- The “Loch Lomond Shores” at Balloch
- An Ceann Mor at Inverglas
- The Four Seasons Man at Lochearnhead
- LookOut at Loch Voil
The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park was established in 2002, which makes it Scotland's first National Park.
With the beautiful Loch Lomond at its heart, the park covers a huge area which includes many contrasting landscapes both Highland and Lowland.
In May I saw the news about the opening of a new pyramid-shaped viewpoint named "An Ceann Mor" at Inverglas on the banks of Loch Lomond. I became even more interested when I found out that it was the final installation of the first phase of the Scottish Scenic Routes pilot project.
This Scottish Government initiative aims to enhance the tourist's experience of Scotland's landscape. I loved the sound of that, so in August my friends and I decided to head off and see it for ourselves what the park has to offer.
The “Loch Lomond Shores” at Balloch
We started our journey, in the afternoon, from the Visitor Centre. It was raining- can you believe it!- so we went into Cafe Zest in Jenners to wait. While there we ate a homemade lunch and admired the views of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond as they appeared and disappeared through the clouds and rain.
The Loch Lomond Shores complex offers a wide range of shopping, eating, outdoor activities and events for all the family. You can take a boat trip up the loch, have tea or lunch, go to the Sea Life Aquarium, take a bike or kayak ride or simply a walk in the park. Amidst all the stunning scenery a perfect day can be had by people of all ages.
Firkin Point, by Inverbeg
When the sun reappeared we went to Firkin Point. It is a very scenic viewing point on the west bank of Loch Lomond. There is free car parking, toilets and a picnic area with lots of benches adjacent to the car park and lochside.
Moreover, there is a pathway along the banks of the loch named the Old Military Road. This lovely lochside route with stunning views is ideal for wheelchair users, families with prams or cyclists who want to get close to the loch.
An Ceann Mor at Inverglas
It took us 15 minutes by car to reach Inverglas from Firkin Point. Beware, the Inverglas Visitor Centre can get very busy, especially in the summer when Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is visiting more than 1 million tourists.
An Ceann Mor sits just above the loch, close to the Visitor Centre, and includes tourist information, parking and a cafe. We were very excited to visit this great, new attraction which looks even better when experienced for real than it does in photographs.
The pyramid-shaped "An Ceann Mor"- the name is Gaelic for "large headland"- allows you to climb 8m to its summit, sit and take in the stunning views of Loch Lomond, the Arrochar Alps to the west and Ben Lomond in the middle distance.
Woven Sound at Falls of Falloch
The Falls of Falloch is a beautiful waterfall about 3 miles (5 km) from the village of Crianlarich. We missed the signpost and hence the turn off for this important tourist attraction the first time we drove the past, but we could not miss seeing this beauty spot.
It is only a short walk from the small car park to the viewpoint.
While we were enjoying a new installation called "Woven Sound" at the waterfall 2 brave lads wearing swimsuits were swimming in the waterfall pool, known locally as Rob Roy's Bathtub ( I hope Rob Roy approved!).
Learn more about Rob Roy Country
Anyway, "Woven Sound" is an interesting installation whose main function is to enable visitors to experience the Falls of Falloch at closer range. The tunnel-like shelter is designed as an acoustic amplifier.
Widening along its length like a hearing trumpet, it weaves down through the trees to the cliff edge facing the waterfall.
The Four Seasons Man at Lochearnhead
I decided to divert from the "Scenic Route" and, instead of visiting the Loch Lubnaig beag viewpoint, to see another interesting piece of art- the statue known as "The Four Seasons Still".
This human-shaped statue stands in front of "The Four Seasons" Hotel, in Lochearnhead, looking out over the scenic Loch Earn.
While looking really futuristic it's mirrored form is designed to appear as if it is continually changing, reflecting the light, the rippling water and the rocks on the beach amidst the ever-changing Scottish weather.
LookOut at Loch Voil
How to you find something that blends into its environment thanks to its clever use of mirrored walls? The answer is - with a great deal of difficulty. We were confused as we drove along the twisting single - track road that runs along Braes of Balquidder and the beautiful north shore of Loch Voil.
Finally, we found the mirrored cabin, surrounded by lovely Highland cows posing nicely (like professionals!) for photographs.
The landscape of Balquidder Glen was simply amazing and unbelievable. And there's more for history buffs- the glen was the heart of the famous outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor's territory 300 years ago.
The mirrored cabin is called "LookOut" and sits in a flat meadow between the head of Loch Voil and Loch Doine. Benches by the cabin allow the visitor to relax and take in the mesmerising views of the landscape, whilst reflecting the surrounding area on it's mirrored surfaces.
It really makes you blend into this tranquil glen (It would have made a great hide-out for Rob Roy!).
Unfortunately, this fantastic day did not have a happy ending for me. Whilst taking my last photographs the SD card on my camera broke and I lost all my day's photos. Damn!! Thankfully, it's good to have friends, they shared their photos with me and it's those that you can see on the post.