Balloch

Balloch is a small town in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, at the foot of Loch Lomond.

Balloch, or Bealach, comes from the Gaelic word ‘bal’ (baile or ball) which means village or hamlet, so Balloch means village on the Loch – as in nearby Loch Lomond. The word can also mean “the pass”.

Balloch, Scotland

Balloch, Scotland

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Balloch is at the north end of the Vale of Leven, straddling the River Levenitself. It connects to the larger town of Alexandria and to the smaller village of Jamestown, both of which are located to its south. It also borders the Kilpatrick Hills. To the east of the town lies the major local authority housing scheme in the area known as ‘The Haldane’ or ‘The Mill of Haldane’. At 56 degrees N, Balloch is at about the same latitude as Moscow.

With its accessible location at the southern end of Loch Lomond and just off the main road from Glasgow to the West Highlands, it is an important centre of tourism, especially from Glasgow and Dumbarton. The town has a number of hotels, inns and pubs, and there are cruises from Balloch up Loch Lomond, and other services, including to nearby locations like Luss, and the Renfrew Ferry service. The largest number of boats cruising on Loch Lomond leave from Balloch. It contains Balloch Country Park and Balloch Castle, and is at the southern end of the first Scottish national park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

There is a Sea Life Centre located in the town. The Loch Lomond Youth Soccer Festival used to take place in the town. “Lochfoot” in the Jean Robertson novels of Jane Duncan is partly based on the town. The PS Maid of the Loch is currently being restored at Balloch pier.

The A811 road (based on an eighteenth-century military road) goes from Balloch to Stirling, and the A813 goes from Dumbarton to Balloch. The Glasgow to Loch Lomond cycle path (part of National Cycle Route 7) ends at Balloch. The West Loch Lomond Cycle Path also runs from Balloch.
The town was formerly served by two railway stations on the
Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Junction Railway: Balloch Central, and Balloch Pier, which closed in 1988 and 1986, respectively. The town now has one railway station, which is a terminus of the North Clyde electric train service from Glasgow.

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Luss

Luss is a village in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, on the west bank of Loch LomondHistorically in the County of Dunbarton, its original name is Clachan dubh, or ‘dark village’. Ben Lomond, the most southerly Munro, dominates the view north over the loch, and the Luss Hills rise to the west of the village.

Saint Kessog brought Christianity to Luss at some uncertain date in the ‘Dark Ages’. A number of early medieval and medieval monuments survive in the present churchyard, including simple cross-slabs which may date to as early as the 7th century AD, and a hogback grave-cover of the 11th century. A well-preserved late medieval effigy of abishop is preserved within the modern church.

Old Parish Church, Luss, Scotland

Old Parish Church, Luss, Scotland

The present Church of Scotland place of worship was built in 1875 bySir James Colquhoun, in memory of his father who had drowned in the loch in December 1873. The church is noted for its online services as well as for holding over one hundred weddings per year, most from outside the parish. Luss is the ancestral home of Clan Colquhoun.

Nowadays Luss is a conservation village, with a bypass carrying the busy A82 trunk road. Many of Luss’ cottages have been described as picturesque. The village has a kiltmaker and a bagpipe works. In recent years, Luss became famous as a result of being the main outdoor location for the Scottish Television drama series Take the High Road. Although the programme is no longer made, some in Luss remain proud of the connection: its fictional name, ‘Glendarroch,’ is used for some buildings.

Loch Lomond and Luss , Scotland

Loch Lomond and Luss , Scotland

About a mile south of the village, in a cove at Aldochlay, is a small figure on a stone plinth. A contemporary legendevolved that it is a memorial to a child drowned in the loch, but it was in fact erected in 1890 by a local stonemason, who found the statue in a London scrapyard. ‘Wee Peter’, as he is locally known, was moved to the site after a brief spell near the railway, and has remained there ever since.

The village hosts a water taxi service to Balloch, at the south of the loch, allowing visitors to transfer onwards to Glasgow by train or visit its shopping centre, Lomond Shores. Luss Pier is a popular starting point for boat trips on the loch.
The Loch Lomond Golf Club, which was for a number of years the site of the Barclays Scottish Open, is within the village’s borders.

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Culross

Culross is a village and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland. According to the 2006 estimate, the village has a population of 395.
Originally Culross served as a port city on the Firth of Forthand is believed to have been founded by Saint Serf during the 6th century.

Culross village, Scotland

                                                      Culross village, Scotland

A legend states that when the British princess (and future saint) Teneu, daughter of the king of Lothian, became pregnant before marriage, her family threw her from a cliff. She survived the fall unharmed, and was soon met by an unmanned boat. She knew she had no home to go to, so she got into the boat; it sailed her across the Firth of Forth to land at Culross where she was cared for by Saint Serf; he became foster-father of her son, Saint Kentigern or Mungo (d. 612).

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town was a centre of the coal mining industry. Sir George Bruce of Carnock, who built the splendid ‘Palace’ of Culross and whose elaborate family monument stands in the north transept of the Abbey church, established at Culross, the first coal mine in the world to extend under the sea, in 1575. The mine worked what is now known as the Upper Hirst coal seam, with ingenious contrivances to drain the constant leakage from above. This mine was considered one of the marvels of the British Isles in the early 17th century, until it was destroyed in a storm, in 1625.

Culross’ secondary industry was salt panning. There was a considerable export trade by sea in the produce of these industries and the prevalence of red roof tiles in Culross and other villages in Fife is thought to be a direct result of collier ships returning to Culross with Dutch roof tiles as ballast. The town was also known for its monopoly on the manufacture of ‘girdles‘, i.e. flat iron plates for baking over an open fire. The town’s role as a port declined from the 18th century, and by Victorian times it had become something of a ‘ghost town’. The harbour was filled in and the sea cut off by the coastal railway line in the second half of the 19th century (though the site of the harbour walls can to a large extent still be traced).

Culross Palace, Scotland

Culross Palace, Scotland

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During the 20th century, it became recognised that Culross contained many unique historical buildings and the National Trust for Scotland has been working on their preservation and restoration since the 1930s. Notable buildings in the burgh include Culross Town House, formerly used as a courthouse and prison, the 16th centuryCulross Palace, 17th century Study, and the remains of the Cistercian house of Culross Abbey, founded 1217. The tower, transepts and choir of the Abbey Church remain in use as the parish church, while the ruined claustral buildings are cared for by Historic Scotland. Just outside the town is the 18th-century Dunimarle Castle, built by the Erskine familyto supersede a medieval castle.


Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
spent much of his early life in Culross, where his family had an estate. There is now a bust in his honour outside the Culross Town House. He was the first Vice Admiral of Chile.