This is an activity to use on the island of Inchcailloch on Loch Lomond, in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
Who for?
Scottish Curriculum for Excellence - Level 2 & 3
Who by?
This activity is self-guided using the resources below.

Activity aims:

To help students discover the cultural heritage of this uninhabited island which is part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. Worksheets are provided to allow pupils to act as 'island detectives' using the church ruins and burial ground to reveal the island's history and cultural legacy.

Students will learn about:

  • the history of the island - who settled here first and for how long
  • what the island's name means
  • how burial grounds can tell a story about previous inhabitants
  • importance of using original sources (like grave headstones) in historical research
  • coats of arms and mottos - and their meanings/history

What you will need:

Resources to borrow from Balmaha Visitor Centre (arrange in advance):

  1. Calculators
  2. Clipboards
  3. Audio guides (numbers limited)

Resources to bring:

  1. Pencils
  2. Copies of the worksheets
  3. Suitable clothing

Activity plans, worksheets and map

There are two activities in this PDF complete with 'how to run' the activity and worksheets as follows:

  1. burial ground activity - approx 30 mins
  2. headstone detectives activity - approx 30 mins
  3. follow-up questions and time-fillers

Also included in the PDF are:

  1. history of the churchyard
  2. map of the burial ground

Download the 8-page document here:


Planning your visit

Book your ferry to the island:

Ferries to the island run all year round (weather permitting), either from the nearby Balmaha Boat Yard in Balmaha or from Luss on the western shore of the Loch (these ferries only run April-Oct).



Contact the Balmaha Visitor Centre to arrange to borrow resources:


You can also write to them at:

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, Carrochan, Carrochan Road, Balloch, G83 8EG

Tel: 01389 722600

See the National Park Authority's website for further information:


Curriculum links (Scotland):

Subject area: social science (people, past events and societies)

SOC 2-01a – I can use primary and secondary sources selectively to research events in the past.

SOC 3-01a – I can use my knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view.

SOC 2-04a – I can compare and contrast a society in the past with my own and contribute to a discussion of similarities and differences.

SOC 3-04a – I can explain the similarities and differences between the lifestyles, values and attitudes of people in the past by comparing Scotland with a society in Europe or elsewhere.

SOC 2-06a – I can discuss why people and events from a particular time in the past were important, placing them in a historical sequence.

Subject area: literacy (writing and creating texts)

ENG 2-30a – As I write for different purposes and readers, I can describe and share my experiences, expressing what they made me think about and how they made me feel.

ENG 3-30a – I can create a convincing impression of a personal experience for my reader, sharing my feelings and reactions to the changing circumstances with some attempt at reflection.

Subject area:health and wellbeing (physical wellbeing)

HWB 2-16a / HWB 3-16a – I am learning to assess and manage risk, to protect myself and others, and to reduce the potential for harm where possible.

HWB 2-18a/ HWB 3-18a – I know and can demonstrate how to travel safely.

HWB 2-25a/ HWB 3-25a – I am experiencing enjoyment and achievement on a daily basis by taking part in different kinds of energetic physical activities of my choosing, including sport and opportunities for outdoor learning, available at my place of learning and in the wider community.

Subject area:health and wellbeing (social wellbeing)

HWB 2-12a / HWB 3-12a – Representing my class, school and/or wider community encourages my self-worth and confidence and allows me to contribute to and participate in society.