News - Loch Lomond Waterfront

Today’s Holiday Deals

Looking for a last minute get away? See our best deals for availability this month.

Posted in Special Offers |

Discover Loch Lomond Package

Cruise Loch Lomond Boat Tour Included

Stroll along the West Highland Way, climb to the peak of the Conic Hill where you can enjoy some of the best views in the UK or conquer a Monroe by climbing Ben Lomond. Loch Lomond is surrounded by some of the best walks in the UK, an abundance of wildlife and outstanding natural beauty. 

Once you’ve explored the dry land, there are more than 22 islands to explore on the loch including Inchconnachan where wallabies roam free, Inchmurrin with its island pub and historic ruins, or the infamous Inchcaillioch with its blanket of bluebells and ancient cemetery of the Rob Roy McGregor family and church ruins.

Our discover Loch Lomond package includes a complimentary boat trip for up to six people with Cruise Loch Lomond

Enter code DLL2018 in the comments box when booking online.

Book online now >

This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer unless specified.  Our normal terms and conditions of booking apply at all times.

Posted in Special Offers |

Luxury Winter Wedding Offer

Save up to £740 with our winter wedding package

If you have dreamed of a magical winter wedding, what better place then on the banks of Loch Lomond with the snow-capped Ben Lomond as your backdrop? Make more of your ceremony with our Luxury Winter Wedding Offer where you can save up to £740 simply for getting married during the winter months. 

Have a romantic marquee wedding on the banks of Loch Lomond or set up a fairytale wedding in our bright Garden Room Conservatory. Then dance the night away in our Thistle room over looking the loch and enjoy the benefits of our Rob Roy Lounge bar and real log fire. 

Loch Lomond Winter Weddings

All winter weddings taking place between November 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2019 will receive up to £740 discount off the overall package price. 

To take advantage of this offer, book an appointment for a venue show round and speak to our dedicated wedding coordinator Isla.

Call us to arrange an appointment on 01360 870144 or Email us to book a venue viewing >

Posted in Special Offers |

‘Blag’ a Munro – our top 5

The Munros are Scotland’s largest mountains with each standing at a minimum 3000ft. There are 282 across the country with 21 of these situated in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Munro ‘bagging’ (ticking off each Munro) has become popular amongst locals and keen mountain climbers in a mission to try to conquer all 282 of them. But you don’t need to be an experienced climber to summit one of the Munros and enjoy the stunning views across Scotland. Here’s our guide to some of the easier Munros to climb.

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond is the most southerly of the Munros and dominates the Loch Lomond skyline, it is also the closest one to the Waterfront Lodges. As one of the most climbed mountains in Scotland, at 3200 ft, Ben Lomond is an enjoyable half day out. Starting from Rowardennan on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, the initial stages of the climb are through woodland before the path opens up and, cloud permitting, you will get your first views of Ben Lomond and upon reaching the summit, glorious views across central Scotland.

Ben Lui

Regarded as one of the grandest of the Munros Ben Lui sits at 3707 ft. The shortest route up is from Glen Lochy where you can ascend up the north west ridge. However, a more challenging climb ascends from Dalrigh but involves a bit of a scramble at the top.

Ben Vorlich

Twinned with Stuc a’Chroin, these two peaks may appear similar from a distance but they could not be more different. Starting from Loch Earn, Ben Vorlich at 3230 ft is a popular walk and offers novice climbers an enjoyable day out. Stuc a’Chroin on the other hand, with its rocky paths, is for more serious walkers. Situated in the southern Highlands the view from the top offers expansive views across the Scottish lowlands.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime, at 3317 ft, is located on the western side of Loch Lomond and is part of the Arrochar Alps (the collective name for the peaks above the western shores of Loch Lomond). The easiest ascent is from the southern slopes by Bealach a’Mhaim. The start of the climb has well laid trails whilst the route gets slightly rougher towards the summit. However, it is a well-trodden trail so it is hard to lose your way.
For a challenging day out you can easily pair this climb with Beinn Narnain.

