I currently have a friend staying with me, so we're doing quite a few day trips to explore the area. Yesterday, we took advantage of a bit of sunshine and warmth to walk from Helensburgh, where I live, to Balloch at the shores of Loch Lomond. This is the first stage of both the Three Lochs Way (although in the opposite direction) and the John Muir Way.
It was the perfect day for it and we had some amazing views! The first bit was an ascent from Helensburgh through birch woodland and along cute little burns (streams). Once we got out of the forest, we had the most amazing views of both the Firth of Clyde and, a bit later, Loch Lomond. The highest point was Gouk Hill, where we found a large tree decorated with Christmas ornaments - quite amusing.
There were some interesting shaped hills and crests, and we later read that this was due to the Highland Boundary Fault, a major fault zone that traverses Scotland from west to east. It separates two distinctly different physiographic and geological terrains: the Highlands from the Lowlands.
Soon after, during the descent, we got lost... and stumbled through a dense conifer forest, very wet grassland and made our way through giant ferns (and the occasional nettle) until we finally found a forest road. By then, we were coverd in grass seeds, pine needles and spiderwebs. Still, it was great fun navigating the forest and feeling a bit like explorers in unfamiliar territory.
We did some geocaching on the way as well, being newly converted geocache hunters. Sadly, we had forgotten to take a pen so never managed to sign the caches we found. Probably a good reason to do this hike again.
Our destination was Balloch on the South end of Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater lake in Scotland. There, we went into the aquarium (and saw otters, one of my favourite animals!), which was a little smaller than we'd expected, but still a great place to visit.
We took the bus back to Helensburgh, which only took something like fifteen minutes - slight difference to the four or so hours the walk took us... but our views were a lot better than those from the bus!
Click through the gallery below to see what we saw ;)
Storyteller. Tea drinker. Bunny cuddler. Highland walker. Scottish by choice.