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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Helensburgh

Helensburgh is a town in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies on the north shore of the Firth of Clydeand the eastern shore of the entrance to the GarelochHelensburgh was formerly in Dumbarton District, but was re-allocated under local government reorganisation in 1996. Prior to 1975 it was part of the former Dunbartonshire.

Helensburgh, Scotland

Streets of  Helensburgh on a sunny beautiful day in July, Scotland, United Kingdom 

Helensburgh was founded in 1776 when Sir James Colquhoun of Luss built spa baths on the site of Ardencaple Castle, which dated back to about 1600. He then had the seaside resort town constructed to the east of the spa on a formal layout in the style of Edinburgh New Town, and named it after his wife Helen. A ferry service he arranged across the Firth of Clyde to Greenock was successful in attracting residents who could commute from jobs there to attractive homes in the new town. Helensburgh became a favourite place of residence for shipping tycoons and tobacco merchants from Glasgow. At one point the small town had one quarter of Britain’s millionaires living there.

Helensburgh born coal miner Charles Harper emigrated to New South Wales (now a state of Australia) and became the first manager of the Metropolitan Coal Company before being killed in a mine accident in 1887. In that year, the company took over the mining lease on an area south of Sydney known as Camp Creek. When the coal mine opened the following year, the town was named Helensburgh, possibly named after his birthplace or after his daughter Helen. The two Helensburghs are now sister cities.

Helensburgh today acts as a commuter town for nearby Glasgow, with a population at the 2001 census of 14,626, and also serves as a main shopping centre for the area and for tourists attracted to the seaside resort. Helensburgh is also influenced by the presence of theClyde Naval Base at Faslane on the Gare Loch, a major local employer. The town is a popular destination for day trippers.

The seafront has an indoor swimming pool, an esplanade walk, a range of shops, cafes and pubs, and sailing facilities including Helensburgh Sailing Club. At Rhu, just beyond the town boundary, there is a marina.

The streets are built on a gentle slope rising to the north east, and at the brow of the hill a golf club has views looking south out over the town to the Clyde, and to the north across nearby Loch Lomond to the Trossachs hills.

Helensburgh is home to a number of annual events, with the local branch of Round Table running an annual fireworks display on Guy Fawkes Night and hosting a Real Ale Festival at the Sailing Club.

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Falkirk

Falkirk, town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland, historically within the county of Stirlingshire. It lies in the Forth Valley, almost midway between the two most populous cities of Scotland; north-west of Edinburgh and north-east of Glasgow.

Streets of Falkirk, Scotland

                                               Streets of Falkirk, Scotland

Falkirk had a resident population of 32,422 at the 2001 census. The population of the town had risen to 34,570 according to a 2008 estimate, making it the 20th most populous settlement in Scotland. Falkirk is the main town and administrative centre of theFalkirk council area, which has an overall population of 156,800 and inholds the nearby towns of Grangemouth,Bo’ness,Denny,Larbert and Stenhousemuir.

The town lies at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, a location which proved key to the growth of Falkirk as a centre of heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries Falkirk was at the centre of the iron and steel industry, underpinned by the Carron Company in the nearby village of Carron. The company was responsible for making carronades for the Royal Navy and also later many pillar boxes. In the last 50 years heavy industry has waned, and the economy of the town relies increasingly on retail and tourism. Despite this, Falkirk remains the home of many international companies.

Falkirk Park

                                   Callendar House and Park in Falkirk

Attractions in and around Falkirk include the Falkirk Wheel, Callendar House and Park and remnants of the Antonine Wall. Soon to be a feature of the town is the Falkirk Helix, a new recreational area with walk and cycle paths with the main attraction being a new boat lift and extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. In a 2011 poll conducted by STV, it was voted as Scotland’s most beautiful town, ahead of Perth and Stirling in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Architecture of Falkirk

Architecture of Falkirk

Falkirk hosted a national arts festival which ran in Callendar Park from 2000-2009 called Big In Falkirk. After its inception in 2000, the festival won Scottish Thistle Award for Events & Festivals in 2005. Consisting of a free weekend of events, the festival was one of the largest cultural events in Scotland, attracting over 100,000 people. Hosted in Falkirk’s historical Callendar Park, with Callendar House as the focal point, the entertainment featured a wide variety of outdoor theatre, pyrotechnic displays, arts, comedy and big name music acts, alongside activities for all ages.