Loch Lomond – Scotland, on a cold, wintry day in January … at first read it doesn’t sound like the ideal destination, does it? However, this statement couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re looking to spend a long weekend somewhere with endless views and picturesque scenery, then look no further.
Firstly, the accommodation – Cameron House Luxury Lodges. My family and I had booked this trip somewhat last minute. We had visited Cameron House Hotel years earlier for the day and vowed we would stay there one day. However, due to the fire that occurred at the hotel in December 2017, we realised we could only stay in the lodges.
This turned out to be the best thing, as the lodge we stayed in can only be described as homely, cosy and beautiful. The lodge we stayed in had 2 bedrooms downstairs, both with en-suites. Then, walking up the stairs, there was another bedroom with en-suite, and a large open plan lounge and kitchen opening onto the balcony, which had stunning views of the Loch such as the photo below.
Both the restaurants we ate in (The Boat House and The Claret Jug) were lovely, with delicious food and a great atmosphere. For me, the highlight of the stay was the Spa at Cameron House (although, confusing name, as it is actually nearby at The Carrick. I love a good spa, and this one definitely didn’t disappoint).
Whether you stay at Cameron House or another location around the Loch, there are some great things to do in the area. Here are five recommendations:
1) Visit Balloch Castle Country Park – the park has many paths to walk; either up on the hill, giving you elevated views across the park, or down on the Loch side. The castle itself is derelict yet stunning. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll love visiting this place, as everywhere you turn there are cute dogs running around.
2) Sea Plane – Full discretion here, I didn’t do the sea plane trip on my visit in January. I actually did this in July, 2011 (so many years ago!) … and that’s the day that my family and I know we had to come back and stay at Cameron House, it just took us a few more years than we had planned! But the sea plane experience, even though it was nearly 8 years ago, I can still remember like it was yesterday. The feeling of taking off and landing on water, and the views of the Trossachs and further afield I will never forget. It was a clear, sunny day and we got so lucky with the weather. If you can, I feel like this is an experience you have to have. The quality of the photos I got back then are not very good, but hopefully the photos below at least gives an idea of the experience!
3) Stop at Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha for a bite to eat. Either wintry days in a heart-warming pub or those summer days with an ice-cold drink sat overlooking the Loch, both sound like very tempting options. Balmaha itself has the main visitor centre of Loch Lomond, as well as stunning views across the Loch.
4) Spa day at The Spa at Cameron House – yes I know this is technically cheating as I stayed here, but I would highly recommend a day trip. From amazing food in the Spa cafe, to the three floors of spa pools and relaxation rooms, a visit here is the perfect way to find calm and relaxation among the chaos of life.
5) Take a drive deep into the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park – if you want to take in all the scenery and explore hidden lochs deeper in the park then I find this is the way to do it. Just taking whichever road suits you and finding some hidden gems was a highlight of the visit for me. For example, Loch Lubnaig; a small freshwater loch nestled between Ben Ledi and Ben Vorlich. The Loch was largely frozen which made the scenery even more magical.
My advice to you if you visit Loch Lomond? Give yourself time to sit and just take in the environment. I truly believe the area is a special place to visit, with view after view of stunning, natural, unspoilt beauty, which is becoming more difficult to find. So embrace it, take it all in. One final tip: pack for all weather eventualities, it can go from bright sunshine to a storm very quickly!