This article originally appeared in UKELA's journal, e-law
Once again another successful weekend for UKELA’s Wild Law Special Interest group at Balmaha on the south-western shores of Loch Lomond,  just north of Glasgow. An enthusiastic group of participants assembled at the Bunkhouse, Balmaha, having travelled there from all directions of the compass.  The purpose of the weekend was to visit and learn about  Scotland's first national park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the law surrounding it, issues of day to day management and problems faced by the dedicated National Park team. 
As always, the value and fun of a Wild Law weekend lies in getting on those boots, tramping over the ground, studying the lie of the land, the plants and animal life, and climbing the hills for stunning views of surrounding wild landscapes. Loch Lomond sits on the geological fault between the green and fertile lowlands of the south and the harsh and rugged highlands of the north. The loch is a single huge piece of water, but it has multiple ecosystems - shallow and warm in the south along with the marshlands formed by the mouth of the River Endrick, but deep and cold in the north. Round the sides  of the loch the landowners have been quietly consolidating and aligning their management to enhance the native species and ecological reconstruction of the  landscape.
Visits included the island, Inchcailloch, which was small but intensely green from its full tree cover. Inchcailloch once carried a significant human population and deep in the island woodlands we were taken to an ancient cemetery with grass-shrouded church remains. No one lives on the island nowadays and it is given over to wildlife, with many deer.  After that everyone climbed to the summit of Conic Hill (361m/1184ft) just behind. The reward was a stunning all-round view from the very stones of the Highland Fault Line that could be  seen stretching far to the southwest and to the island of Arran, proposed as the venue for next year's Wild Law weekend.
During the evening we heard from Helen McDade about the John Muir Trust, its aims and ambitions. Named after the Dunbar-born pioneer of  American wilderness protection, the JMT is a UK charity with over 10,000 members dedicated to the protection of wild land for both nature and people. It owns and manages large tracts of wild land in Scotland. Under Helen's guidance, there was a discussion of issues affecting wild land and wilderness, including the hot
topic of wind farms.
The next excursion was up Ben Venue  (727m/2386ft) in the nearby Trossachs involving a suitably wild-land-experience
hike to the summit, which provided fine wilderness views stretching far into the misty snow-dotted distances. The keen-eyed soon spotted the wind turbines in the east. 
The weekend ended with rain, but the memories were of blue and green, and the love of wildness and wilderness, and friendships, had been rekindled afresh.





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