East Loch Lomond
East Loch Lomond is home to Balmaha, one of Loch Lomond's most popular destinations. This pretty village with its beautiful bay is also a great base to explore nearby places and scenery. Highlights include Inchcailloch Island, Drymen, The Tom Weir Statue, Conic Hill, Milarrochy Bay and Ben Lomond itself further along the banks of Loch Lomond at Rowardennan.
Watch the (below the map) for a short introduction to the highlights of East Loch Lomond.
VIDEO - Explore East Loch Lomond
VIDEO - The Balmaha Experience
Drymen is the gateway village to East of Loch Lomond and a typical first night stop for West Highland Way walkers.
The heart of the village is its green, where in the summer you can see 'Piping in the Square' with performances from a local pipe band on Thursday nights. The Village Square is also the official starting point of the Rob Roy Way long distance walk and home to The Clachan, one of Scotland's oldest pubs.
Scotland’s longest running agricultural show, The Drymen Show, is held each May.
It's easy to see why Balmaha is so popular with visitors to Loch Lomond. The picturesque bay is home to a number of boats, including the wooden post boat that has been used to deliver the post to Loch Lomond’s islands for many years. You can see the story of Sandy MacFarlane of Balmaha Boatyard in the video below.
The Tom Weir Statue sits next to the bay. The statue of the famous mountaineer and TV broadcaster, was introduced on what would have been his 100th birthday in December 2014. Over the following years over 300,000 people have visited Weir’s Rest, with many taking a 'selfie photo' with them and Tom.
The Oak Tree Inn is an award winning hotel and restaurant. It also has St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice cream parlour and a village shop, the latter is very useful for essentials if you're walking the West Highland Way. The Oak Tree Inn was the first business in the National Park to produce authentic Loch Lomond Ice Cream (Loch Lomond Luxury Ice Cream) and to roast its own coffee (Loch Lomond Coffee Co). On a warm day sit outside and enjoy good food and drink.
Loch Lomond Rocks! are based nearby, producing pictures made out of pebbles and stones from the beaches. Their story is told in the video below.
VIDEO: Park People - Sandy MacFarlane
VIDEO: Loch Lomond Rocks!
Conic Hill can be reached from the far end of Balmaha’s public car park. The climb takes you through the forest, then up steps that are set into the hill. Once you clear the forest you will begin to see magnificent views, which get even better as you climb higher.
These views of the loch, Ben Lomond and the islands are arguably the best in the National Park. You can also see the impact of the Highland Boundary Line which runs right across Scotland, cutting through this part of the park. This is where the lowlands meet the highlands.
Conic Hill is on the route of the West Highland Way and for walkers heading over from Drymen this is where they will get their first views of Loch Lomond.
A short ferry crossing from Balmaha Boatyard is Inchailloch Island. Described as the jewel in the crown of Loch Lomond, this small island is a nature reserve that can easily explored in a few hours.
At the highest point of the island you can see some of the other islands on the loch, with Ben Lomond in the distance. There is a sandy beach at Port Bawn at the southern end of the island. Also on the island is an ancient burial ground.
Visit Inchcailloch Island in the spring when the bluebells are out (usually mid May). Autumn is another good time to visit, for the vivid autumnal colours on the island.
Heading by foot or car from Balmaha towards Rowardennan, you will find Milarochy Bay. It’s famous tree, just in the water is much photographed.
Cashel, is an initiative to restore and regenerate Scotland’s native woods. There are various options for walks, depending on how energetic you are feeling and time that you have available.
The Camping Management Scheme is in operation along the eastern shores. However, Sallochy Campsite operated by the Forestry Commission is one of the authorised sites, this is very popular so check availability ahead of your visit.
In1995 the area around Ben Lomond was designated as a war memorial, commemorated by a sculpture next to the car park. Ben Lomond Memorial Park's Rangers are very knowledgeable and organise seasonal events and history trails. There is also a youth hostel and hotel at Rowardennan, with a water bus service from its grounds that connects with Tarbet. The West Highland Way route continues along the banks of Loch Lomond to Inversnaid.