Murky, mysterious, unearthly. The view from our room was utterly captivating. A light rain was falling creating a hazy film over the landscape and a mist hung heavily over the morning sky like a lingering kiss from a dream.The stillness of the loch broken only by the soft ripple of the ghostly geese as they floated around the bend. The first day of a long awaited romantic break at Loch Lomond finally arrived and even in the rain I was enchanted.
Most of Scotland’s lakes (which are called lochs when they are narrow and firths when broad) lie in deep Highland valleys. Inland, freshwater Loch Lomond is Britain’s largest lake. It is 23 miles (37 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) at its widest point. The northern end of Loch Lomond is steep sided and very deep. But to the south the lake becomes broader, shallow and dotted with wooded islands.
The main gateway is through the Highland village of Balloch. From here you travel farther south to Alexandria (Dumbartonshire). This is where Cameron House is located just a pebble’s throw from the lake.
We had arrived the night before at this five-star castle resort on the southern shores of Loch Lomond, just 30 minutes outside of Glasgow in the countryside and looked forward to three days of recharging our batteries in the sumptuous surroundings.
We visited the newly created Loch Lomond Shores, the National Park Gateway Center, which is just a 10-minute stroll from the hotel. Nestled into the most southerly corner, it’s positioned for glorious views across the water to Ben Lomond, a 3,000-foot (914 m) grey, rocky mountain that dominates the skyline.
The center is filled with plenty of things to do, including restaurants, luxury and outdoor shops, canoe and bike rental, and its own giant cinema screen housed in Drumkinnon Tower.
Designed by one of Scotland’s leading architects, David Page, the tall circular tower features a 40-minute film revealing the history of the famous song “On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.” Immortalizd by Scottish bards it may sound like a happy song at first. Yet the story behind it is heartbreaking.
It was written at the time of the 1745 Scottish Jacobite uprising. Two Scottish brothers were captured by English soldiers and thrown into Carlisle jail. One was to be sentenced to death for his part in the revolt while the other was to be released. The younger brother had a sweetheart by Loch Lomond. But his elder sibling had a family to take care of. So the younger one chose death.
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