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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St Andrews

St Andrews is a former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife inScotland, named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town’s population. St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife.

The Swilcan Bridge, or Swilcan Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews golf course,

The Swilcan Bridge, or Swilcan Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews golf course,

St Andrews is also known worldwide as the “home of golf“. This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico), and also because the famous links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf‘s four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked amongst the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches.

The Martyrs Memorial, erected to the honour of Patrick Hamilton, George Wishart, and other martyrs of the Reformationepoch, stands at the west end of the Scores on a cliff overlooking the sea. 

St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrews has a temperate maritime climate, which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude. Winters are not as cold as one might expect, considering that Moscow and Labrador in Newfoundland lie on the same latitude. Daytime temperatures can fall below freezing and average around 4 °C. However, the town is subject to strong winds. Night-time frosts are common; however, snowfall is more rare.

St Andrews was once bounded by several “ports” (the Lowland Scots word for a town gate). Two are still extant: So’gait port (South Street, now called West Port) and the Sea Yett (as The Pends terminates to the harbour). The Category A listed West Port is one of few surviving town ‘Ports’ in Scotland. The towers were influenced by those seen at the base of the Netherbow Port in EdinburghThe central archway which displays semi-octagonal ‘rownds’ and ‘battling’ is supported by corbelling and neatly moulded passageways. Side arches and relief panels were added to the port, during the reconstruction between 1843–1845.

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The University of St Andrews, the oldest in Scotland, dates back to 1410. A charter for the university was issued by Bishop Henry Wardlaw between 1411 and 1412. This was followed by Avignon Pope Benedict XIII granting university status to award degrees to students in 1413. The school initially started out as a society for learned men in the fields of canon law, the arts and divinity. The chapel and college of St John the Evangelist became the first building to have ties with the university in 1415. The two original colleges to be associated with the university were St Salvator in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy and St Leonard in 1512 by archbishop Alexander Stewart and prior James Hepburn.