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A little under a week after we leave our home country on a long flight to Ireland, we will be taking our first day of rest beside the freshwater lake – or “loch” – Lomond.

Loch Lomond is purportedly the most beautiful place in Scotland.  Just a day’s walk outside of the city of Glasgow, it’s the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area and second-largest by water volume, beaten by our second major loch of the trip, the famous Ness.

Loch LomondWith songs, poems and prose all written about Loch Lomond it is one of the places I am personally looking forward to most on this trip.  As a photographer I am hoping to capture some images like the one to the right – and with three mornings spent at her shores, it seems I may get my chance.

We’ll likely arrive at Loch Lomond the night after we leave Glasgow’s city centre, spending a night at the southern tip before starting the hike along its 39km (24mi) length; the A82 highway runs along its western shore which is conveniently the side of the loch that we want to be on when heading towards Fort William.  After our first day of walking the shores we’ll spend a full day there, resting our legs and enjoying the scenery… and maybe singing a song or two.

The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond is one of the most famous songs known around the world as a Scottish anthem, first published during the Scottish romantic movement almost a century after the Jacobite rebellions of the 18th century but popular before it.  Rumours persist of it being written by a Scottish nationalist (possibly from the 1745 Jacobite rebellion itself) imprisoned in England, who writes of his desire to return home.

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.

Loch Lomond, looking out at Ben Lomond, one of its largest islandsThe “high road,” or highway, refers to a normal road… where as the “low road” is supposed to refer to the path that a soul takes to return home.  In Scottish folk-lore, the faeries that inhabit the British Isles are supposed to bring souls back to Scotland along a road of their construction through their half-worlds, and the story goes that the soldier knew he would die in an English prison but wanted his love to know.

In addition to being the largest loch in Scotland, Lomond holds the most islands – most think 30-36, though some centuries-old reports go as high as 60.  The magnificent views afforded by the loch’s shores also include the mountain Ben Lomond, pictured above; this most southern of the Munros (a collection of mountains in Scotland collected by Sir Hugh Munro) is almost a kilometre high and can be seen as far away as Glasgow on a clear day.

Though we’re certainly not planning on it, with luck we’ll have plenty of those – and Ben Lomond will provide for us a goal as we start out of Glasgow on a sunny Tuesday morning next October.

 

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 and is filed under Better Know Our Route, Quest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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