One of the most well-known locations in Scotland, and main tourist attractions for many backpackers and travellers are the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Situated an hour drive north of Glasgow it is a mere stone throw away from civilisation, yet somehow manages to maintain its’ seclusion.
Living just west of Glasgow, we were frequent visitors to the lochs beautiful beaches and stunning views of the surrounding munros. Here is a list of our favourite spots and views around this stunning and unique part of the world.
Loch Lomond Shores
The first stop you come to when travelling north of Clydebank to Loch Lomond is the Loch Lomond Shores tourist centre. This consists of shops, cafes, play parks and even a small aquarium for children. On a sunny day this is the busiest place on the loch, with coaches upon coaches of tourists piling into the centre, ready to soak up the incredible views up the loch.
However, despite the hustle and bustle that can be found here, it is still a must see point of your tour of Loch Lomond. Walk round from the shopping centre until you get to a small beach with kayaks and pedalos (for those wishing to brave the freezing waters), and you will come to a partially secluded section of rocky beach. The number of hours we have spent here skipping stones and contemplating life are countless.
The first main stop you will come to as you drive up Loch Lomond’s west banks is the small town called Luss. This tiny conservation village has houses dating back to the 18th century, which were built to accommodate workers at the nearby slate quarries. The site itself has been the location of settlements dating back to medieval times. This is another major tourist point of Loch Lomond, as tourists stretch their legs and get food in the local pubs.
Our favourite time of year to come here is either early spring or early winter, as the low temperatures keep the flocks of visitors at bay. On a crisp, calm day the views of the loch are simply mesmorising, and the pier offers a fantastic vantage point for northward and southward views.
Inveruglas Visitor Centre
Fondly referred to as the “hydrostation” by my friends and I, this has got to be our favourite place along the banks of Loch Lomond. During the day you can catch ferry cruises from this point to admire the splendour of the Scottish highlands from the water, or you can stretch your legs and explore the forest that sits on the banks of the loch.
Our favourite time to visit this location is just before the sun sets on a long summer’s day. With the visitor centre shut and tourists long gone, this place has an incredible serenity to it. It is the perfect vantage point to sit and watch as the sun sets and the still waters give a spectacular, reflective light-show of the surrounding mountains. Once the sun has disappeared and the clouds have parted ( if you are particularly lucky), the pollution-free sky is littered with shooting stars and stories to tell.
My best memory of this location was a twilight BBQ on a secluded, secret part of this rocky outcrop, followed by stargazing and toasted marshmallows.
The Islands of Loch Lomond
This famous loch has over 30 islands scattered along its length, the exact number changing depending on the level of the water. The largest of which is Inchmurrin, which also happens to be the largest island on a body of fresh water in Britain. The travel writer H.V. Morton once said:
“A large part of Loch Lomond’s beauty is due to its islands, those beautiful green tangled islands, that lie like jewels upon its surface”
A popular activity on the loch is to use a boat to access these islands and camp out on them overnight. I have never been lucky enough to do this myself, although the thought of the midges in the middle of the water makes me shiver.
Roadtripping to Inverarnan
In many ways the drive along the east coast of the loch is a highlight itself. The tiny, twisting road is not one for the faint hearted (or big lorries), with many sections of blind corners and tight squeezes past tour coaches. However the views of the loch during the odd break from the trees is stunning, and there are plenty of stopping points to pull over and admire the beauty it has to offer. Just make sure you pay more attention to the roads than the loch!
If you are visiting Scotland, or even the UK, Loch Lomond is a definite stop for anyone who wants to see Scotland’s true beauty. Make sure you add this to your list and keep your eyes peeled for your own personal, secluded spots to take in the scenery!