YOU may know it due to the song ‘The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond’, but the eponymous loch is in fact the largest expanse of fresh water in the whole of Britain.
At 27.5 square miles, the loch is 5 miles wide at its broadest point - but there are still two lochs longer than Loch Lomond. Loch Awe and Loch Ness are longer, with Loch Ness and Loch Morar both measuring deeper than Loch Lomond.
The popular song is said to have been written in 1746 by a homesick Jacobite languishing in a Carlisle prison. The story goes that the British would play games with captive Jacobites, choosing two and deciding to kill one and let the other live. A popular legend is that the original Jacobean author of the song was the prisoner elected to die, with the ‘low road’ as in ‘You tak’ the high road an’ I’ll tak’ the low road’ referring in fact, to the passage to the underworld.
Incidentally, numerous bands and musicians have covered the song, most noticeably RunRig, who have used it to close their live concerts for around 25 years. Others who have covered it include AC/DC (who have Scottish roots), who released an instrumental version called ‘Fling Thing’, and Bill Haley and His Comets, who recorded ‘Rock Lomond,’ a popular rock and roll version. Really.
In the loch itself, there are several species of fish - in fact, more than in any other loch in Scotland. It is thought that there are some species descended from salt-water fish, marooned in the loch after the last Ice Age.