Loch Long

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Long, Loch (the Sinus Lemannonius of Ptolemy), a saltwater inlet on the mutual border of Cowal, Dunoon, and Lochgoilhead parishes, in Argyllshire, and Roseneath, Row, and Arrochar parishes, Dumbartonshire. An arm of the Firth of Clyde, which, but for wanting the influx of the river Clyde or of some other considerable river, would claim to be regarded as the upper firth, it opens on a line with the lower firth, immediately to the N of the mouth of Holy Loch, 5 miles WNW of Greenock, and extends 171/8 miles north-north-eastward, with a varying width of 2 miles and 2¾ furlongs. It sends off from its western side the considerable inlet of Loch Goil, and at Portincaple and Arrochar approaches to within 2 miles of the head of Gare Loch and 1¾ mile of Tarbet on Loch Lomond. Under Ardentinny, Argyll's Bowling Green, Glencroe, and the five parishes which skirt its shores, are noticed the leading features of Loch Long, which the Queen, who steamed up and down it on 17 Aug. 1847, describes as ` indeed splendid, surrounded by grand hills, with such beautiful outlines, and very green, the loch winding along most beautifully, so as to seem closed at times. ' Dorothy Wordsworth writes, under date 29 Aug. 1803, that ` this was the first sealoch we had seen. We came prepared for a new and great delight, and the first impression which William and I received, as we drove rapidly through the rain down the lawn of Arrochar, the objects dancing before us, was even more delightful than we had expected. But, as I have said, when we looked through the window, as the mists disappeared and the objects were seen more distinctly, there was less of sheltered valley comfort than we had fancied to ourselves, and the mountains were not so grand; and now that we were near to the shore of the lake, and could see that it was not of fresh water, the wreck, the broken sea-shells, and scattered sea-weed gave somewhat of a dull and uncleanly look to the whole lake, and yet the water was clear, and might have appeared as beautiful as that of Loch Lomond, if with the same pure pebbly shore. Perhaps, had we been in a more cheerful mood of mind we might have seen everything with a different eye. The stillness of the mountains, the motion of the waves, the streaming torrents, the sea-birds, the fishing boats were all melancholy; yet still, occupied as my mind was with other things, I thought of the long windings through which the waters of the sea had come to this inland retreat, visiting the inner solitudes of the mountains, and I could have wished to have mused out a summer's day on the shores of the lake. From the foot of these mountains whither might not a little barque carry one away ? Though so far inland, it is but a slip of the great ocean: seamen, fishermen, and shepherds here find a natural home. We did not travel far down the lake, but, turning to- the right through an opening of the mountains, entered Glen Croe. '-Ord. Sur., shs. 29, 37, 38, 1871

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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