Luss, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Luss is a village located in Dumbartonshire (now Dunbartonshire) Scotland, on the west bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland's largest freshwater loch.

Luss was originally known as Clachan Dubh, meaning the dark village because of the surrounding mountain setting which give it less hours of sunlight. Ben Lomond, the most southerly Munro, dominates the view North over the Loch, and the Luss Hills rise to the west of the village. Luss Water flows by the village into Loch Lomond.

The modern name of Luss (Lus in Gaelic) .

HISTORY

Luss was the home of the chiefs of the Colquhoun clan. In 1241, the time of Alexander II, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, granted the lands of Colquhoun in Dunbartonshire to Humphrey of Kilpatrick. Humphrey’s son Ingram is the first person recorded as taking Colquhoun for his surname. Around 1368, Luss, on Loch Lomond, was acquired by Sir Robert Colquhoun through marriage. From then on the chiefship has been described as of Colquhoun and Luss.

Luss was raided by the thieving Clan MacGregor in 1603, leading to a bloody battle and defeat of five hundred Colquhoun men, three hundred of whom were on horseback, by four hundred MacGregor men at Glen Fruin. Over two hundred of the Colquhoun men were lost when the MacGregors, who had split into two parties, attacked from front and rear and forced the horsemen onto the soft ground of the Moss of Auchingaich. It meant the proscription of the Clan MacGregor. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the enmity between the clans was laid to rest when, at Glen Fruin on the site of the massacre, the chiefs of the Clan MacGregor and Colquhoun met and shook hands.

The parish church, of the Church of Scotland, was built in 1875 by Sir James Colquhoun, in memory of his father who was drowned in December 1873 while returning from the island of Inchlonaig with venison for his tenants. Among the church relics are an ancient stone font and an expressive medieval effigy of the St. Kessog. Saint Kessog brought Christianity to Luss in 510 AD.

In the middle of the 19th century the Colquhouns demolished the old thatched houses which made up the village, and replaced them with a group of modern cottages, described as "picturesque." Many of the cottages that distinguish Luss were originally erected to house workers in the cotton mill and slate quarries of the 18th and 19th centuries.

ATTRACTIONS

Luss is now designated a conservation village. A bypass was constructed to stop the traffic passing through it from the busy A82 trunk road.

Luss Pier is a popular starting point for boat trips on the loch, and there is also a Kiltmaker and a Bagpipe Works.

Luss became famous by being the main outdoor location for the Scottish TV drama series Take the High Road. Despite the fact that the program is no longer made, Luss still plays up its television connection, and uses its fictional name 'Glendarroch' on some of the buildings.

The village also hosts a water taxi service to Balloch, at the south of the loch, allowing visitors to transfer on into Glasgow by train or visit its shopping centre, Lomond Shores.

The Luss Highland Games are held each summer in the field between the river and the main road.

*~*~*~*~* The name Luss is considered by some to be derived from the Gaelic "Lus", a plant, although others have suggested that it comes from the French "Luce", a lily. Several stories exist about the derivation of the present name. One related to that of the Baroness MacAuslin, who died in France, whilst her husband was fighting at the siege of Tournay. Her body was brought back to Luss covered with flowers, especially the fleur-de luce. Some of the flowers grew to the surface of the grave " and became miraculously efficacious in staying a pestilence then raging through the countryside". Its is uncertain how long there has been a village at Luss, certainly a thousand years, possibly much more. Haekon of Norway undoubtedly passed through Luss in 1263. His Vikings dragged their ships over land from Arrochar to Tarbet, plundering the communities of the Islands and Loch-side. Only tantalising clues remain, like the 11th Century Viking Hog-backed grave stone now in the churchyard (at least one Viking never made it home). Glen Luss, Loch Lomond, ScotlandA settlement probably developed at he head of the glen more than two thousand years ago. Luss has changed dramatically over the centuries. Before the present cottages were built, the old style "But and Ben" (literally " Out and In") was used, which was in a similar style to the backhouses of the West and Islands. The traditional building technique had changed little since the Viking times. James Denholm, in 1804 , describes this early form of house in Luss. "the houses, in general, appear exceeding uncomfortable. They are mostly built of loose stones, perhaps with a layer of turf betwixt each row are covered with rushes; the produce of the Loch. They are likewise very low and the door, before which is a thick layer of fern, so difficult to access that a person must stoop considerably before he can enter. The interior in general corresponds to their outward appearance, being dark and often full of smoke which is discharged as plentiful out of the window and the door as the ordinary aperture." Christian Tradition Luss Church, Luss, Loch Lomond, Scotland6th Century Saint MacKessog or Kessog brought Christianity from Ireland and founded a monastery on neighboring Inchtavannach (island of the monks) in the 6th Century. He may also have built a church at Luss although no trace now remains. The monk/soldier is alleged to have been martyred at Bandry, just south of Luss in AD 520. 7th/8th Century The church yard contains many interesting stones and is well worth a visit. The earliest gravestones lie at the main entrance to the church, two slabs, each with a simple cross from the 7th or 8th century. 14th Century King Robert the Bruce granted Luss a three mile gyrth or Sanctuary in 1315 in honor of God and the Blessed Kessog. 15th Century The first record of an actual building is from 1430 when Bishop John Cameron of Glasgow built a "threekit" ( a simple thatched building) in memory of St Kessog. The overgrown remains of a building can still be seen in the churchyard. 18th Century In 1771 the second parish church was built where the present one now stands. When the site was cleared to make way for the new church some of the stones were removed and used in the construction of a cottage south of Luss, known locally as "Tombstone Cottage". In the 18th Century when the military road was being constructed a stone effigy of Saint Kessog was found in a cairn of stones and is now held in the church. 19th Century The present church was built by Sir James Colquhoun in 1875 in the memory of his farther who died along with five ghillies in a drowning accident off Inchtavannach. The church has a magnificent rafted roof of Scots pine, fine stained glass windows dedicated to Clan Colquhoun and to Sir James Lumsden, past Lord Provost of Glasgow. An effigy of medieval bishop, Robert Colquhoun of Argyll is on display. On the north wall is the so-called "Macfarlane stone", dated 1612, with is salutary reminder "after death remains virtue". The Views View from Luss Pier, Loch Lomond, Scotland.The wide vista of the southern loch can be best seen from the pier. To the north the bulk of Ben Lomond dominates the skyline. This is the most southerly of the Highland mountains and is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. To the south Conic Hill marks the geological boundary between the highlands and the lowlands. The conifer plantations to the north of Conic Hill form part of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. SOURCES: