Before returning to the Scottish Borders our family spent a number of years in Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. Argyll is a place of dramatic scenery, both soft and wild, majestic hills, fathomless lochs, desolate moors, lively seas, indented landscapes and isles with an identity of their own. Indeed Argyll boasts twenty six inhabited islands and a coastline longer than that of France. Parts are undoubtedly Highland in culture and outlook, parts reflect the central belt of Scotland, parts are a curious amalgam of both.
Loch Lomond and Loch Ness have long been the headline-grabbers of Scottish lochs. The one basks in an air of romance because of the perennially popular yet enigmatic traditional song with its reference to Loch Lomond’s bonnie, bonnie banks. The other is best known for its enigmatic monster called Nessie.
Yet to those who stay near it and to many of those who visit, Loch Eck, surrounded by dramatic hills that reflect in its often mirror-surfaced water, is equal to or surpasses both Loch Lomond and Loch Ness in its rugged beauty and tranquillity imbued with a brooding sense of history.
In Loch Eck’s chill depth survive Arctic Char and Powan, two species of fish now rare in Scotland, while in summer pleasure boats rake the surface and children from a nearby outdoor centre learn to canoe.
And while Loch Eck doesn’t boast a monster there are tales of a water sprite so apart from deer and a multitude of wildlife, you never know what else you might just see.