Holiday: Day 6: Scotland (2022) – On the Loch!

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Day 6 – Tuesday, 24th May

Morning McReader! 😀 It’s Day 6, and our first day staying in Gartocharn (pop. c680) south-east of, and very close to, Loch Lomond.

Brollies at the ready!

In spite of the less-than-exciting weather forecast, we’re exploring Loch Lomond today – by boat.


10.05am: But before all that, it was walkies time! Yesterday, Deborah, the owner, pointed out a short walk with great views very nearby. It’s known as Duncryne Hill and the locals call it ‘The Dumpling’!

There and back took us around 45 minutes. It’s mostly a gentle climb, but watch your step as you get nearer the summit as there is plenty of opportunity for slipping and sliding! 😲 It IS worth it though, for the stunning views, not only on the way up

…but also at the summit, boasting unrivalled views across Loch Lomond!

Loch Lomond

12.15pm: We took the short drive back into the village of Balloch (pop. c6000) – and to Sweeney’s Cruise Company There was a couple of cruises on offer: a one hour version and the two hour variation called ‘Island Discovery’ – we chose the latter. At this time of year, they offer two cruises per day – the first, at 12.30pm and the second at 3.00pm. Depending on what time of the year you visit, outside of May through to September, the cruises are weekends only. It’s £23.50 per person and probably quicker to book online.

“Discover the legends and secrets of the islands of Loch Lomond, known as the jewels in her crown. This leisurely 2 hour circular cruise passes the world famous Loch Lomond Golf Club, explores the middle island of Loch Lomond sailing through an area know to locals as “The Narrows” and onwards to the village of Luss”.

Even though a bit of rain was forecast for today, looking ahead, it’s the best day for a few days! ☂️☂️


12.30pm: There was a car-park very nearby – and free too! We just needed to ‘check in’ at the kiosk and head for the water’s edge. Ship ahoy! We boarded the Silver Marlin, together with the rest of mankind (Boy, was it busy!!!) 👍 The sun was out so we sat at the back stern. For a moment, it felt TOO hot, but we coped!!! 😯

The engines fired-up and we were off! 120 minutes worth of pure Scottishness awaited us! With occasional pre-recorded commentary by TV personality and Historian, Neil Oliver, we were offered all we needed to know about this massive tourist attraction.

Nothing quite prepared me for the sheer scale of the Loch – it felt simply enormous, and at almost 40 kms long, 8 kms wide and covering an area of 71 km² – it was! 👍

But, do you know what? 75 minutes in, in spite of Neil Oliver’s excellent narration, the reasonable weather, the ideal viewing position and a very smoooooth journey, I felt like I’d ODed on the sky/trees/mountains/water combo! Too much of a good thing maybe? Sounds terrible I know, but dare I say it? – it all started to feel a bit meh!

2.10pm: And then right on cue, it began to rain… and then REALLY rain!!! ☔☔. Time to move inside for the last fifteen minutes of the journey! Scottish rain seems to be bigger and weightier than its English counterpart!

2.29pm: Respect to the Captain who managed to manoeuvre the ship into the tightest of spaces (think he’d done this before!) we returned to where we’d cast-off some two hours ago. And talking of timings, I think that unless you are seriously into Scottish Lochs, the ONE hour cruise would probably still have ticked the majority of the boxes. In spite of my indifference, I’m glad we did it!

Back in the car, we stopped at the local Co-Op for some bits and bobs for a late lunch.

Looking ahead, the weather is (still!) all over the place, so we’re avoiding the potential rain – at least for tomorrow – and visiting Stirling Castle. See you there on Wednesday! 😀

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