Whether you’re after a blissful weekend of relaxation or a non-stop activity holiday, you won’t be short of options at Loch Lomond
IT’S fitting that one of Scotland’s most varied tourist destinations also happens to be the UK’s largest body of freshwater - there are so many activities to dip your toe into that it’s rather difficult to know where to start.
Many visitors will find that the loch itself is sufficient reason to go, with boat trips, fishing and an array of watersports.
But the surrounding golf courses, parks, cycle trails and nature reserves are a big part of the area’s appeal.
Things to do
Though there are plenty of other things to do besides watersports at Loch Lomond, it’d be a bit of a waste if you came with the intention of avoiding the water completely. Waterskiing is one of the loch’s most popular activities - and probably one of the more advisable ones to engage in during the cold winter months - but there are also facilities available for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Yuo can also swim of you like, but the water will be brisk!
On land, there are plenty of ways to admire the area’s wonderful scenery. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and Argyll Forest Park contain most of what you’d need for a short trip as far as trails and cycle paths. More ambitious walkers should try the West Highland Way - starting from Glasgow and ending at the bottom Ben Nevis, it’s a long but rewarding 96 mile trek. There are also a variety of parks, such as the Aberfoyle and Balloch Castle Country Park, to explore.
As far as the area’s landmarks go, The Glen Ogle railway viaduct is worth a look, as is bird of prey trail at the nearby Trossachs National Park. Conic Hill also affords the best view of Loch Lomond from on high.
Cyclists are also well catered for at Loch Lomond: families and thrill-seeking groups alike will find something to suit them. National Cycle Route 7 is a good bet for beginners and families: a moderate off-road track that is exciting enough for family trips, but not too treacherous for those unfamiliar with traditionally bumpier mountain biking terrain.
Where gold is concerned, a few rounds at Loch Lomond Golf Club will offer both the most spectacular views and some of the most challenging holes in the area - less challenging but equally enjoyable courses can be found at Aberfoyle, St Fillians and Killin, amont others.
Elsewhere, Duncryne Equitation & Trekking Centre in Alexandria, Gartochran is your premier destination where horse riding is concerned.
How to get there
For reasonable and obvious reasons, car travel to Loch Lomond is discouraged. A CityLink bus from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond will take about three hours, and will cost between £12.50 and £15.90. If you really insist on a car, however, the loch is accessible via the A82 off the M8.
If you’re living in the Highlands or Aberdeenshire, a train may well be a more comfortable option. A single adult fare from Aberdeen to Balloch, the closest station to Loch Lomond, will cost you £29.20 in most cases.
iPhone users can download this app from Traveline Scotland, which offers quick and easy routes on how to travel throughout Scotland.
Plenty of options as you’d expect: bed and breakfast options cost upwards of £35 for a double room, which rises exponentially depending on your proximity to the loch and how expensive your tastes are. Cameron House by the loch’s banks, at £179 for a double room with a view of the water, is one of the area’s more high-end options. Foxgloves Cottages, nestled in the Loch Lomond area, are also worth investigating.
Most of the watersports will involve a fee of some sort, but barring accommodation and the cost of travel, Loch Lomond is not an especially expensive place to be so long as you don’t feel the need to bring back a hoard of souveniers or go waterskiing three times a day. Bringing your own equipment also helps, otherwise expenses like equipment hire for cycling will also have to be factored into your trip.