On the border of the lowlands and the highlands in Scotland, there’s a lovely place called Loch Lomond.
First things first: Loch is simply a Scots Gaelic word that means lake. However, I’ve been informed that there are no lakes in Scotland; there are roughly 31,000 lochs (although one has been renamed as a lake, but that was mostly to piss someone off). Most Americans will pronounce that word as lock, but I’ve also been informed that the correct pronunciation is with a hard, phlegmatic h sound: loH. According to my source, if you spit on the person in front of you, you pronounced it correctly.
One of the most famous of those roughly 31,000 lochs is Loch Lomond, with its bonnie, bonnie banks. If you know anything about Scotland and Scottish culture, you’ve probably heard of the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. If you haven’t, click here to hear a song about them.
Loch Lomond is a Scottish favorite for a day trip or a picnic, and it’s easy to see why. Around the loch, there are plenty of places to go walking, including some easy to moderate hikes (for those of you like me who like to say they climb mountains over the weekend, but really like to climb up three steps into the ice cream parlor). There are also lots of places to sit and picnic, take in the view, and soak up the sun if you’re lucky enough to see the elusive thing that is a Scottish sun. If you’d prefer to be on the loch, there are marinas and rent-a-boat houses all along its 24-miles.
If you’re more of an islands type of person, you’re in luck! There are at least 30 of them in Loch Lomond. One of those islands, Inchconnachan, is home to a colony of wallabies, which were given as a gift to one of the royals here in Scotland, who didn’t know exactly what to do with them. To be honest, they still don’t know quite what to do with the wallabies, but they’re cute, so they keep them around.
We visited Loch Lomond via the little town of Balmaha, which sits on the banks of Loch Lomond just south of Ben Lomond (ben is the Scots Gaelic word for mountain). There, we climbed up one of the smaller mountains for some great views – we happened to visit on one of those rare, sunny Scottish summer days. On ground level, there’s a nature center, which has an exhibit about the topography and wildlife of the Loch Lomond area. There, you can learn all about the ice age that created the lochs and the bens, how the loch sits on a fault line, which animals to look out for, and that wallabies are not indigenous to Inchconnachan.
The combination of the sun and the loch and the mountains is an invigorating one. Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better spot for a nice day out. Resigned indeed we were when we departed.