A superb place to rent a holiday cottage, with easy access and plenty to do, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is ideal for a short break or a longer vacation, especially if you wish to explore central Scotland with all it has to offer.
Loch Lomond and the surrounding area boast some of the most beautiful scenery Britain has to offer. Loch Lomond has inspired songs and poems and has been the setting for many dramatic scenes in Scotland’s past. The loch itself is 24 miles long and home to 60 small islands, most of which are privately owned but usually open to visitors during holiday seasons.
Throughout the Middle Ages, clans ruled the area spanning the Trossachs and Stirling. The Trossachs is still known as ‘Rob Roy Country’ after Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous outlaw. During the time of Rob Roy’s capture and for years after, it was illegal to be a MacGregor and you could be hanged for sharing his name.
There were many battles fought here including the famous Battle of Bannockburn and the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Scottish Highland Games
Nowadays Clans meet up and ‘do battle’ at Highland Games and Shows which provide great entertainment for all the family. Traditionally the Games were where Clan chiefs chose their soldiers and staff. Shows of strength, agility and talent such as musical ability were for the chief’s benefit. This year’s Games will be held in Luss on the 6th July, Balloch on the 13th July and in Stirling on 14th July.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park opened in 2002 and encompasses lochs, rivers, mountains and forest parks so there is something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. As well as having a population of over 15,000 people it is also home to a rich variety of wildlife including the endangered red squirrel. The park is extensive and covers Loch Lomond, the entire Trossachs and some of Dumbartonshire. Half of Scotland’s population lives within an hour’s drive of the park so it’s an ideal location for a short break and easily accessible with great road links. Glasgow international airport is a short drive away and car hire can be found reasonably cheaply.
The park is family friendly and there is a dedicated KidZone on the national park website. Apart from cycling, climbing and horse-riding, you can take your children out on some of the 22 lochs to enjoy water sports. Why not take them kayaking or windsurfing if the weather is right?
Boat trips are a family favourite and will give the children a chance to spot some of the park’s otters and water voles, if they are lucky. There are competitions online where they can record the wildlife they have spotted.
Adventurers don’t have to step outside the park as it has every activity on land or water that you could possibly ask for.
Loch Lomond is perfect for sailing most kinds of small craft and you can take advantage of the launch facilities on offer. If you want to spice up your sailing with some competition then the Loch Lomond Sailing Club host regular organised races, contact them for details.
Canoeing and kayaking are very popular and Loch Lubnaig is the best stretch of water for this. It is in a very sheltered location offering protection from high winds, perfect for beginners too. The most thrilling water sport has to be water skiing, Loch Lomond and Loch Earn provide the best conditions for this. There are safety guidelines to follow for every water sport so please make sure you are informed before setting out.
If you fancy something more relaxing, then maybe fishing is for you. You can download a leaflet from the national park website which includes a map and details the types of fishing available, (game and coarse) including costs of obtaining a permit.
Cycling, Climbing, Hillwalking and Other Activities
On land there are miles of cycle routes with terrain to suit all levels of ability, the visitors’ centres have maps of all the routes available and will advise you on the best one for you. For climbers there are many rock-climbing and bouldering venues scattered all through the park. Experienced climbers can challenge themselves on the ‘dark side’ of Glen Ogle, one of Scotland’s top climbing venues.
Hill walkers are spoilt for choice, with 21 Munros including Ben Lomond and Ben More for the more experienced walker and 19 smaller Corbetts including what is possibly Scotland’s favourite mountain; The Cobbler (Ben Arthur). Remember that mountain weather can change very rapidly so ensure you are fully equipped before heading out and always check the weather forecast.
There is too much for me to cover here but other activities include horse-riding, golf, wildlife watching and of course, walking. There are ‘All Abilities’ activities on both land and water which are accessible to people with disabilities enabling them to enjoy everything the park has to offer with the reassurance of extra support and safety.
The national park events calendar is bursting with things to see and do. The Ben Lomond Hill Race is in May, you still have time to register to take part. Loch Lomond Folk Festival is coming up in July, The Great Scottish Swim is in August and the ever-popular Loch Lomond Food Festival in September.
Outside the Park
Places to take the kids outside the park include, Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling – it’s a hit with animal lovers of all ages, and there is the Loch Lomond Sea Life Aquarium. Balloch Castle Country Park is the perfect location for a picnic on a sunny day. The kids can take part in the Rob Roy Mini Highland Games hosted in July near Aberfoyle. Stirling Castle is a must-see as they run events for children and stage re-enactments. Be sure to contact each place before planning a visit to avoid disappointment.