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Millennium Forest Trail at Balmaha

Grading: moderate.

Follow the oak-lined shore of Loch Lomond and climb up on to Craigie Fort, a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the loch, its islands and Ben Lomond.

At a glance

  • Grading: moderate
  • Distance: 1¼ miles (2.1 km)
  • Path type: varied surface, including short rough rocky section. Some steep on loose gravel surface. Includes long flights of uneven rocky steps and two road crossings.
  • Allow: ¾ hour

Route description

The walk begins from the car park in the centre of Balmaha, adjacent to the National Park Visitor Centre. The path leaves from the very back of the car park. A small gap next to an information sign leads you up to a path T-junction. Turn left to follow the path through the trees close behind the car park.

Look around you as you walk along and you will see glossy-leaved Rhododendron ponticum growing here. You might have one in your garden. They add a wonderful splash of colour in late spring, but if you look carefully at the ground beneath them you’ll see that no other plant can grow in their deep shade.

Victorians introduced them from Turkey around 150 years ago and now they’re taking over the woods and crowding out the native species. They get cut back as part of the woodland’s management.

After a short stretch the path reaches the main road. Cross the road with care to continue to follow the path running parallel on the far side, heading to the right. From the path you are rewarded with your first views across the loch.

The path runs parallel to the road. When the main road swings away to the right continue onto the minor road along the loch shore. Turn right onto a steep path marked by a West Highland Way thistle marker post.

The path climbs up onto the wooded promontory of Craigie Fort. Keep right at the junction to reach the summit where an iron-age fort once stood. Little remains today except for the stunning views of Loch Lomond. Continue to follow the West Highland Way down the other side.

The path continues down to the shores of Loch Lomond. Here the West Highland Way continues northwards along the shore. To return to Balmaha turn left. The path heads round the bottom of the promontory, crossing first a bridge and then following a path cut from the rock right on the edge of the water. Looking out across the water you will see just offshore Inchcailloch island. The path passes a small jetty, turn left along the lane to return to the main road in the village. Turn right along the road to head back to the car park.

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