Balmaha is guarded by a dinosaur. The dinosaur is
disguised as a hill - Conic Hill. It sits above the tiny village of Balmaha, offering great views out over Loch Lomond and all its little
islands. If you look closely at Conic Hill from any angle, you'll see
the big rounded humped back of the beast. And if you stand on its back
looking down at Balmaha and Loch Lomond you'll see the humped neck
dribble down into the waters of Loch Lomond as if for a drink. Those
little islands are not what they first appear to be. Watch closely and
they will move.
The view from the top of Conic Hill is wonderful. It's got to be one of
the best views from a small hill in all of Scotland. We're talking some
seriously scenic stuff here. I think it's the islands that do it, that
and their position in the loch. Each island has a name. There's
Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch and Inchcailloch all making up the strange
dinosaur-like neck of the beast, and others like Inchlonaig, Inchmoan
and Clairinsh, the latter looking strangely like a fish on the map.
Inchcailloch was the burial-place of the MacGregors.
There's not a great deal to Balmaha: some boats, a superb inn, a Loch
Lomond & The Trossachs National Park visitor centre, and that's about
it. But it's all you need. Walkers on the West Highland Way who stop at
Balmaha will pretty much find themselves utterly captivated by the
scenery, the loch, and that giant snoozing beast.