Loch Lomond

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Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond, looking south from Ben Lomond.jpg
Loch Lomond, looking south from Ben Lomond
Loch Lomond is located in Scotland
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Location West Dunbartonshire/Argyll and Bute/Stirling, Scotland
Coordinates 56°05′N 4°34′W / 56.083°N 4.567°W / 56.083; -4.567Coordinates: 56°05′N 4°34′W / 56.083°N 4.567°W / 56.083; -4.567
Type freshwater loch, ribbon lake, dimictic
Primary inflows Endrick Water, Fruin Water, River Falloch
Primary outflows River Leven
Catchment area 696 km2 (269 sq mi)
Basin countries Scotland
Max. length 24 mi (39 km)
Max. width 5 mi (8.0 km)
Surface area 27 sq mi (70 km2)
Average depth 121 ft (37 m)
Max. depth 620 ft (190 m)
Water volume 0.62 cu mi (2.6 km3)
Residence time 1.9 years
Surface elevation 25 ft (7.6 m)
Frozen Last partial freezing: 2010[1]
Last complete freezing:
Islands 60 (Inchcailloch, Inchmurrin, Inchfad)
Sections/sub-basins north basin, south basin
Settlements Balloch, Ardlui, Balmaha, Luss, Rowardennan, Tarbet
Designated 5 January 1976

Loch Lomond (/ˈlɒx ˈlmənd/; Scottish Gaelic: Loch Laomainn) is a freshwater Scottish loch which crosses the Highland Boundary Fault. It is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area.[2] The loch contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles.[3] Loch Lomond is a popular leisure destination and is featured in the song "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond". The Loch is now part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park which was established in 2002. There are also two (United Kingdom) National Nature Reserves within the National Park: Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve and The Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve. The former is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), and the latter by a partnership of the Forestry Commission Scotland, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Woodland Trust (Scotland). Loch Lomond is a corruption of the Gaelic Lac Leaman, or 'Lake of the Elms'.[4]


Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch lying on the Highland Boundary Fault, often considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. It is 24 miles (39 km) long and between 34 and 5 miles (1.2–8.0 km) wide. It has an average depth of about 121 feet (37 m), and a maximum depth of about 620 feet (190 m). Its surface area is 27 sq mi (70 km2), and it has a volume of 0.62 cu mi (2.6 km3). Of all the lochs and lakes in Great Britain, it is the largest by surface area and the second largest (after Loch Ness) by water volume.[5] Within the United Kingdom, it is surpassed only by Lough Neagh and Lough Erne in Northern Ireland[6] and regarding the British Isles as a whole, there are also several larger loughs in the Republic of Ireland.

Traditionally a boundary between Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire, Loch Lomond is currently split between the council areas of Stirling, Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire. Its southern shores are about 14 miles (23 km) north of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city.

Loch Lomond is now part of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Ben Lomond is on the eastern shore: 3,195 feet (974 m) in height and the most southerly of the Scottish Munro peaks. A 2005 poll of Radio Times readers voted Loch Lomond as the sixth greatest natural wonder in Britain.[7]

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. Notable buildings along the shore include Cameron House.


From the summit of the island of Inchcailloch to Torrinch, Creinch, Inchmurrin and Ben Bowie

The loch contains thirty or more other islands,[8][Note 1] depending on the water level. Several of them are large by the standards of British bodies of freshwater. Inchmurrin, for example, is the largest island in a body of freshwater in the British Isles.[3] As in Loch Tay, several of the islands appear to be crannogs, artificial islands built in prehistoric periods.

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.[14]

One of the loch's islands, Inchconnachan, is home to a colony of wallabies.[15]

Leisure activities[edit]

Loch Lomond Golf Club is situated on the south-western shore. It has hosted many international events including the Scottish Open. Another golf club, "The Carrick" has opened on the banks of the Loch adjacent to the Loch Lomond Club.[16] The West Highland Way runs along the eastern bank of the loch. West Loch Lomond Cycle Path runs from Arrochar and Tarbet railway station, at the upper end of the loch, to Balloch railway station, at the south end. The 17-mile-long (28 km) long cycle path runs along the west bank.

