Wallabies, ancient fortresses and other surprising finds
When Michelle first told me about Loch Lomond’s resident Wallabies my initial thought was that she was losing the plot! I’d been to Loch Lomond’s bonny banks many times, and never imagined the islands would be home to a marsupial more commonly found on the other side of the globe. The wallabies, it turns out, are just one of many treasures to be found on the islands of Loch Lomond. As our day of Island hopping soon found out!
We parked at the side of the loch near Luss, blew up our newly inflatable kayak, and set off on our island adventure. The day consisted of four island stops, countless finds and a massive eyeopener to the delights that Loch Lomond has to offer.
First stop: Inchtavannach
Inchtavannach is one of the larger Islands in Loch Lomond. Its name translates to “Monk’s Isle” due to the fact it was once the site of an ancient monastery. A large house now stands on the original monastery site.
We kayaked around the north end of the island and were immediately greeted by some free roaming highland cattle on the beach. How brilliantly Scottish a sight! The island would be a perfect base for some wild camping, although we advise sticking to the north side where the small beach would make an idyllic spot for anyone. Just beware of the hairy coos!
Next stop… Inchconnachan. A.K.A Wallaby Island!
With the wind at our backs we paddled at a rare pace to reach Inchconnachan in record time. Perhaps it was the prospect of getting a wee peek at the infamous wallabies that spurred us on. How, you might ask, have wallabies ended up in Scotland on a remote island in the middle of Loch Lomond? Well, we have Lady Colquhoun to thank for that! She brought the foreign species over to Scotland after the second world war and they have thrived on the island ever since! They estimate around 60 wallabies still bounce about today! Bonzer!
We docked near the wrecked pier of Lady Arran’s former holiday home; a delipidated building that would have once been quite the getaway! As we tiptoed across the broken floorboards, I couldn’t help wondering what had once adorned the walls, and what fabulous guests this home had entertained!
The wall was now canvas to a quirky and useful hand-drawn map of Loch Lomond and its Islands. A really cool addition to an already fabulous Island! Unfortunately, the wallabies were feeling a little shy during our visit, but we will head back early one morning to try and get a sighting of the elusive creatures.
The 103 acre island, complete with wallabies, is now up for sale by the Colquhoun family for a cool half a million. Planning permission for a new four-bedroom lodge, a one-bedroom warden’s house and a boat house and pier is included in the sale. Just imagine owning your very own Scottish Island, complete with the most unique of neighbours!
We can dream!
Third stop: Inchmoan: The perfect spot for a picnic
We managed to tear ourselves away from staking out the wallabies and continued to Inchmoan Island. This low-lying island is home to beautiful sandy beaches and the impressive ruin of a two-story hunting lodge. There is no record of who owned the lodge, but its thick stone walls, indented fireplaces and shaped windows suggest a building that one was quite the establishment.
The fact that there are beaches at either side of the island makes it a fab spot for an afternoon picnic!
Fourth Stop: Inchgalbraith.
I was extremely excited about visiting this small but history steeped island, or islet as it is more accurately known! As we approached the island it looked nothing more than a very small circle of trees and shrubs. Certainly nothing to write home about. As we drew closer, our very reason for visiting the island started to show through the gaps in the trees, although most of it still remained camouflaged from view.
You see, this tiny and unassuming crag or rock was originally an iron age fortress. The whole island is rumoured to be man made and as we climbed up its rocky edges, we soon realised it had one purpose and one purpose only. The entirety of the island is taken up by the ruin of a fortress and what a formidable fortress it would have been. Surrounded by water and difficult to access if would have been a safe space for the Galbraith clan who have since gifted their name to the tiny stronghold!
What an amazing find. No boats stop at this island so the only way to get there is to kayak or swim over yourself! Trust us, it is more than worth it.
There’s always time for a rope swing!
We have made a handy map of our kayak trip in case anyone wants to go and do the same route that we did. We parked at a lay by in Aldochlay, its free parking. We kayaked clockwise, it took us four hours to kayak to all four islands and spend a little time on each. You could easily spend the full day doing this as each island has lots to explore.
With 27 islands in all to visit on Loch Lomond there is so much more fun to be had. Each individual island has its own unique quirks and history to be found. Loch Lomond is so much more than just a beautiful loch with a famous song.
Go get out there and find out for yourselves!
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