Beinn Narnain

Another one of the Arrochar Alps, Beinn Narnain at 3038 ft is a rocky little mountain with a number of false summits. The ascent is best made from Succoth by the south east ridge but it can also be climbed from the northern ridge from Bealach a’Mhaim where, if you want to ‘blag’ two Munros, you can pair it with Beinn Ime.

Find out more about climbing the Munros

Posted in General, Things To Do, Top picks, Walking guide |

Top family day trips

There is a great variety of family day trips all within easy reach of the Waterfront. Here is our list of top family, day trips each less than an hour away. 

1. Blair Drummond Safari Park

Located this side of Stirling, just half an hour from the Waterfront, the Safari Park is set amidst the stunning grounds of Blair Drummond House, a late-Victorian house that is now home to the Camphill Trust (a charity that cares for people with special needs). Opened in 1970, the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park is progressively improved each year, often expanding its collection of animals.

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With a range of drive through reserves the park can be explored by car or by one of the safari buses whilst the walk-round enclosures enable you to get up close to the amazing selection of animals. There are also a number of experiences including regular sea lion and birds of prey displays and boat trips to Chimpanzee Island.

For the children there is the Pet Farm, and extensive adventure play facilities and amusements, including a giant astra glide (slide), `Flying Fox’ zip wire, wooden castle, pirate ship, bouncy castle, pedal boats, and dodgems.

There is a café on site but we prefer to pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors. There are plenty of picnic areas and tables available, together with free barbeque facilities (provided on a first-come, first-served basis).

2. Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre is one of Scotland’s must-see visitor attractions. The whole family will be entertained for hours with over two acres of interactive activities including exhibits, workshops, shows, activities, a planetarium and an IMAX cinema.

Explore the wonders of the night sky in the planetarium, be amazed in the Science Show Theatre or have your mind blown in the MindWorks Zone. But the fun doesn’t stop there, you can also explore an underwater universe, travel into space, discover the marine reptiles who ruled the sea long before the dinosaurs conquered the earth, control objects with the power of your mind, build a rollercoaster and look into the future.

3. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle. Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to Stirling Castle to revel in its grandeur with its superb sculptures and beautiful gardens. It was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations from christenings to coronations.

Today you can meet the costumed characters in the roles of bodyguards, court officials, maids of honour and servants who will welcome you into 16th century life. Families can have fun in the palace vaults where children can try out activities such as dressing in period costume and playing medieval instruments. Don’t miss a guided tour with knowledgeable staff who will bring the castle’s infamous characters and history to life in great detail.

Other highlights include the Great Hall, Chapel Royal, Castle Exhibition, Regimental Museum, Great Kitchens, Tapestry Studio and the nearby Argyll’s Lodging, a 17th century town house.

There is also a restaurant, the Unicorn Café, which offers a range of hot and cold drinks and food. Marvel at the spectacular views from the roof top terrace while you enjoy a freshly-prepared Scottish meal.

4. Go Ape

Just 20 minutes away situated amongst the Stunning scenery of the surrounding Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Aberfoyle (Stirlingshire), Go Ape is a great day out for all the family.

Go Ape in Aberfoyle can boast two of Britain’s longest zip wires, each stretching over 400m long, flying customers 150 feet above the ground and over a 90 foot waterfall. This is reall a mecca for Go Ape pilgrims, thrill seekers, adventure lovers & those that just want to get out and have some fun in Loch Lomond.

5. SeaLife

SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium is just 30 minutes from Glasgow, situated on the stunning Loch Lomond Shores.  Explore an amazing underwater world and take a fascinating journey from the Loch Lomond shores to the ocean depths through seven themed zones, including their Tropical Ocean Tunnel. Get up close to over 1500 creatures, including Scotland’s only Giant Green Sea Turtle, the largest collection of sharks in Scotland and our playful family of otters.

Find out how it feels to touch a starfish and other creatures living in the interactive rockpool then head to our Observation Deck for unrivalled views of Loch Lomond, or relax in the café. With fun talks, animal feeds, special events and a quiz trail, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy at SEA LIFE Loch Lomond.

