Loch Lomond (Balloch)

Blue is the colour of silence.

Loch Lomond is a large Scottish freshwater lake, which has traditionally represented the border between the Highlands and Lowlands of Central Scotland. It’s part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park and a protected area as such, so it’s a popular nature tourist spot. However, as I was living in Leeds in 2017 because of my studies, I visited Loch Lomond during the winter season in December and had it pretty much all to myself, along with some locals who were just out for a walk with their dogs.

Since Loch Lomond is one of the largest lakes in the UK and even has several islands, I chose to explore it from the southern shores. I took the train to Balloch, a small village which name literally translates to “a village on the loch”. It’s the perfect starting point for a walk around the lake or a lake cruise, because you can easily reach it by train from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, plus it also has a castle. P.S.: Here are some tips for travelling by train in the UK.

Impressions of Loch Lomond

Historically, Balloch was an important gateway for boats entering the lake in the 1800s and was also the stronghold of one of Scotland’s powerful medieval families, the Earls of Lennox. They built a castle on the lake shores there around 1238, but unfortunately nothing except a moat and a knoll remain from the original castle. However, there is now a fancy gothic-style mansion there that was built in 1808 and it’s worth walking up to for a closer look. It’s been closed for a while now, but you can still admire it from the outside and it sits right in the middle of the well maintained Balloch Castle Country Park.

Balloch castle

Naturally both castles were built on top of a small hill overlooking the lake, which means that the whole thing was one giant, frozen mudslide when I visited. That didn’t stop me though and the views of the lake were fantastic. It seems I’d chosen just the right day for it, because the sky went from misty to overcast and everything around me was silent and blue, interrupted only by the occasional dog barking or the many lake ducks flapping their wings and playing around. In fact, it was so peaceful I even saw a hare jumping around in the bushes and we had a silent staring contest for a while. The downside of visiting in winter though, is that not a lot of facilities were open, so after I finished with my chilly lake walk, I took the train back to Glasgow for a well deserved cream tea.

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