I have fond memories of holidaying by yon bonnie banks of Loch Lomond as a teenager. My days were spent hiking, canoeing and exploring the pretty villages dotted around the loch. I embraced the outdoor life – an indication of the fresh air loving grown up I’d one day become. Despite my early love affair with the loch, I haven’t spent a holiday there since my teens. That changed recently, when I returned to spend a weekend at one of Argyll Holidays fabulous lodges.
The Teen is selective about the trips she joins us on these days. She’s only interested in breaks that offer maximum loafing potential. I wasn’t surprised when she eagerly agreed to forego a weekend of idling in Edinburgh for a hot tub lodge break by Loch Lomond. She missed a short break with us at Argyll Holidays, Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village earlier this year and after listening to us rave about it, wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
Leaving Edinburgh with enough comfort food to last a month, we took the scenic Crianlarich route to Loch Lomond. A few extra miles was a small price to pay to avoid the busy M8.
Argyll Holidays – Loch Lomond Holiday Park
We arrived at Loch Lomond Holiday Park mid-afternoon, and were immediately wowed by the location. The small park sits by the water’s edge at the fjord like northern end of the loch.
We were greeted with a friendly welcome at check-in. The Loch Lomond Holiday Park reception houses a shop stocked with goodies, and a guest lounge with a pool table and Sky TV. Active guests can hire canoes, paddle boards and bikes. I’d love to have canoed on the loch again, but maybe not in November.
Check-in complete we left reception with our lodge key, and a goodie bag for a delighted Wee White Dug.
Waterside Lomond Royal Lodge with hot tub
Our lodge had been described as waterside, but nothing could have prepared us for how literal that description turned out to be. The loch was right on our doorstep. We had a view of the snow dusted summit of Ben Lomond too. It was beautiful.
Inside, the lodge was decorated to a high standard, with quality fixtures and fittings throughout.
The open plan living space consisted of a kitchen, dining area and lounge. I’ve come to love the concept of open plan living since I started writing this blog. It’s brilliant having everything at your fingertips.
The lounge had a feature fire, a huge TV and a humongous sofa to curl up on. I could see The Teen eying it with a covetous glint in her eye.
Within seconds we’d spotted the coffee machine and fizz fridge in the kitchen. Argyll Holidays clearly knew us well. Our fizz was promptly popped in the fridge to chill.
With a family bathroom and three bedrooms (a single, twin and double en-suite), we had plenty of space to rattle around and relax in.
We quickly unpacked, then took the boy for a walk around the holiday park. The sound of the loch lapping against the shore gave an instant feeling of calm and wellbeing.
Hot tub hi-jinks
After popping out for an early dinner at the Arrochar Hotel it was time to relax.
Swimwear on, we slipped into the hot tub. Mr G and I with a nice glass of fizz, and The Teen with a fruit cider.
The boy strutted around on the decking with an air of authority. I watched him disappear round the side of the lodge and even though I knew it was enclosed, I had a neurotic mummy moment of panic.
“I’m just getting out to see where he is.” I mumbled sheepishly. Mr G responded with an exasperated eye roll.
The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back staring up at the stars, laughing so hard I couldn’t move.
Mr G peeped over the edge of the hot tub with a look of faux concern. “Are you crying?” he asked. “No, laughing” I snorted. “Thank goodness” he said “that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”
And that was the evening’s entertainment taken care of. The three of us sat in the hot tub, faces contorted by laughter. My antics flushed the boy out too – he reappeared to find out what all the commotion was about.
We spent the rest of the night relaxing by the fire, wrapped in the fluffy robes we’d found hanging in the wardrobe.
By the time we toddled off to bed, rain was bouncing off the roof. The forecast for the next day didn’t bode well for exploring Loch Lomond. There was a 95% chance of heavy rain all day – yuck.
We slept soundly that night, despite the rain lashing down outside.
Appin – a long way for a short hike
When we woke, the rain hadn’t eased off any. It was dreich (yucky) with a cherry on top.
We feasted on a porridge and Continental combo for breakfast as I consulted the forecast. “Appin” I announced, “we’re going to Appin.”
Buoyed by a forecast of light showers and only an 85% chance of rain, we jumped in the car and set off in the direction of Appin.
An ark would’ve been a more suitable means of transport.
90 minutes after leaving Loch Lomond, we arrived in Appin. A light drizzle was falling, but it felt almost tropical compared to what we’d left behind.
We planned a short hike, but when in Appin, it’s obligatory to snap photos of Castle Stalker.
Stalker stalked, it was time to embrace the great outdoors.
Fairy Bridge, Glen Creran
We’d chosen our hike with the weather in mind. Trees would offer shelter from showers, so the leafy Last Clansman Trail in Glen Creran seemed perfect. We planned to add a short, magical detour to our circular ramble too.
The Teen decided a ‘magical’ woodland hike wasn’t her cup of tea, so we set off along the trail while she loafed in the car. The boy on the other hand, was delighted to find himself outdoors hiking with us. He trotted along with his tail in the air, as happy as Larry.