6. Can You Experience

Can You Experience provides a variety of land and water based outdoor activities to suit all ages and abilities on and around Loch Lomond. For a chance to view a wallaby, enjoy a picnic on a secluded island beach or hike to a Loch Lomond island summit for tremendous views why not try their unique Island Hopping Canoe Safari.  If you are amore of a thrill seekers then jump aboard the 1.5 hour Loch Lomond exhilarating rib boat ride!  For those that want to keep their feet on dry land then Can You Experience also offer Segway safaris, archery, rifle shooting, abseiling, adventure races and much much more.

If you can’t decide which activity you prefer, why not pick and mix a few of the activities and create an action packed full day experience at Loch Lomond – special rates apply to full day multi activity sessions. 

7. Soar Intu

Soar Intu, Breahead really has everything for a fun family day out. From the Snow Factor – and indoor ski slope to indoor sky diving, paradise island adventure golf, an Odeon cinema, ten pin bowling, climbing wall and much more, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s an easy 30 minute drive from the Waterfront and right on only an extra 15 minutes in to the city of Glasgow if you want to combine it with seeing the city. Open until late and with plenty of restaurants to choose, the children certainly wont be disappointed with this excursion! 

8. M and D’s Theme Park

For any thrill seeker families look no further than M&D’s – Scotland’s theme park. With over four terrifying white knuckle rides and more than 20 kids’ rides and attractions – you’ll be certainly be able to get your fill of rollercoasters and rides.

If you aren’t feeling so adventurous then why not try their ‘glow in the dark’ indoor bowling? A massive indoor complex including a gigantic soft play area, bars and restaurants and lots of seasonal events.  You can also discover AMAZONIA, Scotland’s only indoor tropical rainforest packed with exotic animals, birds and creepy crawlies!

9. Portnellan Farm Speed Boat Tours

Take a fun and thrilling speedboat trip tailor-made to your requirements with Portnellan Farm Speed Boat Tours. The 20 foot bowrider takes up to seven people in comfort and is an ideal way to explore the loch and its islands. At 24 miles long and up to five miles wide, the loch contains over 20 islands and numerous islets, many of which are steeped in history and are home to many species of wildlife. The northern end of the Loch resembles a Norwegian fjord, with steep craggy mountains rising dramatically out of the water, whilst the southern end is broad and open. No matter where you are on the Loch you are guaranteed spectacular views in every direction. Start at the farm pier and head north past the ‘Spit’ of Inchmurrin Island and the Loch Lomond golf course. Cruise slowly through the ‘Narrows’ arguably one of the most beautiful areas on the loch towards the picturesque village of Luss before returning via the eastern shore past Inchfad and Inchcailloch.

10. Pony trekking

Located at the southern tip of Loch Lomond near the town of Balloch, Loch Lomond Pony Trekking will take you up in to the hills on horseback to experience the stunning countryside and fantastic views of the loch.

Whether you are an experienced rider or a complete novice, Loch Lomond Pony Trekking provides the ideal opportunity for to experience the very best that Scotland’s first National Park has to offer.

Guests will go on a leisurely trek through the tranquil countryside onto the more rugged terrain of the surrounding moorland on our wonderful ponies.

Posted in Things To Do |

Walk the West Highland way

Distance: 8 miles (from Balmaha to Rowardennan)

Balmaha is situated on one of the most popular and famous stretches of the west Highland Way. The stretch from Balmaha to Rowardennan (usually walked on day two or three if walking the full West Highland way from Glasgow to Fort William) meanders along the shore of Loch Lomond with glorious views in every direction.

Leave the waterfront lodges and turn left to head in to the village. follow the path all the way until you reach the Oak Tree Inn and then cross over on to the other side. Continue walking through the village keeping the Loch on your left and follow the path, past Passfoot B&B, until you reach the large pier at the end of the road. From here, turn right and walk along the footpath which takes you over the rocks and along the banks of the loch. You’re now on the path to Rowardennan.

Manse Bay, Millarrochy and Sallochy Bay

On route you’ll cross a number of beaches including Manse Bay, Millarrochy Bay and Sallochy Bay. The route to Millarrochy is a great family friendly walk and easy enough for families of all ages whilst Sallochy Bay has some great walks that take you off in to the forest to see ancient abandoned settlements. Once you reach Sallochy Bay you’re just over half way. It’s a great spot to stop and have a picnic or a BBQ in the summer months.

