West Highlands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs
If any part of Scotland could claim to be where tourism began, then it is here that visitors crossed the Highland line more than two centuries ago in search of the picturesque - and found it in the Trossachs. The trip to the east bank of Loch Lomond, at lnversnaid, via the Trossachs is still a magnificent celebration of scenic Scotland - though, arguably, even better is to take to Loch Katrine on the SS Sir Walter Scott, which has sailed the loch for a century. Much of the area is now Scotland's first National Park and its gateway and orientation centre, Loch Lomond Shores, is at Balloch on the south end of Loch Lomond. Visit to discover the story of Scotland's largest inland body of water (by surface area). Walking, sailing, cruising, angling and lots more are popular ways of making the most of this loch straddling Highland and Lowland, and overlooked by the sentinel peak of Ben Lomond.
In warlike days, whoever held Stirling held all Scotland, so important was this natural route centre on the Highland edge. Its castle was a favourite of the Stuart monarchs, and few places can match Stirling Old Town for historic atmosphere. From the ramparts of the castle, the long scarp face of the Ochils can be seen, below which are the Hillfoots towns with their textile traditions (look out for mill shops). Also in view from this high vantage point is the town of Falkirk, worth visiting to see the engineering wonder of the Falkirk Wheel. This new attraction links two canals with the world's only revolving boat lift.
Turning back to the Highlands, the sea-lochs of the west shape Cowal, between Loch Long and Loch Fyne. The blue water and bright green oakwoods of summer are sparkling and vivid, a special West Highland quality of light. lnveraray is a good touring centre here, with its range of nearby attractions including lnveraray Castle, seat of the Campbell clan chief. Pre-dating even the Scottish clans, the ancient sites in Knapdale to the west hold endless fascination. Their story is told at the Kilmartin House Museum of Ancient Culture. Further north is the resort and ferry port of Oban, from where there are good links to the islands as well as day cruise options, making it easy to sample the Hebridean islands.
Thanks to the mild climate of the west, gardens are a speciality, with Crarae, south of Inveraray, Arduaine south of Oban and the magnificent Benmore Botanic Gardens near Dunoon just a few examples. And in a rugged, scenic area well accustomed to welcoming visitors, from east to west, there are also a good range of operators offering riding and trekking, bike hire, watersports equipment hire, as well as specialists in climbing and hillwalking.
Upcoming Events & Places to Visit
THE LODGE FOREST VISITOR CENTRE, nr Aberfoyle.
Check out their website for upcoming events...
WEST HIGHLAND YACHTING WEEK - 27th July -3rd August
Unlike many other events, West Highland Week encourages competitors to enter for individual races if they do not want to take part in the whole Series. Some choose to enter only for the passage races, or just one race – or even a feeder race before going off on a cruise. The regatta moves from place to place during the week, a week which will see yachts passing many miles of different coastline. They will see great numbers of islands, mountains, lochs, castles and wildlife, all providing a spectacular backdrop to the close and varied racing. The week will see yachts passing many miles of different coastline. They will see great numbers of islands, mountains, lochs, castles and wildlife, all providing a spectacular backdrop to the close and varied racing.
Cowal Highland Gathering is the world's most spectacular Highland gathering. Every year around 23,000 people come to the event to soak up the unique, friendly atmosphere and enjoy the spectacle. Cowal Highand Gathering is home to the World Highland Dancing Championships and competitors travel from all four corners of the globe to compete for the titles of Junior, Juvenile and Adult World Champion. And if that isn't enough there's the Ceilidh Tent, Top Field entertainment and lots and lots of children's entertainment. Friday night is party night at Cowal Highland Gathering with the Gig at the Gathering - four hours fabulous traditional music.
Other HIGHLAND GAME listings for this region...
Taynuilt Highland Games
Location: Taynuilt Sports Field
Events: Highland Dancing, Piping Events, Track and Field Events, Tossing the Caber, Stalls
Inveraray Highland Games
Location: Castle Grounds, Inveraray
Events: Running, Cycling, Heavy Weights, Solo Piping, Wrestling, Light Field, Highland Dance
Mull Highland Games
Location: Erray Park, Mull
Events: Heavy Weights, Light Field, Highland Dance
Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Highland Games
Events: Heavy Weights, Running, Solo Piping, Light Field, Highland Dance
Argyllshire Gathering (Oban) 23rd August 2018
Location: Mossfield Park, Argyllshire
Events: Running, Solo Piping, Light Field, Highland Dance
Sitting at the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Glen Finglas is a great expanse of ancient woodland, lochs and open heathland, and home to one of the best examples of upland wood pasture in Scotland. They have many wildlife events throughout the year, but 2018 dates have yet to be confirmed. We shall keep you updated!
QUEEN ELIZABETH FOREST PARK
Enjoy iconic views of sparkling lochs, wooded hills and rugged mountains, or take to the trails on foot, by bike or on horseback and discover the Forest Park’s magical atmosphere and wonderful wildlife.The Forest Park encompasses some of Scotland’s best-loved locations, from magnificent Loch Lomond, the rolling Trossachs hills and Loch Katrine to the craggy tops of Strathyre. It’s a feast for the eyes whatever the season and there’s so much to see and do – whether you want to just soak up the view, stroll or swing through the trees or take a steamship on a legendary loch.
LOCH LOMOND NATIONAL PARK
The National Park boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world. From breath-taking mountains and glens, to the vast tranquil beauty of the Lochs there is lots to see and do here. Stroll on the loch shore at sunset. Hike up a Munro before sunrise or why not cycle over the Duke’s Pass. Spend an afternoon fishing, bouldering, or horse riding – whatever your style, you’ll find something brilliant to do here. Visit their website for full information...
THE NATIONAL WALLACE MONUMENT, Stirling- open year round excluding Christmas & New Year
Over 700 years ago…
…tyranny and terror were the tools being used by England to rule Scotland. Occupied and oppressed, the Scottish nation sought a hero to challenge the cruelty of King Edward I. Someone to take the campaign for freedom into battle, and on to victory. When the two countries faced each other at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, Scotland was led to victory by a figure destined to become a national hero – William Wallace.
The Wallace monument is a national landmark, where visitors discover the life and legacy of the patriot and martyr Sir William Wallace. See Wallace’s legendary battle-sword - the centerpiece of the magnificent Hall of Heroes, and enjoy panoramic views from the Crown. A great day out whatever the weather.
Suggested Walks & Hikes