Balmaha Gaelic name St Maha's Place
Balmaha is a picturesque village situated on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, 7miles from Drymen-It can be a busy little place during the summer months, popular with those who like spending their days out on the water sailing, fishing or even swimming.
However, Balmaha offers those who are looking for a less strenuous day out the opportunity to relax by the loch side - gazing across the loch to its many islands and inlets, and beyond to the rising Mountains of the Scottish Highlands far on the horizon.
Prepare to get your camera out - you're going to need it!
How to get there....
Balmaha is not on railway line, but you can still take train to nearby town Balloch there are regular bus links to Balmaha from there.
Rail and Bus:
Rail From Glasgow Queen Street to Balloch
Journey Time: 30 mins - First Scotrail operates a half hourly train service from Glasgow Queen Street
Bus from Balloch to Balmaha:
Bus: No. 309 - Journey time: 14 mins.
Bus from Glasgow to Drymen:
Bus : No.8 (Glasgow to Balfron via Drymen) leaving from Buchannan Bus Station. At Drymen, change to local service bus No 309 to Balmaha.
Follow the A81 to Milngavie and then follow signs for Drymen. In Drymen village, turn left on to B837 for Balmaha.
Things to do
Those of you completing the West Highland way will have already conquered Conic Hill on route to Balmaha. At 1200ft, Conic hill lies on the Highland Boundary-
The very point where the Lowlands meets the Highlands! Often steep in places, (particularly the staircase at the start) Conic hill is fairly accessible to everyone of reasonable fitness- but definitely worth the climb as the views at the top are breathtaking! From here you can see the full splendour of Loch Lomond stretching out into the distance, with Ben Lomond towering above. Look down on all the yachts and boats appearing now as little white specks and the surrounding hills and green forests which guard the waters.
To access the hill, start off to the rear of the Balmaha Car Park (beyond the visitor centre), and follow the 'White Thistle' West Highland Way route Markers. It should take about 2 hours (round trip).
Milenium Forest Path
This walk takes you through the ancient woodlands surrounding Loch Lomond and Balmaha - pick up a leaflet at the Visitor Centre which gives loads of interesting facts about the various vegetation and wildlife who live here- see how many species you can spot! This walk also involves a short climb up Craigie Fort (not as strenuous as Conic Hill, don’t worry!) and again brings you out to a stunning viewpoint where you can catch your breath for a moment, before descending through the trees out onto a secluded beach.
Access to the path is also to the rear of the Balmaha car park- but bear left this time. It should take approx 45 mins from start to finish.
Often referred to as 'Glasgow's Mountain' due to its close proximity to the city, and is therefore a popular hill for weekend hikers from the city. Another reason for its popularity is due to its 'Munro' status (Scottish mountain over 3000ft) and is the most southerly Munro in Scotland. So for those who are up for the challenge, a day spent climbing Ben Lomond will not disappoint.
To gain access the hill, you need to travel 7 miles further down the loch to Rowardennan, where the path begins behind the car park. After an initial steep climb through the conifers (and often boggy path), the path brings you out onto the shoulder of the Ben, which offers a gentler climb towards the summit. On nearing the top, it does get quite steep again, but by this point you will not let anything get in your way on reaching the summit! All your hard work will be rewarded with fantastic views across the loch, to the Arrochar Alps to the west, and on a clear day you might even be able to make out the peaked Isle of Arran out to sea! Should the weather misbehave, there’s always that feeling of achievement that you managed to make it to the top without having a heart attack!
Inhcailleach is one of 23 islands on Loch Lomond and is a protected nature reserve owed by The National Trust Scotland. Access to the island is free to the public. There is a nature trail around the island (90 minutes walk) which takes in the historic ruins of an ancient chapel and burial ground (of the Clan MacGregor) and of course - more scenic views! There are plenty picnic opportunities at Port Bawn, with facilities for barbeques and camping during the summer.