The trail was muddy, but not so muddy it was unpleasant. We wandered through ancient, moss-covered woodland, passing tumbling streams and crossing a wooden bridge.
Halfway round the route we left the trail and followed a faint path into the trees.
With thick mud, wet leaves, large rocks, tree roots and a downhill incline to contend with I struggled to stay upright. I almost ended up flat-out, but a flailing arm technique and the fear of missing lunch if I was caked in mud kept me upright.
More slipping and sliding followed, before we reached our destination. The Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran – a strange, otherworldly bridge hidden, deep in the woods.
The boy boldly trotted across the bridge, and into the fairy kingdom – we followed.
We didn’t meet any mischievous fairy folk, but it was a magical and picturesque spot nonetheless. I’d even go as far as to say it was worth the precarious hike to reach.
The Teen may have turned her nose up at the opportunity to join us on a muddy woodland hike, but she didn’t need to think twice about joining us for lunch.
When we stopped at The Glue Pot in Connel she shot out of the car with gazelle like agility.
After an enjoyable lunch, followed by a potter around Oban it was time for us to head back to Loch Lomond.
Dinner – The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan
That evening we continued with our theme of lazy self-catering by popping into the Drovers Inn at Inverarnan for dinner. The inn is famous as it’s rumoured to be haunted. Even the most sceptical of sceptics might waver in their disbelief upon setting foot inside. The Drovers Inn has to be seen to be believed. It’s undoubtedly Scotland’s most surreal and spooky hostelry.
Taxidermy, suits of armour and a bar that looks like it hasn’t changed a bit since the 18th century all add to the inn’s unique charm.
It may have been a rainy night in November, but the place was absolutely hooching. The usual bar favourites featured on the menu – spaghetti Bolognese, fish and chips and macaroni cheese. Perfect comfort food for a wet, miserable night.
Blissful relaxation back at our cosy lodge
It was still raining when we arrived back at our lodge, but that didn’t stop me from hopping in the hot tub. Mr G and The Teen sheltered indoors, as I braved the cold night air to enjoy some rare me time.
We spent a second blissful night by the fire, cocooned in our snuggly robes.
After another great sleep, we woke the next morning to clear skies – yippee.
We devoured jam laden porridge for breakfast, then took the boy for one last jaunt around the grounds of the holiday park.
It felt like five minutes since we’d arrived, yet it was already time to leave.
We were sad to say goodbye to our luxury lodge by the loch. The view would take some beating.
Time to explore Loch Lomond
With the rain off, and the sun trying to break through we decided to take in some local sights before leaving Loch Lomond.
The Falls of Falloch
The Teen broke with tradition at the Falls of Falloch and got out of the car. The five-minute walk to the falls was her longest of the weekend.
She deemed the falls worth the effort, and even snapped some photos.
The falls aren’t the most dramatic in Scotland, but they’re still lovely, and are enhanced by a memorial to Dorothy Wordsworth. Dorothy visited the Falls of Falloch on her travels and waxed lyrical about them. ‘Woven Sound’ by John Kennedy is an intricate metal tunnel that leads to a viewing platform, offering an uninterrupted view of the falls.
Our short walk seemed to exhaust The Teen, as she decided not to join us on our next mini jaunt. An Ceann Mòr at Inveruglas is another modern viewing platform that offers a spectacular natural view.
It’s a great place to sit and immerse yourself in the lovely scenery of Loch Lomond.
Luss – fairies, vikings and pretty cottages
Short on steps we headed to Luss, for our final stop of the day. Luss is a pretty conservation village that sits on the shore of Loch Lomond.
There are several short walking trails in and around the village, so it’s a good option for a scenic walk (unless you’re bone idle like The Teen and prefer to sit in the car).
After a day of torrential rain, Loch Lomond was now treating us to some fine weather. We meandered through the village and down to the shore, where the boy enjoyed a paddle in the loch. I’ve never known him to visit a loch without taking a wee dook in it.
Luss is known for its pretty cottages, but there’s more to the village than its quaint charm.
Inside the churchyard, stands an 11th century tombstone that looks nothing like the stones surrounding it. The grave marker is a viking hogback stone. A reminder that the Vikings once settled on the shores of Loch Lomond.
Vikings weren’t the only exotic residents of Luss. By the shore of Luss Water we discovered that fairies lived there too.
The more we looked, the more evidence of Fairy folk we found. Tiny houses hidden in the trees, fairy dust sprinkled along the path. There was even a fairy retail park with a branch of Marks & Sparkle.
Once we’d finished exploring Luss it was time to eat. The Teen mustered up just enough energy to crawl, sloth like from the car to join us at The Village Rest. Lunch at a dog-friendly bistro, in a picture perfect village was the perfect way to end the weekend.
Thanks to Argyll Holidays for inviting us to stay at one of their beautiful waterside lodges. Although our accommodation was provided on a complimentary basis, all opinions are my own.
Until next time…….