Loch Lomond Islands (South)
All of our See Loch Lomond guides and reviews are based entirely on our own experiences. This ensures that we’re providing authentic and accurate guides, whilst allowing us the opportunity to capture video and photography to illustrate them.
This also gives us the excuse (if one is needed) to be regularly out experiencing the best things to see and do in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. Of all the amazing experiences that we have enjoyed, this island adventure has to be the best.
I enjoy seeing social media posts from Chris Scott-Park of Portnellan Farm, Gartocharn. Chris started operating speedboat tours from the family farm 5 years ago. His posts attract a lot of interest, thanks to his excellent photography of the views that he sees on the tours.
I’d met Chris and his family a few years ago on one of my photography courses and have followed his progress with interest. When I launched this See Loch Lomond website, I wanted to provide more information about seeing the Loch Lomond islands. In total there are 22 official (charted) islands and I was keen to discover more about them.
On a glorious Tuesday in May I boarded Chris’s speedboat to visit some of the islands at the southern end of Loch Lomond. We had decided to arrange a separate tour of the northern islands for another day.
Needless to say, I took lots of photographs and captured some good video footage on the tour and you will be able to see more on this website and our Facebook page.
Like many farms Portnellan has diversified to react to the changes in farming life, moving away from its origins as a dairy farm. Today Portnellan combines its roles as an organic farm with tourism and leisure. The family has made good use of its enviable lochside location to add a self-catering cottage, glamping and of course water based activities with facilities including moorings, kayak hire & paddle board hire and of course speedboat tours.
Speedboat Tours - Loch Lomond
Chris is flexible on the content and duration of each speedboat tour, providing options from a short one-hour trip on the water to a longer island exploring tour, that includes time for a pub lunch. The boat can take up to 8 passengers and you pay by trip rather than person.
In future guides we will be going into more detail of some of the islands. This guide is designed to show you how a speedboat tour can provide you with access to some of Loch Lomond’s islands. Many of the islands names start with ‘Inch’, from the Gaelic word ‘innis’ meaning island.
Directly across from Portnellan is Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond’s largest island which will be our lunch stop. However, there’s a lot to see before then. First we set off in the direction of the group of islands that sit close to the western banks of Loch Lomond, passing the small island of Creinch along the way. This is one of the islands that is part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve.
On our way to the first stop we passed Inchgalbraith, thought to be man-made in the iron age. By this point of the year the ruined castle on the tiny island is not visible as is covered by trees and bushes.
Loch Lomond Golf Course
On the shore the prestigious Loch Lomond Golf Club with its magnificent main building is visible. By now Chris had significantly decreased the speed of the boat to allow us a smooth entrance to the narrow strait that runs between the islands of Inchmoan, Inchtavannach and Inchconnachan.
We pull into the bay at our first stop Inchmoan and leave the boat to explore this beautiful island that is owned by Luss Estates. Many of the islands were used for hunting and there are the ruins on Inchmoan of an old hunting lodge. The island has some excellent sandy beaches, a good one to land on.
There are some Osprey nests around the southern end of the loch so keep your eyes peeled for one of these magnificent birds fishing on the loch. They’ll just swoop down and effortlessly catch a fish.
Back into the boat, with the wooded Inchtavannach Island to our left we took the short trip to Inchconnachan.
I was looking forward to exploring Inchconnachan and hoping to see the famous wallabies. A wallaby colony was introduced to the island by Lady Arran Colquhoun who was famous as a record-breaking powerboat racer. Her family had a holiday home here that was built in the 1920’s and is now in ruins.
We didn’t see any wallabies, Chris only sees them very occasionally, usually early in the morning when it is quiet. We did see some good views though towards Luss and the bluebells on the hills behind the village. (See above)
Away from the cluster of islands we were able to pick up speed and go around Inchloanaig. This island was chosen by Robert the Bruce in the 14th century to plant yew trees that would provide the wood for the bows for his archers.
Along to the eastern shores of Loch Lomond and past Bucinch which means ‘wild male goat’, this island is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
Ben Lomond has dominated just about all of the views that we have seen on the islands and boat.
Closer by is Conic Hill with the well-used pathway clearly visible. From the Conic you get a great view of the islands and can see the impact of the Highland Boundary Fault which cuts through the loch and across the islands of Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch and Inchcailloch.
We go by Inchfad next, an island that I have visited by kayak from nearby Milarrochy Bay. This island stands out as being long and flat. Illegal distilleries are part of the local history, whisky was produced here and brought ashore into Balmaha and sold in Glasgow. This story inspired Balmaha businessman Sandy Fraser to recently introduce a Balmaha whisky. It is enjoyed by many in his family’s popular pub and restaurant the Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha.
Heading around Inchcailloch Island we startle some deer as we approach the sandy beach with jetty at Port Bawn on the southern end of the island. This trip has been carefully timed to visit during Bluebell season, a time when this beautiful island is at its best.
This is a good chance for me to walk around the island and get some bluebell pictures to add to the collection!
Cruise Loch Lomond run a water bus service from Luss to the island, they also cruise around these islands with trips from Balmaha. Balmaha Boatyard run a ferry on the half hour and hour to and from Inchcailloch from Balmaha.
Chris will drop you here for around an hour to give you time to explore the beach, graveyard and to climb to the islands highest point for some incredible views.
For a more detailed guide to Inchcailloch check out the link below
Clairinsh, Torrinch & Creinch Islands
Back into the boat and time to visit Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond’s largest island. Past Clairinsh and Torrinch, then Creinch rounding off a full circuit of the southern islands.
Mooring up at Inchmurrin we enjoyed some lunch in the hotel. This is owned by the Scott family, who also have some holiday accommodation and a working farm. There is an on-demand ferry which departs from a jetty located close to the Arden roundabout off of the A82.
After lunch we took the short walk to the other side of the island to see the ruined castle. Like many of the other islands there was deer hunting and this castle at some point would have been the hunting lodge.
From Inchmurrin we returned to Portnellan Farm having had an incredible time visiting the southern islands of Loch Lomond.
Hopefully the photographs help to show the beauty of Loch Lomond and its islands. The freedom that the boat provides allows you the chance to explore places and views that you wouldn’t normally see up close.
Chris is passionate about what he does, a good knowledge of the loch and islands combined with an enthusiastic and friendly nature.
Next it’s the islands in the north of the loch. Can’t wait!
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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