growing up I was lucky enough to live within a few miles of the loch so it was an easy walk in good weather anyway. But this part of Scotland is still incredibly well served with local transport links – buses and trains are very frequent. I took this completely for granted as a youngster and only realised how unusual it was when I moved away and discovered that some towns only have one bus a week – and to nowhere that you would want to go – what a shock that was!
Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

There are a lot of small islands dotted around the loch. In the summer visitors are sometimes tempted to swim out to them, probably not realising that they are further away than they thought – not all of them make it there!

Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

One of the islands – Inchconnachan – is home to a population of wallabies, you can read about them here. They were introduced there in the 1940s and are controversial now as they are a non-native species and apparently are a threat to the native capercaillies.

Loch Lomond panorama, Scotland

Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond

One day last week we had to drive over to my beloved west of Scotland, it’s only around 70 miles away but it’s very different from the east coast. Below is a photo of Ben Lomond, I don’t remember ever seeing it with so much snow on it before.
Snow on Ben Lomond

There was still plenty of snow piled at the side of the roads on the way there, but by the time we got to central Scotland, the Stirling area – it had disappeared. We couldn’t resist stopping at Loch Lomond to take this photo of Ben Lomond capped with snow. I was brought up just a few miles away from here and in the summertime, in the days when we actually used to have decent summer weather, I used to walk here to visit my older married sister who lived nearby.

In Scotland the largest hill in any area is called ‘ben’ and locally that one will always just be known as ‘the ben’.

Snow on  Ben Lomond

We drove onward to Arrochar and Tarbet where what had been a gorgeous day turned briefly quite grim with rain, so no photos were taken but you can see some images of the area here.

I took the photo below of Loch Long whilst we were driving along, it reminds me of the Norwegian fjords with those layers of mountains in the background.

Loch Long
Then we drove over to Rhu and Helensburgh by a very skinny road which twists and turns and has ups and downs reminiscent of a big dipper ride. We breathed in at times whenever a 4×4 was coming from the other direction. You can see images of Rhu and Helensburgh here.

It’s a pity there are so many trees lining the loch as it can be quite difficult to get a glimpse of it at times.
Loch Long

The only place that you can stop is when you reach the Ministry of Defence area, where my dad used to work in fact, straight ahead it’s a blot on the landscape, all military metal, nuclear nonsense and razor wire, but looking back up Loch Long it does feel very Nordic.

Loch Long

Loch Long

A walk around Helensburgh and coffee at The Sugar Boat ended a perfect day out.

Loch Lomond, Scotland

Last Saturday, believe it or not, it was the start of the Scottish football season, so we drove over to the west of Scotland, to Dumbarton in fact, so that Jack could see his beloved team get beaten!

It was one of those April showers days so I ended up staying in the car and reading, rather than go for a walk around the town. I must admit that some chocolate did pass my lips!

Anyway, on the way back to the east we went via nearby Loch Lomond, it’s just a couple of miles from Dumbarton. This is a photo taken from Loch Lomond Shores which is a shopping centre which has been plonked on the edge of the beautiful loch. In the good old days before there was any such dastardly thought of turning Loch Lomond into a National Park, there would have been no possibilty of such a blot on the landscape being given planning permission. I’ve spared you a view of the shopping centre.

Ben Lomond

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never been up ‘The Ben’ as it’s known locally, and I was brought up just a couple of miles from Ben Lomond. Apparently it’s quite an easy walk, in good weather anyway.

BenLomond and Loch Lomond

The paddle steamer is the good old Maid of the Loch, I often went for a trip ‘doon the watter’ on her when I was a wee girl. She has recently been refurbished and now chuggs around the loch instead of up and down the River Clyde.

The Maid of the Loch

This is a display of whisky which is in the Valvonna and Crolla shop at Lomond Shores, just in case anyone is interested in whisky or indeed V and C which if you read Alexander McCall Smith books you will know well. He’s forever mentioning those shops for some reason.
a whisky display

I heard someone on the TV during the week say that Loch Lomond had been given National Park status to promote business and development in the area. That’s exactly the opposite of what National Parks are supposed to do. John Muir started them so that places of beauty and scientific interest would be protected from the ravages of big business, he must be birlin’ in his grave at what is being done in his name. And no – we didn’t buy anything in the shops!

I’ll end with another view of the loch, this is just a wee part of Loch Lomond, there are lots of islands in it which can’t be seen from here. You can read about it here.

Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond, Scotland

Loch Lomond – the theme park?!!

I was listening to the Scottish news a few nights ago and found myself cursing when Jackie Bird said that there would be a report on plans for a theme park on the banks of Loch Lomond. Oh for the good old days when everything was controlled by the local council which ensured that the whole area remained unspoiled.

I suppose it did mean that there wasn’t much for tourists to spend their money on when they got there but I don’t think that’s a bad thing when you think of the tourist tat that most similar attractions are selling. After all the best things in life are free. The scenery,wildlife and atmosphere is the main attraction. It doesn’t exist when you stick blots on the landscape in the shape of massive man-made constructions.

When Loch Lomond was made a ‘national park’ some years ago I knew it spelled a death sentence to the place that I grew up with. Sure enough, what had been a completely unspoiled place due mainly to the fact that the local council refused planning permission for most things, has sprouted shopping centres and golf courses and is quickly losing its special charm.

It’s not what I call progress. The theme park which is being planned for Balmaha is a nightmarish thought and I really hope that it doesn’t come to fruition. But money talks so I suppose it’s a done deal already. It’s sacrilege!

If you want to read more about it have a look here.

Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond

I was doing the ironing on Sunday afternoon which is the thing that I hate most housework wise, so I always have to have the TV on to try to ease the boredom of it all.

It was golf. The end of the Scottish Open to be precise which took place at Loch Lomond Golf Club. The best thing about it was the scenery, they showed some lovely views of Loch Lomond and as I was brought up within walking distance of the place, it didn’t half make me feel homesick.

So when we went to Glasgow the other day we just had to travel back to Fife via Dumbarton and Stirling, stopping off at Balloch on the way.

The place was empty of people even although it was a beautiful evening but I suppose if you have that on your doorstep you do take it for granted – I know I did. It was only 7 o’clock with hours of daylight still left, but nowhere was open to hire a boat or anything – strange.

I must admit it did look even better on TV, this is just a teeny wee bit of the loch with the mountain of Ben Lomond in the background.

There are plenty photographs of Loch Lomond here.