Ballachulish to Dumbarton
Choose to cruise through highlands or lochs to Dumbarton Rock
Follow the route – Ballachulish to Dumbarton
> From Ballachulish continue on the A82, diverting left into Glencoe village, then return to the main road for Glen Coe itself.
Glen Coe and the Black Mount, Strathclyde
Now the tour heads into its most dramatic phase. At the village of Glencoe the informative local museum recalls how, one night in February 1692, the MacDonalds of Glencoe were slaughtered in their homes by troops billeted on them – an atrocity which has never been forgotten. The story of the massacre is retold in a National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre a little way up the glen. It also features the wildlife and geology of the district. The northern wall of Glen Coe is a forbidding mountain ridge, while a glorious succession of towers, buttresses, gullies and hanging valleys marches along its southern side. Beyond the isolated Kings House Hotel, desolate Rannoch Moor stretches away to the left. Further on there are tremendous views into the corries of the Black Mount.
Places to stay in Glen Coe
> Continue on the A82.
Having swooped down Glen Falloch, the route reaches Ardlui at the head of Loch Lomond. In the north, the loch fills a narrow glacial trough between crammed-in mountains. Luss, with its low sandstone cottages and fine Victorian church, lies where Loch Lomond broadens out to become part of a gentler Lowland scene with lovely wooded islands.
Like Ardlui, Inveruglas, Tarbert, Inverbeg and Balloch, Luss is a port of call for ferries. You can cruise through the islands or cross the loch, walk on the West Highland Way through spruce, larch, birch and oakwoods under the shoulder of Ben Lomond, and sail back to the western shore.
Places to stay in Loch Lomond
> Continue on the A82 and return to Dumbarton
You may find it hard to believe, but this unassuming suburb of Glasgow was among the most important places in Scotland during two widely separated eras in the nation’s history. Between the fifth and ninth centuries, it was the seat of Alt Clud, a powerful Brythonic (British) kingdom that dominated much of southern Scotland until it was absorbed into the new Scottish kingdom in about AD 870. It then became the seat of Scots kings until 1018, when Dunfermline became capital.
In the 19th century, it was one of the world’s greatest shipbuilding centres, giving birth to iconic vessels including the clipper Cutty Sark and the steamer Sir Walter Scott, which still carries passengers on Loch Lomond. Dumbarton’s unmissable landmark is Dumbarton Rock, a superb natural stronghold.