Head for Ben Lomond

Continue up the loch for another three miles keeping Ben Lomond in your sights. You’ll soon reach Rowardennan where you can explore Ben Lomond Memorial Park and take some stunning panoramic pictures. For the thirsty or hungry, walk the short distance back down the road and stop at the Rowardennan Hotel for a drink and a bite to eat before retracing your steps back to Balmaha.

Return for a dip in your own private hot tub

Once you return to the Waterfront Lodges, reward yourself with a dip in the Hot Tub and a cold beer. The local village shop in Balmaha, adjacent to the Oak Tree, sells a nice selection of local ales that are sure to quench the thirst.

Posted in Things To Do, Walking guide |

A day in Edinburgh

Just over an hours drive from the Waterfront, Edinburgh is busting with great things to do for all the family, no matter what time of year.

Whilst the Edinburgh Festival is often at the forefront of peoples’ minds when they think of Scotland’s capital, the city has much more to offer people of all ages. First and foremost there is the old town and the Royal Mile. This area is steeped in history and provides a real snap shot of Scotland back in the 16th and 17th Century. Visit Mary King’s Close which is buried deep beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile – a warren of underground hidden streets that has remained frozen in time since the 17th Century.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is also a must see attraction. The castle dominates the city’s landscape and has shaped the nations story. Battles and sieges were fought over it, royalty lived and died within its walls, and countless generations have been inspired by it.

Take a hike up Arthur’s Seat

Not many cities can boast an extinct volcano at their centre but Edinburgh can. In fact it boasts two volcanoes in as many miles. The first supports the impressive structure of the castle, whilst the second – Arthur’s Seat, visible from much of the city centre, rises out of the wide grasslands of Holyrood Park. It’s the ideal place to take in glorious undisturbed views across the city and is a relatively easy hike at just over 250m. If you visit on May Day you can join in many of the local young women and wash your face with the hill’s morning dew. This tradition dates back centuries and is believed to make them beautiful.

Experience the best of Scottish cuisine

Edinburgh’s restaurants are amongst the best in Britain and it’s one of the best places to experience the very finest Scottish cuisine. The Witchery is one of the most famous and provides diners with a dramatic ‘Hogwarts style’ setting. But if you’re looking to dine with a view the the Tower Restaurant probably offers the best views of the Castle – a very romantic setting for an evening meal. As well as the plethora of Michelin Star restaurants, Edinburgh also has plenty of choice for those on more of a budget. Enjoy delicious street food every Thursday at the Tram Stop Market and relax and listen to some tunes from local musicians. Alternatively soak up the atmosphere in a traditional Scottish pub – there are plenty to be found around the city – especially in the old town.

Sip a dram in a traditional whisky bar

As for whisky, Edinbugh boasts a number of whisky bars offering hundreds of malts from across the country. Whilst some focus on a relaxed and casual atmosphere, others offer the whisky world’s equivalent of Michelin Star. Don’t worry if you now nothing about the drink, the bar staff are very knowledgable and always happy to help you choose from the two hundred plus whiskies available.

Shop till you drop

Edinburgh has everything you could want for a bit of retail therapy. Prince’s Street runs along the front of the castle and is home to the main commercial retail area of the city. However swooping from George IV Bridge down to the historic Grassmarket, Victoria Street is home to an abundant of fine independent boutiques. Whether its couture tweed or designer homewares, a vintage handbag or a slice of local cheese, Victoria Street has it all. There are plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat here as well so makes the ideal destination for the more intrepid traveler.

Head for heights up the Scott Monument

The Scott Monument (dedicated to the memory of Sir Walter Scott) is a gothic marvel spiralling high from the well-manicured greenery of Princes Street Gardens. Squeeze your way up the narrow spiral staircase for a breathtaking view.

Experience the Edinburgh Festival

Last but definitely not least, something which features on many peoples’ ‘to do’ lists is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks. Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. To understand the true size of the festival, in 2014 there were 49,497 performances across 299 venues, making it the largest ever arts festival in the world.

The festival brings Edinburgh to life for 24 hours a day. Many bars and clubs stay open until daylight the next day and the famous Spiegeltent is a mainstay of the season. Whilst it is often the centre of merriment, it plays host to parties, concerts, clubs and a myriad of stunning performances. But book your tickets early as they sell out fast.

