The 1)Bonny Banks of 2)loch Lomond: Rain or Shine 苏格兰洛蒙德湖：晴雨总相宜
Murky, mysterious, 4)unearthly! The view from our room was utterly captivating. A light rain was falling, creating a hazy 5)film over the landscape, and a mist hung heavily over the morning sky, like a lingering kiss from a dream. The stillness of the loch was broken only by the soft ripples made by ghostly geese, as they floated around. The first day of a long awaited romantic holiday at Loch Lomond had finally arrived and, even in the rain, I felt enchanted.
Most of Scotland’s lakes lie in deep Highland valleys. Inland, freshwater Loch Lomond is Britain’ largest lake. It is 23 miles long and 5 miles at its widest point. The northern end of Loch Lomond is steep-sided, and very deep. But to the south the lake becomes broader, shallow, and is dotted with wooded islands.
We visited the newly created Loch Lomond Shores National Park Gateway Center, which was just a 10-minute stroll from our hotel. Nestled into the most southernmost corner of the park, it has a position allowing for glorious views across the water, to 6)Ben Lomond—a 3,000-foot grey, rocky mountain, dominating the skyline.
The Gateway Center was filled with plenty of things to do, including restaurants, outdoor-equipment shops, canoe and bike rentals, and even its own giant cinema screen, housed in Drumkinnon Tower. Designed by one of Scotland’s leading architects, David Page, the tall circular tower features a 40-minute film revealing the history of the famous song “On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.” Immortalized by countless Scottish 7)bards, it may sound like a happy song at first. Yet, the story behind it is a heartbreaking one.
Written at the time of the 1745 Scottish 8)Jacobite uprising, it tells the story of two Scottish bro-thers, who were captured by the English soldiers, and thrown into 9)Carlisle jail. One of the brothers was to be sentenced to death for his part in the revolt, while the other was to be released. The younger brother had a sweetheart from the area around Loch Lomond. But the elder had a family to take care of. And so, the younger one chose death.
According to an old 10)Celtic belief, people who happen to die far away from their homeland, would return via an underground pass used by the spirits, and called 11)The Low Road.
As luck would have it, the execution and release of the two prisoners were both scheduled for the same time. The freed man was allowed to go back home, taking the normal road, also known as 12)The High Road. His sibling, however, upon being exe-cuted, would be transported back to Loch Lomond instantly, and therefore, would arrive at home first.
You’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland 13)afore14)ye
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the Bonny Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond.
I’ll admit to shedding a tear or two, while my friend Ian, an outdoor enthusiast, found the majestic views filmed by helicopter over the loch far more impressive. The restaurant on the top floor of the tower 15)boasts 16)panoramic views, and we marveled at the sight, while spooning a hearty bowl of carrot and 17)coriander soup, to fortify us for the damp walk back to our hotel.
Later, we were eager to explore the Scottish Hills, and the blue sky and warm sunshine of our third day provided a 18)stunning 19)backdrop to our picnic lunch at the top of nearby Conic Hill. It was recommended as a “cracking little climb” by the 20)concierge, who also arranged for us packed lunch, to be enjoyed at the peak.
We reached the peak of this 1,100 foot hill after about an hour climb, and collapsed on a spot of 21)springy 22)heather to enjoy our lunch. Shaggy sheep dotted the vibrant green hillsides, their bleating calls echoing in the distance. Sunshine danced across the deep blue waters of the loch, as tiny sailboats swished along with the waves. Cruise ships meandered over to the forested islands, where tiny 23)hamlets of houses were clustered along the shore.
I could see why we weren’t the only ones to become enchanted with this place. Loch Lomond had also bewitched Sir 24)Walter Scott, the famous author of Rob Roy and Lady of the Lake, who set both of his best-selling novels right here, on the banks of Loch Lomond.
The natural beauty of Loch Lomond entrances you, whatever the weather. However, with an ave-rage of 250 days of rainfall each year, it’s more likely you’ll find rain than sunshine during your visit. Yet, although the sunshine provides it with a glorious setting, to experience the full mystery and romance of Loch Lomond, you also must see it as it shines in the rain.