The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond
My mother's maiden name was Douglas. We have ancestors in Scotland, somewhere around Loch Lomond in the county of Dunbartonshire. The tune, "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond", has some special resonance for me. It makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew and homesick for a place I've never been.
This tune is often the final piece of music played after a show in Scotland. They remember, too,
The song is from a highlander who was captured during the 1745 uprising of Scottish against the English invaders in Scotland. The songwriter was a Jacobite. He was captured by the English, and the English tortured the Jacobites by saying one would live and one would die--they had to chose themselves who would live and who would die.
O you'll take the high road and I'll take the low road
And I'll be in Scotland before ye
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond lies on the border between the Scottish Highlands and the Scottish lowlands. This area is Highland in sympathy. The Highlanders have been traditionally independent, remaining true to their Celtic roots, and Gaelic language. They resisted the Protestant Reformation and the unification of Scotland with England, remaining Catholic (Jacobite), while many Lowlanders converted to Protestantism. Before the 19th century this area was home to a much larger population, but due to the outlawing of the traditional Highland way of life following the Second Jacobite Uprising and the infamous Highland Clearances, the area is now one of the most sparsely populated in Europe.
Robbie Burns, On a Visit to Loch Lomond
From Mossgiel on 7th July, 1787 in a letter to John Richmond, friend from Edinburgh, Burns included the following ...
"... I have lately been rambling over by Dumbarton and Inverary, and running a drunken race on the side of Loch Lomond with a wild Highlandman; his horse, which had never known the ornaments of iron or leather, zigzagged across before my old spavin’d hunter, whose name is Jenny Geddes, and down came the Highlandman, horse and all, and down came Jenny and my bardship; so I have got such a skinful of bruises and wounds, that I shall be at least four weeks before I dare venture on my journey to Edinburgh...
The New Loch Lomond National Park
The new Loch Lomond National Park has ensured protection for what is not only Britain's largest freshwater lake, but one of its most beautiful.
West of the lake are the steep Arrochar Alps, toegerther with scores of much less visited lower hills, stretching down to the seacoast. This means there are walking routes for all levels of ability, from easy rambles to strenuous hikes to mountainous ascents.
Largest Lake in Mainland Britain
Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish loch, lying on the Highland Boundary fault, between the western lowlands of Central Scotland and the southern Highlands. It is the largest lake in mainland Britain, by surface area, and contains over 60 islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh water island in the British Isles. It is 24 miles long and varies in width between 3/4 miles and 5 miles wide. It's average depth is about 120 ft.