You may have read my last travel post, that was all about the first stop in our two-week road trip, stopping at the Lake District. Well today’s post focuses on the next leg of our trip. From the Lakes, we made our way further north to Glasgow, where we stopped for one night before heading on to Loch Lomond. Unfortunately, our time in Glasgow was bleak, with it raining all day, non-stop. So we spent most of our time in a cinema and a bar. Not much to talk about, but I would love to go back, as I’ve heard great things.
The weather took a turn for the better, thankfully, as we arrived in Loch Lomond. We made our first stop Balmaha, after receiving a recommendation. Here we hiked up into the hills and found a beautiful view point over Loch Lomond, surrounded by purple heather, and not a soul around for miles. It was like a fairytale! As we came back down towards Balmaha, we received even better views of the Loch. It was beautiful tranquil and still. A special spot if you’re in the area!
From there we drove further around the Loch to Luss. We had heard mixed reviews of Luss as it is a very touristy spot. However, we were there out of season, and although it was busy, it wasn’t ridiculous. After parking up (Luss is VERY tiny, with limited access by car, so use the designated car park), we strolled around the quaint village and grabbed a bite to eat at Luss Seafood Bar – a cute restaurant on the side of a shop, with a smokehouse next door, where they smoke the salmon from the Loch before serving. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so fresh before. Amazing!
Luss itself is very quaint. It’s not very big, but it’s beautiful to stroll around and walk out onto the pier over the lake. On a sunny day, the water is bluer than the sky. The colours are incredible. A real ‘pinch me’ kind of moment. In fact, Loch Lomond ended up being one of our favourite places of the entire trip. We both found it so peaceful, and the scenery is magical. Loch Lomond is located less than an hour north of Glasgow, which is crazy. It’s hard to believe that you can go from a big, busy city with lots of traffic and people, to this idyllic spot, that quickly!
We stayed for two nights near Loch Lomond, at Trossachs Holiday Park and spent most of our time exploring The Trossachs National Park. In particular, a spot near Aberfoyle where they have a Go Ape centre. We didn’t try Go Ape, but there are a number of different walks from here for a range of abilities. Each walk is clearly colour coded and sign posted and the maps, from The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, are super easy to follow. So there’s little chance of getting lost!
At the beginning of the each of the different routes, before they branch off, there is a number of sculptures to follow. Some educational and some interactive, it’s great to check out if you have children. There’s also an incredible waterfall not far along the main path from the visitor centre, which makes a great photo stop (as pictured above). But just a little further from here, was the best bit about this park – a look out point for red squirrels! Red squirrels sadly no longer exist in England, and they can be extremely hard to spot in Scotland. The park is trying to help increase there numbers, by providing them a safe place to eat and mate. As with all these types of things, I wasn’t expecting to see anything from the designated look out, but we were both over the moon when we not only saw one red squirrel, but six! The longer we sat there, the more squirrels came scurrying down the trees. It was incredible to see them in their natural habitat. They’re so tiny! I couldn’t believe how small they were. About half the size of a grey squirrel, and they’re so cute. Definitely try and visit this if you go, and ask someone if you’re not sure where it is, as we saw many people walking straight past it, clearly not knowing that it existed. Sadly we couldn’t take any photos, but you’ll have to take a trip for yourselves.
Our next stop from Loch Lomond, was Glen Coe, and is it was less than a 2 hour journey, we decided to take a slight detour. Both Stew and I are addicted to Game of Thrones, and we found out that Winterfell is actually Doune Castle, and was not far from our campsite. Sadly much of the castle was covered in scaffolding and it wasn’t open to go in, as we were too early. But we walked around the grounds, and down towards the nearby river and ended up spotting a man fly fishing in the middle of it, with his dog sitting patiently at the waters edge waiting for him. Sometimes when you think things aren’t going your way, life has a way of surprising you!
Once we were back in the car we made the journey up to Glen Coe. We weren’t staying at Glen Coe itself, instead we were heading a bit further on to Glen Nevis, but Stew’s dad happened to be in Glen Coe holidaying, so we stopped there on route for dinner. What should have only been a couple of hours driving, turned into a little longer, as we didn’t quite factor in just how INSANE the landscape would be, driving into Glen Coe. There are literally no words! For miles you are surrounding by deep valleys and huge mountains. We watched as rain would come over the mountains, causing huge waterfalls to suddenly appear from nowhere, and streams run down to the road, water bouncing over stones and heather as it went whizzing past. No sooner had the rain gone overhead, than a rainbow would appear across the road, as the sun would reappear. At one point we could see two rainbows simultaneously. I thought I was dreaming! It was literally like something out of a fairytale. I really can’t put into words what it looked like, and my photos don’t do it justice whatsoever. We had no idea at the time, that the scenery would just get better and better as we made our way up to Isle of Skye.
Another foodie recommendation is Loch Leven Seafood Cafe. Similarly to Luss Seafood Bar, here you will taste the freshest fish and seafood, caught straight from the Loch across the road. You can literally see the Loch from the restaurant window. The restaurant itself isn’t much to look at, as it’s based in what looks like a converted warehouse, on the side of the fishmongers. However, what it lacks in charm, it certainly makes up for in food. Here it is literally all about the seafood, with the menu not boasting much of anything else. Above are razor clams, my first experience of them. Whilst they tasted beautiful, and came with a gorgeous tomato and caper sauce, I’m glad we shared them as there was so much on the menu I wanted to try. Our favourite dish happened to be Cullen Skink – a traditional Scottish soup, comprising of fish, potato and onions. It tasted much like a class potato and leek, except with the addition of fish. I’m not sure if they’re all like this, but Loch Leven Seafood Cafe’s was beautifully creamy, packed full of peppery flavour. I could’ve eaten a bowl twice the size, it was that good!
The next instalment of our travels will be Ben Nevis and our beautiful journey to the Isle of Skye.
Have you ever visited Loch Lomond or Glen Coe? Have you ever been to Scotland? I’d love to hear your thoughts if so 🙂