‘Rich history and captivating views bring Loch Lomond to life’

April 6, 2017

REMOTE ACCESS: This is the view of the Inversnaid Hotel from Inverglas and apart from the single-track record from the back via Aberfoyle, can only be accessed by boat.

GOAT HEAVEN: These two feral goats are local celebrities who graze the woodland at the back of the Inversnaid. In honour of a well-known Dorset celebrity, they were given the temporary names of Billy and Bragg.

GUSHING TORRENTS: The Arklet Falls lay behind the Inversnaid Hotel. The water flows down from Loch Arklet and falls into Loch Lomond via this waterfall and is spanned by a footbridge.

BOATING VENUE: Loch Lomond boasts a length of 24 miles, a depth at its deepest of 190 metres and a width of five miles at its widest. Pleasure cruisers, windsurfers, canoeists, kayakers, speedboats and jetskis enjoy its space.

HOTEL JETTY: This is the jetty used by the Loch Lomond Cruiser boats to drop off visitors and patrons of the hotel from Inverglas.

 

TWO friends and myself joined a group of fellow travellers from Dorset and West Hampshire to view the lochs and glens of central Scotland and the Highlands.

Lochs and Glens Holidays picked us up early on a breezy Friday morning, and 11 hours later via four stops on a coach, we arrived on the shores of mainland Britain’s biggest stretch of fresh water, Loch Lomond, at our base, the Inversnaid Hotel.

The loch is part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park established in 2002 and is 24 miles (39 km) long and varies between three quarters of a mile and five miles in width. Its depth varies from an average depth of 37 metres (121 feet) to a maximum of 190 metres (620 ft).

The loch straddles the three rural boroughs of Stirling, Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire and its southern shores are 14 miles north of Glasgow’s shores.

The loch is a premier watersports and boating venue and draws many people from across Scotland, northern England and beyond and whilst there are many periods of quietness and stillness on the water, ripples are generated by every kind of watercraft including the local water passenger boat service between access points on the loch – kayaks, canoes, pleasure cruisers, speedboats and windsurfers.

The loch has thirty islands of different sizes across its stretch and they were once described by the writer H V Morton as “those beautiful, tangled green islands that lie like jewels upon its surface”.

The Inversnaid Hotel is just about the remotest place I have stayed in. The current building was commissioned by the Duke of Montrose in 1820 and its original use was a hunting lodge but it quickly became a hotel when tourism started to boom for the area.

It is located on the north-eastern banks and it is very remote, only accessible by a single track road via Aberfoyle that is barely the width of a 50-seater coach but manageable through various passing places for vehicles large and small to pass each other.

The hotel has a jetty from where the local cruise boats take passengers over to Inverglas where it is more populated and where the main trunk road along the loch lies.

Inversnaid hosted clan warfare, Jacobite rebellions and Highland clearances and one of the most famous locals was Rob Roy MacGregor, who was brought to the big screen in his characerture by Liam Neeson in the 1995 film Rob Roy.

In the film it tells the story of how McGregor, a respected cattleman and clansman, is shafted by his chief drover, a Macdonald, after taking a £1,000 loan from the Duke of Montrose to buy more stock when the drover absconds with his money. McGregor becomes the fall guy and then the outlaw, and brings restorative justice to his enemies, including the Duke.

After the family’s home is burnt down, legend has that the family took refuge in the “Rob Roy’s Cave” that lies along from the shore.

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