Posted in Things To Do |

Balmaha Millennium Forest walking guide

Download the Loch Lomond and Trossach’s National Park walking guide to the Balmaha Millennium Forest >

Balmaha lies directly on the Highland Boundary Fault which landmarks where the Scottish Highlands meet the lowlands. The Millennium Forest Trail is a great walk through woodlands, along the shores of Loch Lomond and up to the ancient Craig Fort.

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Getting started

When you leave the Waterfront, take a left and walk a short distance (about 100 metres) down the path. You will soon see a forestry track heading in to the woodlands on your right hand side. For dog walkers, this is an ideal place for dogs to be let off the lead. Follow the track for a short distance up a small hill until you reach a t-junction. Take the left turn and following the track towards the village of Balmaha. The track will wind back down through the forest and skirt the edge of the Balmaha car park.

Continue along the path which will take you deeper in to the forest towards Craigie Fort before it opens out back on to the road to Rowardennan at the other end of the village. Cross the road on to the walled path and turn right so that the loch is now on your left hand side. Continue along this path, keeping the loch to your left. Pass the B&B and continue until you see some steps and a track heading up the hill on your right hand side.

Craigie Fort

Take the path and follow it up the short, but steps walk to the top of Craig Fort. From the top you will get fantastic views of the islands that landmark the Boundary Fault Line and the thick woodland that covers much of the area. After taking a few photos and selfies, head back downCragie Fort via thepath on the other side of the peak. The path winds quickly down through the bracken until you reach the shoreline of Loch Lomond once again.

The home stretch

Turn left once you get to the bottom of Craigie Fort so that the loch is now on your right hand side. This path will take you all the way back to the Pier where the Loch Lomond Water Bus leaves from.  Once you get here, you should recognise your surroundings. You will have emerged just a few feet further along from where you took the path up Craigie Fort. Continue back along the walled path and in to the village of Balmaha. The Oak Tree is an idyllic place to stop for some refreshments and a bite to eat. If there isn’t one already, they are always happy to provide a bowl of water for the dogs, however, dogs are not allowed in to the pub itself – just in the beer garden. Once you are suitably refreshed continue back to the Waterfront which is about 500m further along the road.

 

 

 
Posted in General, Walking guide | Tagged , , , |

Top 5 islands on Loch Lomond

There are more than 50 islands on Loch Lomond, with 22 that have been named. For the best views of the loch’s islands then take the short climb up the Conic Hill (you can leave on foot direct from your lodge) where you can stand back and enjoy panoramic views across the Highland Boundary Fault which runs South West through Inchcailloch, Torrinch, Creinch, Inchmurrin and across to the western shores. But for those that want to experience the islands up close, here is our top islands to explore:

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  1. Inchcailloch

Inchcailloch is the largest island of the Loach Lomond National Nature Reserve. It sits directly opposite Balmaha and can be easily accessed by the Mail boat, Loch Lomond Water Bus or by sail boat or kayak.

Inchcailloch was an important part of the local parish. The ‘island of the old women’ refers to the nunnery that was founded here by St Kentigerna who came over from Ireland to preach Christianity. Legends that have passed by word of mouth say the bones of a woman were found under the altar stone during an excavation. Up until 1621 the church was the local parish church and its graveyard was used right up until 1947 and was the burial ground for the MacGregor clan and also includes some of Rob Roy’s ancestors.

The island has been used as a hunting forest since the reign of Robert the Bruce and many deer still roam the island. In more recent times, white deer have been seen on the island in 2003 thanks to the narrow shallow crossing which makes an easy passage for deer to ford.

Today, there are a number of nature trails on the island and a superb view from its summit. No matter what time of year you visit there is plenty to see. In the Spring the ground is carpeted with bluebells creating a magnificent backdrop. The island really comes to life in the summer with an abundance of wildlife and flowers but even in to the autumn and winter the island still has something to offer. The colder seasons a good time to see migrating birds and wildfowl that begin to arrive from colder climates.

Camping is also permitted on the Island and there are picnic and barbecuing spots available too.

