Loch Lomond…and The Drovers Inn

The Drovers Inn at Loch Lomond is situated at Inverarnan, by Ardlui. It’s a travel institution, world famous and a must for anyone visiting Loch Lomond or walking the West Highland Way. The Inn was built in 1705 and was used by the Highland drovers who would drive their cattle down the side of Loch Lomond to the markets. The decor and furniture, in deference to the past, look as though they have not been changed or altered for a couple of hundred years.

As you enter the reception hall you are faced by a full grown, stuffed grizzly bear, an assortment of other animals and the assured feeling that this place is going to stay in your consciousness for a long time to come…and it does. I can still remember walking into the bar and being served by an Australian in a full kilt, sporran, long white socks and tackety boots. Yep! an Australian, in fact most of the staff on that day where Aussies. It just seemed so funny, in the heart of Rob Roy country and I’m being served by an Australian. Still I suppose there is a connection (Drovers Inn = Sheep = Aussies). Have to say the food was excellent as was the beer that day……and no Fosters either.

After a good meal I decided to take a walk down to the river behind the Drovers Inn. To get there you have to climb a wooden fence but the photo opportunity is quite good and it’s a nice peaceful walk

In parts the river is quite deep, probably about 4-5 feet and the water was icy cold, however I could walk along the bank quite safely as there was a well defined path.

Within Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond is the UK’s largest freshwater expanse and one of its most picturesque. The Park extends into the Trossachs where you’ll find wild glens, sparkling lochs and the pretty towns of Callander and Aberfoyle, which are useful bases for walkers to this area. As a child I would visit Loch Lomond a lot with my father and have walked up Ben Lomond several times.

Ben Lomond, or in Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Laomainn,(‘Beacon Mountain) is 974 metres (3,196 ft) high. It has a distinctive shape and is situated on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, lying within the Ben Lomond National Memorial Park and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, property of the National Trust for Scotland.

Its accessibility from Glasgow and elsewhere in central Scotland, together with the relative ease of ascent from Rowardennan, makes it one of the most popular of all the Munros. On a clear day, it is visible from the higher grounds of Glasgow and eastwards across the low-lying central valley of Scotland; this may have led to it being named ‘Beacon Mountain’, as with the equally far-seen Lomond Hills in Fife. Ben Lomond summit can also be seen from Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Britain, over 70 miles (110 km) away. The West Highland Way runs along the western base of the mountain, by the loch. Ben Lomond’s popularity in Scotland has resulted in several namesakes in the former British colonies of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The mountain is mentioned directly in the popular folk song The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond or in Scottish Gaelic, Loch Laomainn) is a freshwater Scottish loch. It is the largest loch/lake in Great Britain, by surface area, and contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh water island in the British Isles. It is a popular leisure destination and is featured in the song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”.

The main arterial route along the loch is the A82 road which runs the length of its western shore. For a long time this was a notorious bottleneck, with the route clogged with tourists during the summer months. It was upgraded in the 1980s and 1990s, although the stretch north of Tarbet remains unimproved. It is the A82 that you need to take to reach the Drovers Inn.

Loch Lomond is cold most of the year but on a hot day a bit of a paddle on the shore-side is always welcome……..

…especially when you are a “hot-dog” with a thick coat.

On my travels along the shores of Loch Lomond I found this house situated just of the “Old Luss Road”. It was set in beautiful parkland but totally destroyed by fire and only the shell of the main building survives

Should you venture here be very careful. The insides are extremely dangerous and I wouldn’t trust walking on any surface inside the building, especially as they have been ravaged by fire

Walking through the grounds of this old house I came across some interesting out-buildings but once again I would be very careful. At one point I almost fell down an open drain/sewer. (842-617772)

There were several buildings like this dotted around the main house, all in the same state of disrepair. I did try and find out what had happened but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available.

Continuing back down to the lochside you can find Lomond Shores which opened its doors to the public in 2002. It is on the southern most tip of Loch Lomond, reached by taking the Balloch cut off on the A82. It is a shopping, food and visual complex, complete with a Jenners of Edinburgh store and a Thornton’s amongst other retailers. An aquariam has taken over the impressive Dumkinnon Tower building which resembles an ancient fort. There are a selection of restaurants and coffee shops at the Loch Lomond Shores Complex with views of the loch and nearby Ben Lomond. Apart from a number of big events that are advertised on the Loch Lomond Shores website, every second Sunday there is a Farmers Market along the promenade of the Loch Lomond Shores Complex and this is always very popular.

No visit to Loch Lomond would be complete without going to see the “Maid of the Loch”. Built by A&J Inglis of Pointhouse, Glasgow. She is by far the largest steamer to ever sail on the loch, so was erected at their yard on the Clyde, dismantled, and transported to Loch Lomond. She was re-assembled on the slipway at Balloch, launched on 5th March 1953, and entered service on 25th May that same year (also Queen Elizabeth II Coronation year and the year the Royal Yacht Britannia was launched.)

I’d like to leave you with a final look at Loch Lomond taken just as the sun was beginning to set on a reaonably still evening when I was bitten to glory by the infamous “Scottish Midgies”. C’mon guys I’m Scottish, you’re not supposed to be biting me…….

All HDR images created with SNS-HDR Pro

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