South Loch Lomond National Park, Scotland (Luss & Balmaha)

Best time to visit: Summer, the pictures below were taken in July (including the cloudy ones).

Reasons to visit

Centre of Scotland’s first National Park: Loch Lomond & the Trossarchs National Park was setup in 2002 & centred around this jewel of a lake. It’s shaped like an inverted comma & it’s north-south bank is a touch under 25 miles long. Luss & Balmaha are two village on either side of the lake that make up a great base to explore the wider part of the loch.

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The sun rising over Loch Lomond

Visit Scotland’s prettiest village: We’ve seen a number of quaint villages in our travels around Scotland but Luss does live up to it’s reputation of being the prettiest village in Scotland. The cottages leading up to the pier are it’s most photographed feature but the view of Ben Lomond from the beach & the ancient cathedral add a lot more to the charm of the village.

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A typical Luss cottage

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Luss cathedral & ancient cemetary

Gorgeous landscapes & hikes to a fault: The pun here is intended because the Highland Boundary Fault runs through Loch Lomond (similar to Isle of Arran), meaning the southern half has gentle hills (such as the uber-popular Conic Hill pictured below) to giants like Ben Lomond just a few miles north. As a whole, it provides landscapes that the pictures below do not do justice to.

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View from the water taxi to Balmaha

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Loch Lomond & the split landscape from Conic Hill

Food & Drink

I didn’t have a proper restaurant meal as this was part of the 5-week long camping trip but have a couple of recommendations.

The Coach House coffee shop is great for getting caffeinated as well as getting some work done using their free wifi. They have a large & comfortable seating hall that’s generally full with tourists.

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The tartan-theme is strong here

Also had Cullen Skink soup & some pretty decent beer after climbing Conic Hill at the Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha. This place was again extremely popular with the hill walkers & dog owners visiting the village.

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Hot soup & cold beer

Public Transit Logistics

There are 2 main ways of getting into Luss from Glasgow

  • Direct: Multiple Citylink buses that skirt around Loch Lomond will drop you on the highway a 10 min walk from the Luss village centre. A single costs £8.70 from Glasgow.
  • Minimal walking: For folk carrying a huge backpack, the other way to reach Glasgow is taking a bus to Balloch (£3) & then hopping onto a ScotRail train to Glasgow Central.

To get to Conic Hill from Luss, get a return ticket on the water bus that runs about hourly from Luss pier to Balmaha (£9.50). The Conic Hill car park is a 15 minute walk from where the boat drops you.

Campsite Review: Luss Camping & Caravan Club Site

This club site allows non-member backpackers & benefits from a great loch-side location. There is also a number of cute rabbits, ducks & cygnets on site. The only cons are the 8 min walk from Luss village centre (18 mins from the highway bus stop) & Loch Lomond’s midge swarm (one of the midgiest campsites I’ve seen)

UK Campsite linkhttp://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/details.asp?revid=4573

Cost (single backpacker, small tent, no car): £9.50

Distance from public transit: 8 minutes

Toilets & showers: Excellent, no coins needed for long hot showers 🙂

Laundry facilities: High quality laundry machines, need £1 coins

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