Thursday, 4 June 2009

Islands of Loch Lomond

Think about Scottish islands, and the mind immediately rushes west to the Hebrides. Inshore islands are not on the radar. But there are quite a few freshwater islands on Loch Lomond, from the inhabited Inchmurrin (take the ferry there from Arden) to tiny Inchgalbraith. I once heard of an American with the surname Galbraith, who came to Scotland at great expense to see the Auld Country. In high excitement, he hired a boat to take him out to the ruined castle Inchgalbraith. On seeing the tiny island, he exclaimed: "is that it?!"


I've only been to a few of the islands, with my current favourite being Inchcailloch. This has historic interest, with an old MacGregor graveyard and vestigial ruins of an ancient nunnery. Of most interest is the steep wooded slopes and views from the summit of Loch Lomond, which are similar to those from the superlative viewpoint of Duncryne, except nearer and more immediate.

The latest news story concerns Inchconnachan. This has a colony of wallabies, the last thing you would expect to find somewhere like Loch Lomond. Curiosity is tickled to think of these exotic animals grazing away on a Scottish island.

So it was with concern I read recently that the wallabies on Loch Lomond face being culled, as they are not a native species. I hope that if they are got rid of, they find somewhere else for them to live, like the Uist hedgehogs.


Dave said...

Inchgalbraith is thought to be a Crannog, built by Iron Age man. Crannogs were built as a safe dwelling place from attackers or predators.

In medieval times it was found strong enough to support the castle of the Galbraiths. At one time the Galbraiths owned Bannachara in Glen Fruin.

The castle is now in ruins but can still be seen through the trees, very few people actually know its there and most pass in their boats without seeing it. The island is easy to approach from the west as the bottom drops off steeply. The island is overgrown and very rocky, it is easy to see its origin as a Crannog

Robert Craig said...

There's a story about Bannachra Castle. Think the Colqhuons owned it at the time. There were a bunch of MacGregors lurking outside, and when the laird of Bannachra went to bed, they saw his candle through the arrowslit windows and shot him fatally. An impressive shot, but just one of the acts that eventually led to the MacGregors being proscribed.