At the south end of the loch near Balloch is a large visitor and shopping complex named Loch Lomond Shores. This was the venue for the Great Scottish Swim in 2013.

Boating and watersports[edit]

Loch Lomond is one of Scotland's premier boating and watersports venues and the scenery draws people from all over Scotland and beyond. The loch is open to every kind of watercraft including kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, jet skis, speedboats and cruisers and they are all very well represented. Loch Lomond Rescue Boat provides 24-hour safety cover on the loch. The Rescue Boat is a Volunteer Organisation and a Registered Charity. The National Park Authority also have other boats on the Loch such as The Brigadier. Police Scotland also operates on the Loch using RIBs and Jet Skis and work in conjunction with the National Park Authority.

Maid of the Loch at Balloch pier

The National Park Authority has tried to achieve a balance between land-based tourists and loch users, with environmentally sensitive areas subject to a strictly enforced 10 km/h (5.4 kn; 6.2 mph) speed limit, but the rest of the loch open to speeds of up to 90 km/h (49 kn; 56 mph).

Other leisure activities on the loch include cruises from the town of Balloch, operated by Sweeney's Cruises.[17]

The Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer built in Britain. Built on the Clyde in 1953, she operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years. She is now being restored at Balloch pier by the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, a charitable organisation, supported by West Dunbartonshire Council.[18]

Guided canoeing and canoe hire is available through some small companies such as SD Adventures[19]

Air crash[edit]

Map of the loch c. 1800

On 22 April 1940, a BOAC Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra (Loch Invar, registration G-AFKD) aircraft flying from Perth Airport to Heston Aerodrome in London crashed at Loch Lomond, killing all five passengers and crew.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

Loch Lomond from just below Beinn Dubh and Creag an t-Seilich

The song[edit]

The loch is featured in a well-known song which was first published around 1841.[21] The chorus is:

Oh, ye'll tak the high road, and I'll tak the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

The song has been recorded by many performers over the years, including jazz singer Maxine Sullivan, the Mudmen and Scottish-Canadian punk band the Real McKenzies.[citation needed] The original author is unknown. One story is that the song was written by a Scottish soldier who awaited death in enemy captivity; in his final letter home, he wrote this song, portraying his home and how much he would miss it. Another tale is that during the Jacobite rising of 1745 a soldier on his way back to Scotland during the 1745–46 retreat from England wrote this song. The "low road" may be a reference to the Celtic belief that if someone died away from his homeland, then the fairies would provide a route of this name for his soul to return home.[22] Within this theory, it is possible that the soldier awaiting death may have been writing either to a friend who was allowed to live and return home, or to a lover back in Scotland.


