Having access to a car is incredibly freeing, and while we really would love to do the NC500, it's not exactly in the budget or Aaron's student timeline. So, in the meantime, we're familiarizing ourselves with drives nearby. Fortunately for us, Loch Lomond is an easy drive away, and from there, we're off to any number of beautiful places!
1. Luss. Probably one of my favourite wee towns, and definitely one of the more picturesque and touristy. But it's beautiful and while we've only driven through it a couple of times, I have plans to go down there early in the morning sometime this fall to beat the tourist rush.
2. Balmaha and Milarrochy Bay. We whizzed up the eastern side of the loch one evening in a futile attempt to get Georgiana to sleep (it didn't work, but hey, we tried!). Balmaha struck me as a mini Balloch- definitely touristy, definitely adorable, and definitely a place I have plans to return to in the near future. You can take a boat from here and sail down Loch Lomond, it's perfect for a simple walk along the main street, and I have it on good authority that the Oak Tree Inn is an excellent locale for food. Just need a babysitter, and date night is settled for us!
3. Inversnaid Hotel. We haven't visited the hotel yet, and a drive there is more through the Trossachs than by Loch Lomond shores, but that being said, it looks gorgeous and definitely like a lovely destination for a ramble! Nearby destinations include Rob Roy's Cave, the West Highland Way, and Arklet Falls. You can also take a ferry across to the hotel, as driving narrow, Scottish roads is not for the faint of heart.
4. Inverglas Viewpoint. This was a welcome surprise to climb a set of stairs and see this beautiful viewpoint overlooking Loch Lomond. There are 31 steps to the top and beautiful views on all sides. Definitely a nice place to get out and stretch one's legs if you've been in the car for too long! There are several other interesting viewpoints along Loch Lomond, but this was the first one we've visited!
5. Glen Douglas. Fancy a single-track road from A814 to Inverberg on Loch Lomond? I'd recommend the Glen Douglas road then. A winding, curving road that runs along the munitions depot on the right with rolling countryside on the left. There are three farms along this road, lots of sheep and highland coos, and some beautiful Scottish scenery.
... just mind the sheep!
6. Balloch. Always a good starting point for a trip around Loch Lomond. Grab a lunch at the Balloch House, and then walk it off with a quick walk up to Balloch Country Park. Take a selfie on the green in front of the castle and head back into town for a hot cuppa and a browse around some of the shops on the main street.