Jules Verne (1828-1905)
French novelist Jules Verne, regarded by many as the pioneer of modern science fiction, visited the Trossachs and Loch Lomond in 1859, recording his impressions of the landscapes of these areas in a diary. He later called upon these reflections when writing ‘The Underground City’. This novel – part romance and part supernatural thriller - is set in the fictional community of the New Aberfoyle mine located beneath Loch Katrine. The steamboat SS Rob Roy, which Verne describes in his work, was, at the time of his visit, the ‘real-life’ cruising vessel on the loch.
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Scott promoted a new image of Scotland as a place full of Highland wildness and the vanished romance of the clans. He put the Trossachs firmly on the visitor map after the publication of the verse-narrative ‘The Lady of the Lake’ in 1810, filling the story with identifiable features in the Trossachs area -hills like Ben Ledi and Ben Venue, and features around Loch Katrine. Visitors can still see Ellen's Isle and the site of now covered over Silver Strand. Some places mentioned in the later Rob Roy (1817) can be seen from the 'Sir Walter Scott' steamer on Loch Katrine. These include Coire na Uriusgean, 'the goblins' cave' near where Rob Roy's band hid cattle, and Glengyle, just visible at the far west end, Rob's birthplace.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)
Gerard Manley Hopkins, a brilliant scholar, became a priest and burned all his early poems. He worked in several parts of the country, including Glasgow in 1881. It was during this time he is likely to have travelled by Loch Lomond and seen the foaming burn which tumbles steeply down from the ‘hanging valley’ of Glen Arklet to reach Loch Lomond at Inversnaid. This is the name given to his famous poem containing the well-known lines ‘What would the world be, once bereft / Of wet and of wildness ? / Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet ;/ Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.’