This is the third book of four in a series to walks in Scotland’s first National Park published by Northern Eye Books – Top 10 Easy Summits and Top 10 Lochside Walks were published in 2016, Top 10 Pub Walks will follow this year.They form part of their superb Top 10 series of guidebooks and are the first in the series to focus on walking in Scotland.
My love of hillwalking began on the mountains surrounding Loch Lomond, as they were, when growing up in Glasgow, my local hills. Mountains such as Ben Lomond, Ben Donich, Stob Binnein, Cruach Ardrain and The Cobbler have been climbed many times in the intervening years.
This book contains walks onto all of these mountains as well as Ben Vorlich, Ben Ledi and Ben Venue, several of the Crianlarich mountains and a couple of lesser-visited peaks above Tyndrum. The scenery from their slopes and summits is incredible which, on a clear day, can extend to the West and Central Highlands, to the rolling hills of Galloway, out across the Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig and to the serrated outline of Arran.
These are some of the best views in Britain and the ten routes detailed in this book show off some of Scotland’s finest mountain scenery.
To see a selection of my Loch Lomond and the Trossachs images please click here
For much of the past 18 months I have been walking and photographing in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The work (if you want to call it that) was for 2 guidebooks that have just been published by Northern Eye Books. They form part of their superb Top 10 series of guidebooks and are the first in the series to focus on walking in Scotland.
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is almost my local patch, being only an hour or so from where I live. It is a place of great beauty, grandeur and drama and one I love exploring.
But what makes it so special?
Well for starters the landscape straddles the highland Boundary Fault Line and consequently has a magnificent array of rugged peaks.
It boasts 40 mountains over 2,500 feet in height including some of Scotland’s most iconic Munros and Corbetts: Ben Lomond, Ben Ledi, Stob Binnien and the incomparable Ben Arthur (better known as The Cobbler), to name but a few.
Yet away from the big mountains and the park is also home to numerous lower hills, such as Conic Hill, Ben A’an and Duncryne, each of which offer a challenge but are within reach of the general walker.
Also within the National Park’s confines are around 50 rivers and burns, 3 National Nature reserves, 2 Forest Parks and 22 large lochs, including Loch Lomond — at 28 miles long and 5 miles wide, the largest body of freshwater in the UK.
Add to this Loch Arklet, Loch Ard, Loch Katrine and Loch Venachar and you have an array of beautiful water with breathtaking scenery and wonderful wildlife.
The late, great hillwalker and broadcaster Tom Weir lived much of his life in Gartocharn, which sits near the southern edge of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The little hill of Duncryne rises above Gartocharn and Tom climbed onto its summit almost every day (and sometimes at night). He described the view as the best from any small hill in Scotland.
Known locally (and perhaps a little disparagingly) as ‘The Dumpling’, due to its profile, Duncryne means ‘the rounded hill-fort’, and when on the summit it is not difficult to understand why it was once used as a defensive site. However Duncryne’s history dates back some 350-million years when it was formed through volcanic activity.
From its 146-metre summit Gartocharn nestles comfortably below amongst its rural confines, where fields spread northwest to reach Loch Lomond, its full width and many of its islands on display.
Surrounding the loch is the great beacon of Ben Lomond, the distinctive ridge of Conic Hill and the rounded Luss Hills, scored with deep glens. Beyond, the Cobbler’s iconic profile and the brawny Arrochar Alps draw the eye to a great procession of Southern Highland mountains. To the east the lowland landscape is broken by the long line of the Campsie Fells.
Therefore it is hard to disagree with Tom Weir’s view.