Earliest inhabitants arrived during the New Stone Age - 3500BC
The earliest inhabitants of the Loch shores were the Caledoni tribes or "people of the woods." Traces of their movements and culture can be gathered today if we care to take a close look at the many burial cairns, free standing stones, stone circles, and old cup and ring carvings which still bound the area. The cairns, the stones and the markings belong to the Neolithic period.
The Iron Age
Indications of the quality of life at a later date can be gathered from a study of the Iron Age settlements, a perfect example being the Cashel at Strathcashel Point, on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. There are also various hilltop forts or "duns" which dot the area. A visit to these sites is always well worthwhile, if only to enjoy the views which most of them command.
Evidence of Roman Exploration
With the advance of the Roman Armies, the Caledoni Tribes were pushed north of Antonine's Wall which was built between the Forth and the Clyde, cutting Scotland in two. Remains of the last Roman Fort on the line, at Old Kilpatrick, seven miles south-east of Balloch are still apparent today.
With the departure of the Romans in the third century A.D. the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde came into being. This kingdom embraced the loch entirely stretching south beyond Carlisle, with Dalriada, Kingdom of the Celts, to the north west and Pictland to the east. A stone, Clach Nam Breatann (stone of the Britons) marking the junction of these three ancient kingdoms still stands in the lonely Glen Falloch today.
Irish missionaries bring Christian teaching in the sixth century AD. Christianity had taken root and one of the first martyrdoms for faith in this country took place at Luss where Saint Kessog was martyred for the cause. In much later years, while road improvements were being made in the area, a stone effigy, believed to be that of the Saint was found buried. This stone which is of great antiquity, now rests for all to see in the local church at Luss.
The Norman Invasion
With the Norman invasion, the Earldom of Lennox, embracing the Loch and all of modern Dunbartonshire was created. The all-powerful Earls of Lennox existed through until 1748, and during this period many shades of character grappled with power.
The ill-fated Lord Darnley was one of these Earls, another was the Earl Duncan, who with his sons and father were all beheaded after the restoration of James I. His widow Isabella lived out her remaining years, withdrawn to Inchmurrin stronghold, the ruins of which still stand today.