  1. Inchconnachan

‘The island of the Colquhoun’s’ is perhaps one of the loch’s most intriguing islands as it is home to its own wallaby colony. Wallabies were introduced by Lady Colquhoun in the 1940s and still roam wild on the island. It is one of the very few places outside Australia which has a viable population of wallabies.

It is also one of the few places in Scotland where the rare capercaillie can be spotted (a rare turkey-like giant grouse that live in the high tree tops) and has a wealth of secluded bays on the island that are unique to Inchconnachan and cannot be seen on any of the other islands. The island’s bays are a favourite spot for yachts, cruisers and day trippers and are an ideal place to stop for a picnic, and if you are patient enough, spot some of the rare wildlife for yourself.

  1. Inchmurrin

Inchmurrin enjoys a prestigious history. At the south west tip of the island sit the ruins of the 14th century castle of the Earls of Lennox. Completed by 1393, the Earls of Lennox soon took up residence. King Robert I (Robert the Bruce) was said to have taken refuge here after his defeat at Lorne. However, in 1425 the Countess of Albany (daughter of the Eighth Early of Lennox) was exiled here after her husband, father and two sons were all executed in Stirling by King James I (of Scotland).  The Countess lived here until her death in 1460, after which it was abandoned.

In the 16th century it was used as the hunting lodge for King James the IV and King James the VI (of Scotland or I of England after the union of the Scottish and English crowns).

In the 17th Century it was sold to the Montrose family where it remained until 1930. During this time, it was mainly used as a deer park and was the centre of the MacGregor and Montrose ongoing war in 1715 when Rob Roy and the MacGregors raided the island, robbing it of all its cattle and deer.

Today, Inchmurrin is home to a hotel and bar where you can enjoy food and drinks during the high season or sample a dram of the Inchmurrin malt whisky made at the Loch Lomond Distillery. However, the castle ruins remain, as well as other archaeological sites of interest and are all well worth the short walk from the hotel to explore.

  1. Inchfad

Inchfad ‘the long island’ is most famous for becoming a registered government distillery after the loch’s illicit distilleries were all closed down. Originally the distillery was run by Duncan MacFarlane (the same family that runs the Royal Mail boat service to the Loch’s inhabited islands) and a canal was built to help transport the raw materials needed for distilling whisky.

The lush green grass of Inchfad attracts Loch Lomond’s fallow deer, which may frequently be seen grazing on the fields. The deer are not long term residents, but travel freely between the islands and to the mainland, swimming mainly at dawn or towards dusk in search of new feeding grounds. Another frequent visitor to Inchfad is the wild mink, an illegal immigrant descended from escapees from mink farms.

The island has changed hands a number of times and some notable owners include Ted Toleman, the powerboat racer who crossed the Atlantic Ocean with Richard Branson as well as Charles Collins, founder of the publishing dynasty.

  1. Inchlonaig

‘The island of the yew trees’ is steeped in history with traces of man dating as far back as 5000BC. Stone tools have been found on the island which are as much as 7,000 years old. It is said to have acquired its name after Robert the Bruce ordered the planting of yews here as their wood was used for bow making, most notably at the Battle of Bannockburn.

Inchlonaig was granted to the Colquhoun clan by Malcolm, Earl of Lennox in the reign of Alexander II and was used as a deer park by the clan for several centuries. The last known permanent inhabitant of the island was Angus Colquhoun in the 1920s. As a game keeper he lived on the island where he farmed the land and he would row his daughters to and from school in Luss each day.

Now, the island is renowned for its beauty. With its high central ridges and valleys, many bays and the long vistas through its scattered yew trees, Inchlonaig is one of the most picturesque islands.

How to get there

If you want to explore the waters of Loch Lomond, canoes and kayaks can be hired from Balmaha House or small motor boats are available to hire from Balmaha Boatyard. Alternatively, the Island Explorer trip by Can You Experience is a great guided excursion.

Posted in Day trips, General, Top picks | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Boating on Loch Lomond

There are plenty of ways to explore the waters of Loch Lomond to suit everyone. Loch Lomond is home to 22 named islands plus at least 27 islets. From Inchmurrin, which is the largest and has its own island pub, to Inchconnachan with its own colony of wallabies or Inchcailloch with the ancient ruins of St Kentigerna’s nunnery and burial grounds of Rob Roy’s ancestors.

