Between Loch Lomond and Loch Long (and the villages of Tarbet and Arrochar) is a narrow neck of land measuring approximately 2 miles. Famously, in 1263, the Vikings, led by the wonderfully named Haakon King of Man, carried their longships over this ground, having sailed up Loch Long from the sea, to reach Loch Lomond where they conducted a series of devastating raids.
The ancient practice of dragging boats and their contents between bodies of water gave rise to the name Tarbet, which means ‘the place of portage’ and there are several similarly named settlements and lochs across Scotland.
Loch Long’s name has nothing to do with its length (although it extends for 20 miles) but instead means Loch of Ships; this may relate to the boats that once navigated their way inland from the sea. Loch Long is one of a number of sea lochs that bite into Scotland’s coastline and it was used as a torpedo testing ground during World War II.
Rising to 415-metres above Tarbet, Arrochar and Loch Long is the shapely hill of Cruach Tairbeirt. Woodland paths and open hillside gain the top where an extraordinary panorama awaits, particularly to the north and west; the Munro’s of Beinn Narnain, Ben Vane, and Ben Vorlich (with Loch Sloy nestled inbetween the latter two) and the Corbett of The Brack rise sharply from Arrochar and the long finger of Loch Long.
Loch Lomond is also visible with Ben Lomond standing guard, while the big jumble of muscular mountains above Crianlarich form an impressive barrier. However it is the view of The Cobbler that is a real standout with its iconic profile and triumvirate of peaks clearly visible.