Today started late after a migraine and two tryptans, but by noon we were headed for the village of Balmaha, on the east short of Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is the second most famous loch in Scotland – can you guess which is the first? I’ll give you a clue. It may or may not have a monster lurking beneath its surface.
The weather was showery, but this helped keep the midges away. As too did my Chuckling Goat goats milk, kefir and lavender lotion – turns out that it helps repel insects, as well as keeping eczema in check.
Balmaha is one of the quieter Loch Lomond villages, but still gets lots of tourists and so has a huge car park and visitors centre. After parking up we headed straight for the boat yard for the on-demand ferry to the island of Inchcailloch, the nearest island to Balmaha, and a nature reserve. The boat yard runs three lovely old wooden boats, and ours, called ‘Margaret’ was built in 1948. For £20 we were able to purchase a return trip for four people, and had the boat to ourselves. Big sis was very dubious to begin with, possibly because she can’t swim, and had to be ‘gently persuaded’ in to the boat, but once we’d set off she was all smiles.
Forget the expensive large boat tours around the loch – this is the way to do it in style, up close and personal. We were dropped off at the island jetty, and arranged to be collected in ninety minutes. We then spent that time exploring the trails to the old farm ruins and burial ground, which it turns out we walked right past as they literally are low lying ruins covered in moss and ferns. Inchcailloch is a beautiful little island, with a small camp site and warden, but it must have been quite a tough life when it was inhabited.
We got a little damp from walking in the rain, and waiting a little longer than planned for the ferry to collect us – so much so that we’d started planning an escape, mainly involving hijacking the rowing boat that another couple had arrived in; so we headed to the nearest pub on the mainland to warm up with a hot drink. We then ate a late packed lunch in the car, before heading back to Srathyre via Aberfoyle to buy some home made haggis from the village butcher. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any neeps (swede) or red cabbage in Strathyre’s small supermarkets, but savoy cabbage and caramelised potatoes did the trick.