The name Arrochar comes from the Gaelic and Irish corruption of the Latin word aratrum, or plough and carrucate which was a measure of land between 100 and 160 acres, representing the land which could be worked by one plough team in a year.
It was not until 1249 that Arrochar and Argyll were even considered to be part of Scotland and not Norway. The Vikings, however, did not recognise this distinction and because an agreement between the kings of Scotland and Norway decreed that the Norsemen could rule anything they could sail their boats around, the area came under brief Viking rule in 1263.
In Arrochar itself, the head of the loch is marked by Shire Bridge, once the boundary between Argyll & Dumbartonshire. For centuries it was more than just a line boundary on a map. Until the late 19th century, it also marked a cultural boundary with Gaelic spoken on the west side of Loch Long and English spoken on the ‘lowland’ shore.
The hillsides around Loch Long and Loch Lomond bear testament to the many small communities that used to live here. A few tumbled walls are now all that remain of settlements whose inhabitants abandoned their cottages and self-sufficient lifestyles in favour of towns and cities, or to travel to America or Australia.