Balmaha, Scotland, UK


Barbs, Mart, Me, and Becca in Balmaha

After Becca's graduation from Edinburgh University, we set off on a trip around Scotland. Becca had done all the planning, so the rest of us just followed along.

Our first port of call was to be Balmaha, but on the way we stopped at Stirling for lunch, followed by a visit to the famous Kelpies.

The Kelpies, 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures

These dramatic horse heads, made of 600 tonnes of steel, can even be seen from the M9 motorway in Falkirk. They were built by the Glasgow artist Andy Scott. His inspiration was the traditional Scottish working horses, which used to pull barges along the canals, or worked in the fields where The Kelpies stand today.

Not everyone admires Andy Scott’s masterpiece, though. Jonathan Jones wrote in The Guardian, “Scott's horses are neither well observed nor powerfully imagined – they are simply stale equine symbols." Well, I have to disagree, I thought they were magnificent! …and you can see just how large they are from the image below.

Dale, Becca, Mart, Barbs, and David with a Kelpie

We drove on to the village of Balmaha, on the shores of Loch Lomond, where we were to stay in The Oak Tree Inn, so called because the inn stands in the shade of a 500-year old oak tree. We stayed in one of the little cottages belonging to the hotel, just a few minutes' walk from the main building. We really enjoyed our stay there with great food, and a bar made from a 300-year old elm tree, which stocks 50 types of malt whisky.

The Oak Tree inn is situated in the Trossachs National Park, which claims the largest loch in the whole of the United Kingdom. We climbed Conic Hill to get a better view. Wow! Absolutely beautiful!

There was a beautiful light, and a mist across the mountains

As you can see, we didn’t have much sunny weather in Scotland. In fact, it rained most of the time!

Another view from Conic Hill…

…and another…

…and yet another…

…and I love this one of Barbs and Mart

We descended from the hill (which felt more like a mountain), and walked along the side of the loch, back to the hotel. There we passed the boats we had seen from above (image below).

Boats in harbour, in Balmaha, Scotland

Thanks to Becca’s organisation, we had embarked on a memorable trip. Next stop  Inveraray Castle, and Glencoe.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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