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In a hollow gouged from the rock by the action of glaciers, Loch Lomond stretches from its broader southern end at Balloch to Ardlui, some twenty-one miles to the northwest. Made famous by the song "the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" it's one of the many attractions of the national park.
Straddling the Highland boundary fault between the lowlands and highlands of Scotland, Loch Lomond creates a variety of scenery. The west shore is followed by the Dumbarton to Crianlarich trunk road. On the east side, a narrow road from Drymen (north-east of Balloch), follows the east shore through Balmaha to Rowardennan but stops there. Inversnaid, further up the loch can only be reached by a long detour via Aberfoyle or by Lomond ferry services.
The loch's wide southern end is dotted with some thirty-eight of Loch Lomond's famed islands boasting castles, burial grounds and ancient crannogs. Many of these are designated "Sites of Special Scientific Interest" and are important havens for wildlife, especially throughout the summer. Dogs are not allowed on most of the islands due to the ground nesting birds, especially from April to August. The loch is at its widest at the southern end, and it is here that you find the bulk of the visitor attractions.
Loch Lomond is ideally located for a holiday in the Scottish Highlands. Easily accessible by car, by rail and by bus, it is a holiday destination in its own right as well as being a suitable base for exploring the rest of Scotland. Fourteen miles from Glasgow airport, twenty-two miles from Glasgow city centre and sixty miles from Edinburgh, Loch Lomond is easily reached for a day trip or for a longer holiday and provides an idyllic location in which to enjoy the Scottish scenery and outdoor pursuits.
The area of Loch Lomond favoured by visitors is the western shore and the southern end, around Balloch. There are several operators here who offer boat trips around the loch. It is also the place to to view the many pleasure craft lying in the local marina. Many visitors are intrigued by the 'Maid of the Loch', a paddle steamer which used to ply the loch but is currently undergoing restoration. Nearby, the Loch Lomond Shores tourism centre attracts many visitors who can also visit the associated shopping complex and Loch Lomond Sealife Aquarium. For water sports enthusiasts the east shore from Drymen to Rowardennan has much to offer.
The 'West Highland Way' follows the east shore all the way to Ardlui at Loch Lomond's north end.
Note: Those intending to use small sailing or powered craft on the loch should familiarise themselves with the Lomond bye-laws and restrictions. ANY powered boat requires to be registered with the National PArk Authority at Balloch, Balmaha or Ardlui.