Ownership: National Trust
Height: 85 Meters
Length: 1.34 Kilometers
"The island of the Old Woman"
Old Name: Inchcailleach, (The Island of Nuns)
Lying close to the shore at Balmaha, this is one of the most accessible of Loch Lomond's islands. once recognized as being sacred this mysterious island has a long association with Christianity. In 717AD, the missionary, St Kentigema arrived from Ireland and settled on Inchcailloch. In the 12th century a church was built dedicated to her memory and for the proceeding five centuries people from the mainland rowed across both for worship and to bury their dead. Although the church was abandoned in 1670, the graveyard was used until 1947.
The remains of farm dwellings can be seen on Inchcailloch, although this livelihood would appear to have died out around 1770. Subsequently the land was planted with oak trees for the production of Pyroligineous Acid which was used in industry. processing was carried out at the Liquor Works, at Balmaha. this building is today the Highland Way Inn.
Today Inchcailloch is a delight to the 20,000 visitors who annually wind their way round the islands carefully maintained nature trail enjoying some of Scotland finest scenery.
The graveyard on the island was also used by the Clan MacGregor, some of Rob Roy's ancestors are buried here.
A slender crosslet formed with care
A cubit's length in measure due
The shafts and limbs were rods of yew
Whose parents in Inch Cailliach wave
Their Shadows o'er Clan Alpine's grave,
And, answering Lomond's breezes deep,
Soothe many a chieftain's endless sleep.
"Scott, in Lady of the Lake"
The island can be reached by the ferry service from Balmaha Boat Yard.
Camping is allowed on the island at the southern tip in Port Bawn, during the summer months a warden is on site 24 hours. Toilet a washing facilities are available to fee paying campers.