Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has more than 720 square miles of untamed and unspoilt ancient landscapes. The park was created to welcome people from all over the world to share in the joy of such wilderness. However, it is also a playground for us Scots, a quick escape from the city lights into the countryside in less than an hour from Glasgow.

It wasn’t called the bonnie banks for nothing, with secluded islands, more than 20 other lochs in the region and 21 Munros in the surrounding area, it’s an outdoor enthusiasts dream.

Accommodation is plentiful, from glamping and camping to swanky hotels and luxury resorts, the choice is yours. We have opted for the Inn on Loch Lomond, with view of the loch, it sits alongside the main A82 road which runs up the west side of the loch, just three miles north of Luss. Its sister hotel, the Lodge on Loch Lomond, has direct Lochside access.

The Inn on Loch Lomond was formerly known as the Inverbeg Hotel, and has the Inverbeg Galleries sitting right alongside, with rooms full of artwork, with prices starting from just a few pounds for prints, up to thousands for original pieces.

The inn first opened in 1814, and even after a relatively recent refurbishment project, it retains its traditional charm, having served as a watering hole to generations of travellers. It is modern, with stylish public spaces with a village pub feel, and a terrific restaurant with a roaring fire.

It does have a beach house which is just a short walk from the main hotel, which offers individually designed bedrooms right on the banks of the loch.

First things first, if you are going to Loch Lomond, you might as well get yourself on it, or in it. It’s freezing today, so on it is as much as I can muster. I’ve booked an hour of kayaking with Loch Lomond Wakeboard, at Ardlui. It’s cold but it’s calm and after getting into a damp wetsuit and lifejacket we are given a rather brief introduction to kayaking. Basically, get in and paddle, and come back in an hour or thereabouts. In reality, when we got the knack it was quite a fulfilling experience, silently gliding along the banks and having a nosey into the Lochside cabins. It was a delightful way to spend a morning and spot some of the resident wildlife, mainly birds. If you like your birds big and with claws, head along to the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre at Balloch, where you can get up close and personal with their range of raptors including the centre’s superstar golden eagle Orla.

Lunch was picked up on the hoof at Auchentullich Farm Shop, just off the A82 at Alexandria, it has a terrific range of Scottish food, and sells their own home bred Highland beef, as well as selling their own non-homogenised free range milk, and a range of ice cream that is nothing short of fab.u.lous using the milk from their dairy farm.

Back to the hotel and we are in an Executive Ben Lomond room, which has double doors opening out over the front of the hotel with a view of the loch. The room is spacious with a superking size bed. There’s decent wifi and the view over the loch does drag you back to the window, rather than watching TV. It’s difficult to shut out the noise of the road as it is right outside the hotel and is always busy, bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.

To get to the room you are in a maze of corridors and stairs and you really get the feel of the hotels history with its low ceilings and thick walls disguised under the 21st century decor.

The marketing in the room tells us that they have invented a new type of casual dining in the form of Mr C’s fish and whisky bar and restaurant, serving a chip shop menu in a restaurant venue.

It’s not an extensive menu, there’s the chippy menu, pizza, and the grill option. Most people around us are eating from the chippy menu. The bar, which is very warm and welcoming, and has live music on in the evening, has lots of local beers and plenty of whisky for your obligatory dram.

We start with mussel in a creamy garlic white sauce, which has the current husband singing its praises, “They are fantastic,” he tells me. The main courses are battered monk fish with chippy chips and home made tartare sauce, and I have chicken, leek and ham pie, with chippy chips and veg. It’s not your usual oil soaked chip shop experience, the food is well presented and tasty, and not ridiculously priced (or priced for Americans, which is my usual thought when you are overcharged in some of these restaurants that attract tourists).

If you have a body conscience and want to work off your dinner, you can use the facilities at the Lodge on Loch Lomond, which is three miles south. It has a pool, steam room and sauna, but we have no such conscience, so we stay in the bar.

Breakfast next morning is your usual cereal and full cooked number and we take a drive down to Loch Lomond Shores, where there is plenty going on. We pass the Cruise Loch Lomond boats that are doing the rounds across the loch, taking visitors to explore some of the 23 islands. We didn’t have the time to do it this time, but we have in the past. Book lunch or dinner on the island of Inchmurrin, the largest and most southerly island on the loch. There you can dine in style with stunning views of the loch, go quad biking or even get married, but that involves a wee bit more planning. The island is owned and run by the Scott family who have farmed there for generations. It’s well worth a visit.

Back to Loch Lomond Shores and apart from the shopping, of which there is much to keep you busy, you can visit the Sea Life Centre, which kids love, or hire boats to paddle around the little bay. As it is, our time is up, you could amuse yourself around Loch Lomond for weeks on end, walking well-worn paths, or finding hidden routes, and when you venture further away from the loch into the national park, the opportunities are endless.

Inn on Loch Lomond, Executive Ben Lomond room from £90.


Things to do:

Loch Lomond Aquarium


Soar at Intu Braehead, real snow ski centre 40 mins away


Bike hire and canoe hire


Dumbarton castle


Cruise. Cruise loch Lomond, Tarbet


Golf courses:

Carrick, world class 18 hole course, short distance from hotel; Aberfoyle golf club; Vale of Leven Alexandria; Drymen, Cardross, Dumbarton, Helensburgh, and Loch Lomond golf club.

Paddle steamer: Maid of the Loch, Balloch.


Sir Walter Scott, Loch Katrine, enjoy afternoon tea on the loch.


Loch Lomond Seaplanes


Loch Lomond shores


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