We tend to think of islands as being far away, out in the Atlantic or other great oceans. But here in Scotland we are blessed with islands of every shape and size, some of them literally within minutes of our front doors. Yet despite being near at hand they are still islands and that magical ferry trip, no matter how long or how short, makes them special.
Take for example Inchmurrin, one of the many islands in Loch Lomond. Twenty-two of those islands have names and Inchmurrin is the largest, not only on Loch Lomond but in any freshwater loch in Britain. We were there recently on a book group outing and were fetched from the Burnfoot Jetty at Arden. The views up and down the loch on the short crossing are wonderful, and being in a small boat, sitting low in the water gives a real feeling of being at sea! Lunch was in the island restaurant, run by the Scott family, who own and farm the land and thanks to them guests are free to roam the island.
To the north-west lies mature woodland, especially alder and holly. To the south-west the ruins of the 14th century castle built by the Earls of Lennox when they fled the plague, abandoning their castle in Balloch. Although chiefly used as a hunting lodge, the castle nonetheless saw its fair share of murder and mayhem, and in the early 18th century was raided by Rob Roy during his lengthy conflict with the Marquis of Montrose. There was also a chapel dedicated to St Mirren – hence the island’s name.
The island sits along the Highland Boundary fault line and is rich in history and archaeology and makes for a delightful day out. There’s no doubt about it: you don’t have to go far in Scotland to find an island!