In an area steeped in history, myths and Scottish legends sits Loch Lomond. Renowned throughout the world for two things – outstanding natural beauty and whisky – Loch Lomond is a world in miniature and the gateway to the Highlands. Whilst it has a reputation world wide for it’s natural beauty, for many in the UK, Loch Lomond is still an undiscovered treasure.
Loch Lomond is a must-see – its beauty and tranquillity appeals to even the most high-flying celebrities like Kate Winslet, Rupert Grint and Ewan Macgregor. Even Queen Victoria, back in her day, had a holiday home built in the region. And sitting on ‘the road to nowhere’ on the quieter Eastern shores of Loch Lomond lies the village of Balmaha – the first stop for many travelling the West Highland Way and the perfect escape for anyone looking to retreat to a slower pace of life.
A hidden gem away from the bustle of the towns, the village of Balmaha offers visitors accommodation in 5-star luxury self-catering lodges at Loch Lomond Waterfront. Nestled between the foot of the Conic Hill and the shores of the loch each lodge sleeps up to six people and has a steam-shower room or sauna. The piece de résistance is no doubt the private hot tubs that are on the patio of each lodge. Guests can take in the breath-taking views or watch the sunset across the water.
“We sat in the hot tub at night looking over the Loch Lomond watching ducks, rabbits and deer roaming about.” Commented one guest.
For many, luxury self-catering is the most preferred option giving plenty of flexibility. But for guests who would rather have a break from cooking then the Waterfront’s pioneering “Chef-in-a-lodge” service provides a fully-uniformed chef who cooks and serves a three-course meal for guests to enjoy in the privacy of their lodge. Alternatively, take a short stroll into the village and visit the Oak Tree Inn – an award winning Gastro Pub with its own micro-brewery. Further afield the culinary delights are many. The original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar serves some of the finest oysters in Britain whilst Martin Wishart at Cameron House serves up a gourmet menu just across the water. For a night to remember Waterfront guests can leave Balmaha by private speedboat hire and arrive at the Michelin-starred restaurant in style.
Guests can catch one of the waterbuses, hop on the Mail Boat, or hire their own boat to explore the nearby islands that are filled with enchantment and wildlife. For the more adventurous, canoes and kayaks can be hired from the village and visitors can paddle along side the path of the West Highland Way. Canoe safaris are also available and for guests of Loch Lomond Waterfront, an experienced guide will meet them at their lodge and set off from the Waterfront’s private beach.
“From high- adrenaline wakeboarding to a peaceful saunter to a nearby island for a picnic, Loch Lomond has something for everyone” says Charles Cottam, proprietor of Loch Lomond Waterfront. “The islands provide plenty of opportunities to explore, from Inchconnachan with its own colony of wild wallabies, to the ancient ruins on Inchcallioach, or Inchmurrin – the largest island with its own island pub .” continues Cottam.
Back on dry land
But for those that prefer keeping their feet on dry land then the gateway to the Highlands has plenty to offer. From bush craft and survival days to cascading waterfalls or summiting one of Britain’s highest mountains (Ben Lomond), visitors can walk in the footsteps of Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns through the miles of deserted mountain tracks. The many whisky distilleries in the region are a must- see when visiting Loch Lomond, with Glengoyne distillery (one of the worlds most famous) just eight miles from Balmaha.
And of course, there is also an abundance of golf courses to try. With over 30 courses between Loch Lomond and Glasgow golfers will never be short of a course to challenge their handicap. The nearest course is Buchanan Castle Golf Course, set on the plains of the River Endrick just two miles away. This partner Club of Loch Lomond Waterfront Lodges offers players of all levels an intriguing but fair golfing challenge. Situated in Buchanan Castle Estate, which is forested by every tree native to Western Europe, visitors can also discover the enchanting historical ruins of the castle itself, once home to Clan Graham.
Spoil yourself with a spa treatment
If this all sounds like too much hard work, then Loch Lomond Waterfront guests can book in-lodge beauty and massage therapies – creating a luxury spa retreat without having to leave your lodge. Whilst the women often enjoy a facial or massage, the men usually opt to relax in the hot tub whilst sipping a dram of the local Glengoyne whisky.
A tranquil and hidden gem, Balmaha on the Banks of Loch Lomond, offers the discerning traveller an abundance of beauty, breath taking views and plenty of adventure no matter what time of year.
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