The Main Street in Balmaha
|Balmaha shown within the Stirling council area|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
The village is a popular tourist destination for picnickers and day trippers from Glasgow as well as walkers on the West Highland Way. Boat trips leave from Balmaha for the town of Balloch and the village of Luss as well as nearby Inchcailloch Island.
The name Balmaha derives from the Gaelic Bealach Mo-Cha, 'the pass of Saint Mo-Cha'. The pass referred to is now named The Pass of Balmaha, a narrow route between hills at the north end of the village, carrying the road north along Loch Lomond. The saint referred to is Kentigerna, patron saint of the parish who was culted especially on the nearby island of Inchcailloch ('Island of Nuns'). Mo-Cha is a 'hypocoristic' form of her name, a sort of devotional nickname, common in medieval Gaelic and Welsh use. She is also commemorated in a well in the hills above the village, St Maha's Well.
The village has a visitor centre for the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. It also has a restaurant and Bed and Breakfast, the Oak Tree Inn, a bar and a shop. It is also the home of St Mocha coffee shop and ice cream parlour selling homemade ice cream, loose leaf teas and locally roasted coffee all perfectly crafted by none other than the famous 'Begonna'. Further along the road is Milarrochy Bay.
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