On day 22, the Olympic torch will be making its way up north from Glasgow to Inverness. The first stage of this 120-mile(ish) journey will take the torch up the side of Loch Lomond, right through the Trossachs National Park.
The park is an area of around 720 square miles, stuffed to bursting with scenic lochs and mountains (among them 21 Munros, if you’re into collecting mountains), including the eponymous Trossachs range. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic Na Trosaichean, which means “A bristly place” – not unsuitable for the majestic but harsh Scottish landscape. The most famous loch in the park is Loch Lomond, whose beauty and grandeur has been inspiring writers of prose, poetry and song for centuries.
Nearby Loch Katrine inspired Sir Walter Scott (a frequent visitor to the Trossachs) to write his famous poem, The Lady of the Lake.
|The rose is fairest when ’t is budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.
The rose is sweetest wash’d with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalm’d in tears.
|Lady of the Lake. Canto iv. Stanza 1.|
Should the muse need a little help, the area also contains a dozen whisky distilleries!
My wildcat shifter novella Snared is set in Callander, a small town right on the edge of the Trossachs National Park where Englishman Martin Lowrie stops on a walking holiday.
Here’s the blurb, and a scenic excerpt:
When Martin Lowrie rescues a wildcat from a snare, he thinks a few scratches and a tetanus jab are the worst consequences he’ll have to face. But then he meets the enigmatic and strangely compelling Calum. He spends the night with the handsome, unsettling Irishman and discovers Calum’s secret: he’s the wildcat Martin rescued, in human form. But Calum’s not the only werecat in the village, and the others aren’t so keen to risk Martin revealing their secret, no matter how much Calum wants to protect Martin from harm.
Martin was feeling a lot better about life by the time he clomped back into the village that evening, his boots somewhat weighed down by a thick coating of good Scottish mud. He’d made it a fair way along toward Strathyre, taking in theFallsofLenyalong the way. The recent rain had swollen the river, and the falls were at the height of both splendour and violence, a vast mass of water crashing with deafening force around a rocky outcrop that looked much as if a giant had carelessly tossed a boulder into the middle of the torrent. A few spindly trees clung bravely to the crag, showing the rugged determination to survive that seemed to characterize all the inhabitants of these harsh lands.
Round about Ben Leny the skies had miraculously cleared, a picture-postcard view over Loch Lubnaig appearing quite suddenly, like a desert mirage. The sunlight was glinting with almost painful brightness off the mirror-like surface of the loch. It was one of those magical moments in time, one of those memories that kept you going when the rain was soaking through your so-called waterproofs and you’d just realized you’d taken a wrong turning two hills back. Perfect peace, and the knowledge that here was something far greater than you were. That was why Martin loved the countryside so much; there wasn’t a mountain or lake in the world that gave a toss whether you were gay or straight.
Writer of (mainly) m/m romance, and fearless killer of bunnies.
Find me at: www.jlmerrow.com