LOCH-LOMOND has with great justice been styled, ‘the Queen of Scottish lakes.’ The soft smiling beauty of some portions, and the splendid magnificence of other parts of its scenery, are surpassed by no other sheet of inland water in Europe, – not even by the celebrated Lago di Como of Italy. – or the poet-haunted Windermere of the sister-kingdom.
The present view of Loch-Lomond is taken from Mount Misery, which rises from the margin of the lake, near its southern extremity, about three miles above the Ballochferry. Mount Misery belongs to the Kilpatrick range of hills, which terminate in its neighbourhood. How this locale should have obtained its present appellation, we cannot pretend to tell; but never surely was epithet more unhappily applied; for to any tourist desirous of feasting his eyes and soul with one of the most glorious scenes in nature, and of concentrating his recollections of Loch-Lomond into one magnificent whole, we could offer no juster advice than that he should endeavour to take his last parting view of the lake from this point. The hills indeed have not the true Highland aspect, but they are softly swelling, and have a green and pastoral appearance; and the open valleys smiling in the sunshine, everywhere present scenes o calm and quiet beauty. Numerous splendid mansions, with their richly wooded grounds, are studded around the shores, at the bases of the hills, or the openings of the valleys, adding the beauties of cultivation and art to those of nature. But it is the inconceivable variety afforded by numberless projecting headlands and receding bays, and by all the crowd of fairy islands which lie scattered over the surface of the lake,
“As quietly as spots of sky
Among the evening clouds,”
which forms the distinguishing charm of the whole and presents an inexhaustible source of pleasure and delight to the cultivated tourist. Towards the north end of the lake the scene becomes very different, and acquires a really Highland character. Here the lake is narrowed to the appearance of a river, winding amidst bold and rugged mountains, which, in some places, seem as if they were about to close over it. The hills rise to a greater height, and their bare and serrated tops present a bold and broken outline, often enveloped in mist and clouds, and for a great part of the year covered with snow. The valleys are deep and narrow, and their sides are everywhere marked by the rough and rugged beds of mountain-torrents.
Mount Misery forms the foreground, on the left side, of this magnificent view. To the right is seen a part of the low grounds, on the margin of the lake, nearer Balloch. The island nearest the foreground, on the left, and of which only a small portion is seen, is Tor-Inch; and between it and the hills on the background is Inch-Fad of the Long Island. Inch Cailliach, or the Nun’s Island, on which the parish-church of Buchanan at one time stood, is to the east of these islands, and consequently does not appear in our engraving; neither does the small island of Clair-Inch, from which the once powerful clan Buchanan took their slughorn, or war-cry, – ‘Clair-Inch! Clair-Inch!’ A little to the right of Inch-Fad and Tor-Inch, is Inch-Grange; and to the right of it again, appears Inch-Cruin or the Round Island. In the farther distance, and to the right of Inch-Cruin, is Buck-Inch. Inch-Murrin, the largest of the islands, occupies the middle distance from the right side to the centre of the engraving. This island is well-wooded, and now forms the deer-park of the Duke of Montrose. At its south-west end are the ruins of an ancient castle, long the principal messuage of the Earldom of Lennox. Behind the eastern extremity of Inch-Murrin, and in the centre of the engraving, is Inch-Moan or the Peat Island, so called from being covered with moss; and in the farther distance from these islands, is Inch-Tavanach, rising into two hills, and nearly covered with natural oak-coppice. In the background, towering above the other hills, appears Ben-Lomond; and in the extreme distance in the centre of the picture, Ben-Voirlich, one of the Arroquhar hills. The hills which form the distance on the right, are those above the village and enclosing the glen of Luss.