Round Britain: Glendaruel to Luss

Waking to a very cloudy morning we left the campsite and headed south on the A886 through Glendaruel. Kilmodan Church was named after Saint Modan, an early saint associated with the area.

A collection of medieval carved stones are housed in a small building in the churchyard.

Further on, we turned onto the B836 which runs around the head of Loch Scriven before passing the Tarsan Dam. It then continues down Glen Lean to Clachaig and then joins the road down to Dunoon. A ferry runs from here to Gourock.

There is an old building on the pier

and hazy views over the water.

Returning north along the coast we came to Holy Loch and Lazaretto Point, a war memorial.

Heading north, the A815 enters the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. We then stopped at Benmore Botanic Garden which is one of the gardens run by the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. Close to the entrance are giant redwoods.

A little further on is an avenue of them which is currently closed while work is going to revitalise the soil.

We saw a red squirrel but it disappeared before I could get my telephoto lens out. The squirrel observatory and the Fernery do not open until 11am despite the garden opening at 10am. We walked around some of the garden.

At this time of year there are few flowers

but we did see some fungi

and lots of lichen.

The estate was gifted to the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh in 1928 and became its first regional garden having previously been owned by a Greenock sugar magnate and then an Edinburgh brewer. The Golden Gates were the entrance to Benmore House which is now an Outward Bound Centre. They were exhibited at the Paris Exhibition in 1878 and were restored in recent years.

There is a pond

and many other areas that we did not have time to explore on this occasion. After grabbing a coffee at the café, we continued north along the east side of Loch Eck which had several warning signs along the road telling drivers to look out for swans on the road. We only saw several pheasants. At Strachur we returned to Loch Fyne and carried on the A83 and A82 to our next campsite at Luss which sits on the west side of Loch Lomond. Today the summit of Ben Lomond was hidden by clouds.

Luss is a conservation village. Occupation of the village dates back to medieval times, but much of what you see today was created in the 18th and 19th centuries to house workers from the nearby slate quarries. St Kessog, an Irish missionary, arrived around 1,500 years ago. At this time Luss was called Clachan Dhu (the dark village). He was martyred and his body embalmed with sweet herbs. Legends claim that sweet herbs grew over his grave. Lus is Gaelic for herb so that is suggested as how the village got its name. The current church was built in 1875 but the graveyard is much older, the earliest stones dating from the 7th or 8th century. We could not look around much on the day we arrived as there were several events going on so we settled into the van for a quiet afternoon.