Do you have a place near to you that’s your happy place? A place you can visit that instantly makes you feel calmer?
For me, it’s Loch Lomond. Often, in the past, after a tough day in the office, we would take a drive up there just to de-stress. Just being in the vicinity of it gives me a sense of peace, however brief (it’s usually interrupted by other people, obviously). At the moment, we’re neither in the office (part of the working from home brigade for just over a year now currently) or able to travel outside of the Glasgow council area, but here are a few of my favourite spots to visit around it.
MILARROCHY BAY – a beautiful wee gem of a place on the east side of Loch Lomond, just keep going once you past Balmaha and it’s on your left. (If you reach Rowardennan, you’ve gone too far, but don’t worry as the road is one of many dead end roads in Scotland, so you can still catch Milarrochy on the way back!) It has a cute little bit of beach, fabulous views of the loch and surrounding mountains, and a highly Instagrammable tree. (Trust me, I have taken many a picture of this tree, and spotted many other pictures of it online.)
DUCK BAY MARINA – this is a beautiful area off the A82 on the west side of the loch, and very popular with all. The views over to Ben Lomond are fabulous and there’s also plenty of space to have a wee picnic. There’s also the hotel there if you need a drink or meal when you’re in the vicinity – I haven’t been to the hotel myself but I’ve heard good things!
INVERSNAID – this spot is a bit more complicated to get to, but it’s worth it. You basically go nowhere near Loch Lomond for the bulk of the journey, headed via Aberfoyle, but you get some bonus lochs thrown in for your trouble – Ard, Chon and Arklet, as well as Katrine if you want to tack on an additional quick trip to Stronachlachar! Once you take the winding road down to the lochside at Invernaid though you’ll find some fabulous views (of course!) as well as a fabulous waterfall next to the hotel.
BALMAHA – this is definitely a popular spot, so much so that they did need to close the road in the early part of lockdown as people continued to stream in. So pick your time wisely if you want to visit Balmaha, especially if you want to climb Conic Hill. The views from Conic Hill are immense, even if you are like me and don’t make it all the way up. And you can combine a trip to Balmaha with a trip to Milarrochy too if you so desire!
FIRKIN POINT – another favourite, and part of this is because of the hilarity the name causes us every time we are near it. (“What’s the firkin point?” “THERE’S the firkin’ point!” etc etc. Yes, we’re not very funny.) But it is also an incredibly beautiful, photogenic little spot and, as it is at the side of the A82, it’s easily accessible.
DUNCRYNE HILL AKA “THE DUMPLING” – one of the few hills I’ve successfully climbed, The Dumpling can be found in Gartocharn and is a very quick walk with views that rival those from Conic. Remember, I’m lazy and so if I can say this is easily do-able, I mean it! There’s a small steep section right before the top which admittedly winded me, and the start of the walk can be boggy if it’s been raining recently (so suitable footwear is recommended rather than the first time I tried it – in ballet pumps) but it can be done easily and without too much haste, including some time admiring the view at the top, in well under an hour.
So that’s just a small selection of great places to visit around Loch Lomond. I haven’t even mentioned Rowardennan, Inveruglas, Luss, or Balloch, as well as the host of little laybys you may find at the side of the road, but the above is definitely a start.
Where’s your favourite spot in Loch Lomond?