Loch Lomond, looking west from Ben Lomond
  • Loch Lomond (like Loch Ness) is often used as a shorthand for all things Scottish, an image partly reinforced by the eponymous song. An archetype is the Lerner and Loewe musical Brigadoon. The opening lyrics of the song "Almost Like Being in Love" are: "Maybe the sun gave me the power/For I could swim Loch Lomond and be home in half an hour/Maybe the air gave me the drive/For I'm all aglow and alive!"
  • It is mentioned in the song "You're All the World to Me" from the musical film Royal Wedding in the line: "You're Loch Lomond when autumn is the painter!"
  • The village of Luss ("Glendarroch") on the shores of the loch was the location for the TV soap Take the High Road, and the loch itself was given the fictional name Loch Darroch for the purpose of the series. Luss ("Lios") and the islands nearby were used as the setting for E. J. Oxenham's first book, Goblin Island, published in 1907.[23]
  • Loch Lomond is also the brand name of the Scotch whisky drunk by Captain Haddock in Hergé's comic book series The Adventures of Tintin. A non-fictional whisky by the same name is produced at the Loch Lomond distillery.
  • Loch Lomond is the opening track on guitarist Steve Hackett's 2011 album Beyond the Shrouded Horizon.
  • In The Three Stooges episode "Pardon My Scotch" a gentleman asks 'Are you laddies by any chance from Loch Lomond?', whereupon Curly replies 'No we're from lock jaw'.
  • One of the road signs in the Merrie Melodies short "My Bunny Lies over the Sea" points to Loch Lomond.
  • Spike Milligan created an episode of The Goon Show entitled The Treasure of Loch Lomond. The main character, Neddie Seagoon, discovers he has Scottish heritage and travels to Scotland to claim a fortune owned by his uncle, who discovered a galleon full of treasure at the bottom of the loch.
  • In the Mel Brooks film Spaceballs, the character "Snotty" delivers the line "Lock one... lock two... lock three... Loch Lomond..." while locking transporters onto "President Skroob".
  • In Santa Cruz County, California, United States lies Loch Lomond, a small body of water named after Loch Lomond in Scotland. Near Loch Lomond, California is Ben Lomond which was named by Scot John Burns in 1851.
  • Loch Lomond features as the backdrop for a song sequence in the 1998 Bollywood film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.[24][25]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Some of the islets in Loch Lomond may only appear when the water levels are low[9][10] and although many sources provide a figure of up to sixty islands[11] this may derive from a poetic 9th century description. Other sources suggest a total of 30 or 38 islands.[12][13]
  1. ^ https://davidrmitchell.photoshelter.com/gallery/Loch-Lomond-iced-over/G0000bY.qnV3sZc4/
  2. ^ Peter Matthews, ed. (1994). The Guinness Book of Records 1995. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 17. ISBN 0-85112-736-3. 
  3. ^ a b Worsley, Harry (1988). Loch Lomond: The Loch, the Lairds and the Legends. Glasgow: Lindsay Publications. ISBN 978-1-898169-34-5. 
  4. ^ Richens, R. J. (1984) Elm, Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ "Scotland’s Water Environment Review 2000–2006"[dead link] SEPA. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  6. ^ Whitaker's Almanack (1991) London. J. Whitaker and Sons. p. 127.
  7. ^ "Caves win 'natural wonder' vote" BBC.co.uk Retrieved 10 December 2006.
  8. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands – Inchmurrin". Loch Lomond.net. Archived from the original on 1 August 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  9. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands" Archived 18 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine. loch-lomond.me.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Introduction to Loch Lomond Islands". Loch Lomond, Callander and Trossachs. Archived from the original on 18 June 2002. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  11. ^ For example, "Loch lomond" Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. goxplore.net Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  12. ^ "The Loch" Loch Lomond.net. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  13. ^ "The islands on Loch Lomond " Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. visit-lochlomond.com. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. ^ Morton, H. V. In Scotland Again (1933), Methuen London – p145
  15. ^ Scottish Daily Record, 06/06/2009 Colony of Wallabies set for cull
  16. ^ "The Carrick Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Visit Scotland. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  17. ^ "Cruise Loch Lomond". Scotland on TV. Archived from the original (video) on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  18. ^ "Maid of the Loch". Loch Lomond Steamship Company. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  19. ^ S D ADVENTURES- Winter skills, Navigation, Climbing, Canoeing, – Home
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  21. ^ James J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular and Folk, p. 336.
  22. ^ Fraser, Amy Stewart (1977). In Memory Long. Routledge. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7100-8586-3. Retrieved 10 October 2008. 
  23. ^ Elsie J. Oxenham, Goblin Island, Collins (1907), p. 58.
  24. ^ "Wealth of fans to locate". The Scotsman. 28 September 2002. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  25. ^ "Ticket tout fears over Bollywood star". The Scotsman. 8 August 2002. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 

External links[edit]