In mid-July, we took the family to Scotland for almost 2 weeks. After spending a day in the city of Glasgow, we were all anxious to get away from the noise, the crowds, construction and closed streets. Prior to the trip, we had reviewed various hiking options, so on our second day in Scotland we split into 2 groups with one heading to hike Ben Lomond in Loch Lomond Park and the other went off to Conic Hill, also near Loch Lomond.
Since research indicated that Ben Lomond was a 5 to 7 hour hike which was way beyond my capabilities, I went with the Conic Hill group. Deciding not to rent a car, we knew we needed to get a train to Balloch and then a bus to our destination in Balmaha. Once in Balloch, we discovered that we had over an hour before the bus would arrive, but as we walked to the bus station we discovered Balloch Castle Country Park. What a delightful find.
Once we entered the park, we walked along a broad avenue, admiring the various vegetation along the way. We paused to study a small fairy house carved into the remains of a stump. Alongside, this house was another carving of a large acorn. We had to admire the intricate details, right down to the steps, the paneled door and the side window of this little house.
Aware that we had limited time, we decided to head towards the Walled Garden before heading back to the bus station. Along the way, we found a beautiful red and purple Fuchsia. Nearby was another interesting flower that I thought I identified later but my research pulled up a similar flower with a red stalk and this one was clearly green. (Oh well, perhaps additional research will bring up the correct name but not today.)
Soon, we arrived at the Walled Garden. Unfortunately time was short, so we only paused a brief moment before heading back towards the bus station. After 20 minutes or so, we arrived near the park information center in Balmaha. Since it was just about noon, we decided that perhaps we should have lunch at the nearby inn before beginning our journey up Conic Hill.