Friday, 6 January 2012

Loch Lomond

I'm lucky enough to live just over half an hour from the beautiful setting of Loch Lomond and I love to explore this area on any rare sunny Scottish days. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs has been a national park since 2002 and covers over 700 sq miles. It is just over half an hour from Scotland's largest city Glasgow and is easily acessible by road and rail.

Loch Lomond is the largest body of freshwater in the UK and has many islands, some of which can be visited, for example Inchmurrin which has a hotel and the ruins of a 7th Century monastery on its shores. The huge expanse of water combined with the steep hills and munroes which surround the loch make this a truly stunning place.

View of the loch from Loch Lomond Shores

Loch Lomond Shores at Alexandria is considered to be the gateway to Loch Lomond and is a great place to begin exploring this area of Scotland. Here there is plenty of visitor parking (including parking for caravans etc) and there are great shops and restaurants to enjoy including department store Jenners and one that I love- Misty Glen, an independent shop selling jewellery, toiletries and lots of other individual trinkets. There are also a few cafes (and a shop selling tablet ice cream- it's to die for!) and on the upper tier there is great restaurant Kilted Skirlie which offers spectacular views across the loch as you eat and even has an outdoor decked area for dining on warm summer days. The Sea Life Centre can be found here too where you can see a giant turtle, otters and sharks amongst many others.

Lots of ducks swim around the loch

There are also many other more active pursuits to be enjoyed at Loch Lomond. Whilst I was there I saw a group of people exploring the area on segeways which looked really fun! During the summer there are also plenty of activities to be enjoyed on the loch itself such as canoeing, pedalos, power boating and so much more. Walking is another great activity to be enjoyed in this area, the beautiful views of the loch and the hills around make it the perfect place for a long walk to fully enjoy the rugged scenery.

Near to Loch Lomond Shores there is the pretty village of Luss on the west bank of the Loch. Again, Luss has a large car park for visitors but can get quite crowded on nice days in summer. From the beach at Luss the views out over Loch Lomond towards Ben Lomond are gorgeous and it is the perfect place for a picnic in summer. Luss itself is full of quaint cottages and has that small village feel to it, it's definitely a great spot to spend an afternoon wandering through the little streets and taking in the views at the lochside.

The view from the lochside at Luss in summer 2011

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