Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Travel: Loch Lomond is a haven all year round

Loch Lomond. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes, Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most popular locations.

Brimming with unspoilt natural beauty, the 25-mile-long and 190-metre-deep body of water is one of the biggest in the UK and has been treasured by generations of Scots over the years.

Whether you’ve visited before or not, Loch Lomond is undoubtedly a great place to reconnect with the outdoors, enjoy a break from city life and rediscover the best of what Scotland has to offer.

Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

As soon as you’re on to the A roads past Stirling, you can’t help but feel a sense of excitement for what this area of the world possesses.

My friend and I travelled through for a midweek break to Loch Lomond with the frosty nip of late January still hanging in the air.

Balmaha, Loch Lomond. Supplied by Jamie Wilde.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha for two nights. But before arriving, a quick detour to nearby Buchanan Castle Golf Course was a great spot for some downtime on the driving range and tea in the clubhouse.

Heading into our self-contained cottage at The Oak Tree Inn, there couldn’t have been a better spot to stay: views of the loch from the room window, comfy beds and complimentary shortbread – what’s not to like?

Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha. Supplied by Jamie Wilde.

A short stroll down to Tom Weir’s Rest and a glance over the stunning loch is a top tip even if you’re just passing through Balmaha.

But even more impressive were the food and drink options available from The Oak Tree Inn’s bar and restaurant.

Arriving on Burns Night, I felt a little patriotic to say the least (I may have even recited some Burns to a friendly English couple we met that evening).

Haggis special, Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha. Supplied by Jamie Wilde.

So, I ordered the locally sourced haggis special from its Burns menu, which came with whisky sauce and mashed potato. I can comfortably say this was the best starter I’ve ever had in my life.

For mains and desserts, traditional options like fish and chips and burgers are aplenty while sorbets and cheesecakes grace its sweet options.

Our meal went down a treat along with a bottle of Montepulciano Italian red.

What to do

After a great night’s rest, we prepared to get stuck into the array of activities on offer around Loch Lomond.

4×4 Adventures Scotland, Loch Lomond. Supplied by Jamie Wilde.

Passing the five-star Cameron House on the short drive to Luss, you get the sense of just how majestic this area of Scotland is.

4×4 Adventures Scotland treated us to a mesmerising half-day off-road driving experience in one of its Land Rover Defenders.

This experience, led by adventure guide Iain, pleasantly surprised me as I took to the wheel and relished driving off-road for the first time – you don’t have to be a car enthusiast to enjoy this.

4×4 Adventures Scotland, Loch Lomond. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip in Scotland without some rain.

Luckily, the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel in Luss kept us dry as we tucked into a wholesome lunch (including its star dish of sweet potato and coconut soup) and enjoyed a drink in its cosy snug.

Loch Lomond Arms Hotel. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Sitting beside the crackling wood fire as the rain poured outside, witnessing a proposal from a newly engaged couple made the afternoon that extra bit sweeter.

We were later booked in for a meal at Padrone Pizza, situated a short drive south in Helensburgh.

Traditional, wood-fired pizzas are its port of call while plenty of other small plate options, including arancini, are equally ideal for sharing.

Padrone Pizza, Helensburgh. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Our final day at Loch Lomond was graced with perhaps the best activity option of our whole trip – a speedboat tour organised by Loch Lomond Leisure.

Our guide, Fiona, was incredibly knowledgeable. With clear skies as far as the eye could see, heading out on to Loch Lomond itself was a truly unforgettable experience.

Loch Lomond Leisure. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Easily one of the best ways to explore the area, you might even catch a glimpse of a wandering wallaby on Inchconnachan island along the way.

Driving back towards Stirling, a visit to Stirling Distillery is a must for gin lovers.

Steeped in history, the building perched on the rockface of Stirling Castle is said to have been used by King James V as a place where he kept horses and cattle.

Stirling Distillery. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Taking part in its Old Smiddy Gin School, you can prepare your own bottled gin by choosing your botanicals and learning how to distil your own gin from scratch from its copper still.

What better way to round off a trip to Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas than heading home with brilliant memories and your very own bottle of gin.

Cheers to that!

Loch Lomond. Supplied by Love Loch Lomond.

Visit www.lovelochlomond.com to plan your trip to Loch Lomond.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]