Loch Lomond sits at the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This beautiful 24-mile long loch is famed world-wide for its ‘bonnie, bonnie banks’, but it’s also home to 37 very bonnie islands and islets. Indeed English travel writer, H.V. Morton wrote: ‘What a large part of Loch Lomond's beauty is due to its islands, those beautiful green tangled islands, that lie like jewels upon its surface.’ They don’t just look good; they’re fascinating places to visit too, with history, wildlife and walks galore. Here are five things you might not know about the many islands of Loch Lomond.
A fabulous fault
Just 30 miles from Glasgow, Loch Lomond marks the first rise of the Highland. The line of the great Highland Boundary Fault, which divides the Highlands from the Lowlands, runs in a south-westerly direction through the islands of Inchcailloch, Torrinch, Creinch, Inchmurrin in Loch Lomond.
Wade between two islands
The ‘Geggles’ is a narrow and shallow strait between the islands of Inchcruin and Inchmoan. Loch Lomond can fluctuate in depth by up to 2 metres and at times of low water you can cross this strait on foot. These two islands form part of a beautiful archipelago in the central part of Loch Lomond. Inchcruin has a lovely peninsula covered in Scots pines. Inchmoan is known for its large sandy beaches, and is great spot for a picnic.
Island of the Yew Trees
Inchlonaig is the most northerly of the larger islands in the Loch Lomond and one of the most picturesque. This tranquil place is steeped in history. It’s said that Robert the Bruce ordered the planting of yew trees here as their wood was used for bow making, most notably at the Battle of Bannockburn. Today, yews dominate and the island is home to the only yew woodland of any extent in Scotland. The island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to this remarkable woodland habitat. If you’re looking for an island escape, try the fabulous small campsite on Inchlonaig.
Back to nature
Inchmurrin is another lovely Loch Lomond island, easily accessible by ferry from Arden or during the summer by a Waterbus service from Loch Lomond Shores. It’s the UK’s largest freshwater loch island. It was once the private deer park of the Dukes of Montrose and a ruined castle of the Earls of Lennox is located at its southern end of the island. The island is also home to The Scottish Outdoor Club, Scotland’s oldest nudist club which was founded back in 1938.
While you’re out and about exploring the islands of Loch Lomond, keep an eye out Loch Lomond’s fallow deer, some of which have striking white coats. They regularly swim out to the larger heavily-wooded islands at the south end of Loch Lomond. There have even been reports of small herds swimming together from island to island!
How to get to the island
Hop on board a waterbus to discover the villages, islands and beauty spots of Loch Lomond. A number of operators offer scheduled waterbus services, with routes to the Loch Lomond islands, Balloch, Luss, Inversnaid, Balmaha, Rowardennan and more. You can also experience the magic of Loch Lomond’s islands with a tailored cruise. Cruise Loch Lomond and Sweeney’s Cruise Co offer a number of cruises and excursions.