This walk of four miles starts at Lomond Shores Car Park in the lovely setting of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
By car take the A82 along the Great Western Boulevard, signed Crianlarich, and on approaching Balloch take the A811 at the Loch Lomond roundabout and follow the signs for Lomond Shores.
The walk leaves the carpark, turns left round the shop building and immediately opposite the front of the shops is the impressive view (pictured) of Loch Lomond with usually some small boats in the water and the magnificent Ben Lomond near the top of the Loch. There is also the lovely Maid of the Loch in the foreground.
The walk passes further attractions such as the Drumkinnon Tower with the Loch Lomond Sea Life Aquarium on the left and then leaves the Shores to cross the road onto a tarmac path alongside the River Leven, signed “John Muir Way”. From this path a short worthwhile detour is to walk along some of the narrower riverside paths where a variety of moored river boats can be seen and also the Country Park on the other side.
At the end of the path the walk passes Sweeneys’ Cruise Ticket Office and turns left onto the road bridge over the river.
Still on the John Muir Way, the walk turns left at the side of Balloch House Hotel and follows the river path into the Country Park. It continues along the riverside with views across to the Maid of the Loch and as the river opens up into the Loch views over to Cameron House and the yacht marina at Duck Bay.
The path swings round, leaves the lochside and climbs uphill to Balloch Castle which overlooks the Loch and marina from a higher location. It is a prominent Tudor Gothic building, built as a residence in 1808 by John Buchanan, a Glasgow merchant, and purchased along with substantial ‘Park’ grounds in 1915 by the Corporation of the City of Glasgow to provide publically accessible open space.
Since 1975 the Country Park has been leased to the council and the building is currently being renovated through part funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The walk then heads south and soon leaves the John Muir Way to take the path on the right and at the “7” sign turns right to the walled garden ahead.
The small entrance gate to the right of the wall is permanently locked and the main entrance is round the left hand side of the wall. The gardens inside are very attractive, well laid out and maintained and has numerous seats from where to sit and take in the beauty of the plants and peace of the garden.
Leaving the garden, the walk follows the main path to the left then turns right and heads towards the barrier to exit the park and into the carpark. The path to the right leads down to the riverside and rejoins the outer route. There are a number of places to eat and shop in Balloch at the end of the walk.