In the story of an area as distinct as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, inevitably certain historical characters will impact on the way we think about the area today. Sir Walter Scott invented a view of Scotland that was symbolised by The Trossachs. Rob Roy Macgregor became the archetypical clansman, while even the Romantic poets influenced the way visitors interpreted and enjoyed the landscapes. Later, writers such as Tom Weir and Ben Humble celebrated the wild spaces within the area - and thus also helped visitors make the most of what today’s National Park has to offer.
St Kessog (c. 5th century)
Kessog may have been born around 460AD and legends tell of this saint being especially holy even as a child. He came to the Luss area from Ireland to build a monastery on the island Inchtavannach right at the start of the 6th century. This was a strategically important site, close to the boundaries of Britons, Scots and Picts’ territories. He was martyred around 520-30AD, possibly murdered by Druids. He is sometimes described as Scotland’s first patron saint. As part of this cult, his memory was evoked, it is said, by King Robert before the Battle of Bannockburn. The Colquhouns were the hereditary protectors (dewars) of his shrines, and some say are descended from him.
St Mirren (6/7th century)
Though mostly associated with Paisley Abbey, as well as Paisley’s football club, St Mirren or Mirin is said to be also commemorated in the island Inchmurrin on Loch Lomond – that is, Mirin’s island. (Though some say it means innis na muirn – island of hospitality.)
St Fillan (8th century)
This saint came originally from Ireland, eventually settling in Strathfillan, where a church was built. He is particularly associated with a holy pool on the river with curative powers for the insane. The site is close to the route of today’s West Highland Way.