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Balmaha Boatyard 

The Balmaha Boatyard provides both scheduled and on-demand services. The journey to Inchcailloch is very short from here so during the summer months an on demand service is operated between 9am and 5pm. Adult tickets are £5 return whilst under 16s are £2.50 return. Alternatively you can catch the Mail Boat as it departs for its delivery rounds at 11:30am. The trip is a great way to see many of the named islands and you will also stop for an hour on Inchmurrin where you can refuel with refreshments before returning to Balmaha at 2pm.There are also four cruises that operate between 2pm and 4.30pm that enable you to explore the Loch Lomond Nature Reserve.

Private boat hire is also available with rowing boats hired by the hour from just £10 (£40 for the whole day) and motorised boats available from £60 for the day.

Sweeney’s Cruises

Sweeney’s cruises run three cruises and two waterbus services across Loch Lomond. The three cruises (Experience Cruise, Island Discovery Cruise and Sunset Cruise) range from one to two hours in length and depart from Balloch daily between the months of April to October.

There are two water bus services but the most convenient for Waterfront guests is the Balmaha to Luss service. Departing from the Balmaha Pier, just a short walk from The Waterfront, the ‘bus’ operates several services a day during peak season with tickets available on board. On route to Luss you will experience many of the lochs other islands with your knowledgeable driver pointing out the key sights. The waterbus is child friendly and binoculars are provided as well to help you spot the white stag, birds of prey and other rare wildlife in the area. Luss itself is a charming Highland village with a number of beautiful picnic spots and a range of local cafes and pubs serving food. Luss was also home to one of Britain’s oldest, and Scotland’s most iconic, soap operas Take the High Road (later renamed to High Road), which ran from 1980 to 2003.

Cruise Loch Lomond 

Cruise Loch Lomond operates four cruises and three waterbus services on Loch Lomond between the western shore and the quieter eastern shore where Balmaha is situated. The three waterbus services (Inveruglas-Inversnaid-Tarbet, Rowardennan-Luss Ferry and the Inversnaid Ferry) operate between March and November with tickets costing £11.50 for a return adult fare and £7 for a return child fare. Cycle bikes are also welcome for an additional £1 charge each way.

The closest stop from Balmaha is Rowardennan, situated at the ‘end of the road’ at the foot of Ben Lomond. You’ll need a car to get there, or the more adventurous can cycle (but be warned – it is hilly) but the route is worth it – with some stunning views of the loch.

Canoes and kayaks

Canoes and kayaks can be hired from Balmaha House B&B which sits on the main road, opposite the boatyard in the heart of the village. You can launch directly in front of the B&B from the sheltered bay and within five minutes of paddling you will be on the banks of Inchcailloch. You can either catch one of the loch’s other cruises from here or continue by paddle power to explore the loch’s shore line and other islands. Advanced booking is recommended however as canoe numbers and types are limited.

Sailing boats and speed boats

If you are lucky enough to have your own boat, then our private beach at Loch Lomond Waterfront is an ideal launch site. The sandy banks and shallow waters make it a safe spot for even the youngest sailors to take to the water. We frequently take our small sailing boat out from here to explore the islands and stop off for a picnic on a one of the islands’ many secluded bays.  

However, there are also two official launch sites for Loch Lomond with launch facilities and rangers on site. The largest of the two, and ideal for keeled boats, is Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch which provides showering and changing facilities, tourist information and boat registration and a shop selling life jackets and other boating items. Millarochy Bay is the second site and is situated just a couple of miles past Balmaha. It is an ideal launch site for smaller boats and provides toilets and changing facilities as well as boat registration.

Time to take to the water

Loch Lomond is like a world in miniature and each island has something unique to offer. If you time your trip right you can end your day on our private beach watching the sunset across the water. All shades of oranges, pinks and purples will light up the sky on a clear day whilst the sun slowly sets behind Inchcailloch. Whatever way you choose to explore the waters of the loch, you wont be disappointed with the wildlife, scenery and history of Loch Lomond.

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