Scotland has got to be my favourite places to take holidays. We have been here twice already this year and if I am honest I wouldn’t mind coming back in December.
This time up we have stayed on Inchmurrin, which is one of only three habited islands on Loch Lomond. It is approximately 1 1/2 miles long and ½ mile wide and only a short boat ride across from the car park near Balloch. We have stayed here once before five years ago when it was the Queens Jubilee and the island was one of the chosen places to light a beacon on the highest point of the island as part of the celebrations. We had a great week back then and have been meaning to come back ever since, especially since Zach was born but have just never got the chance as we have had other holidays and occasions planned.
Once on the island in a way you’re stuck away from civilisation. Obviously the owners family live on the island, as well as visitors coming across via boats to the islands popular restaurant. But the property we stay in is hidden away from others with its own private garden and beach – so you can choose to be away from all signs of human life if required! There is no shop on the island so you need all the supplies you will require brought over with you, unless you intend to come off the island at any point!
This was our supplies for four days for 4 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs!! Dear lord I was knackered by the time we got them from the car in the compound to the jetty, into the boat and back out and then trekked all the way over to the property we were staying in. I ended up using a wheelbarrow so we didn’t have to make as many trips backwards and forwards.
The island is family owned by the Scotts and has been for three generations. As well as having the holiday lets, long lease properties and the restaurant; it is also a working farm with the current residents being cows, sheep and horses. In years gone by the land has been used for a hunting lodge, a castle and mental asylum! More recently there is a section of land leased by a nudist colony! I am yet to come across this section, not sure whether I am happy or disappointed by this!! We also secretly know that a famous actor out of a super famous television drama also rents a property here!!!! Never seen him though – I would of definitely got a selfie with him!
You can read more about the history of the Island here.
The Island has 2 Lodges and 3 apartments available for holiday lets–
The Ben which sleeps a total of eight people, it has 2 double rooms with en-suite and 2 twin rooms with a family bathroom.
The Lodge which sleeps six, it again has 2 double rooms and a twin room as well a family bathroom.
Then the three apartments which sleep between 4-6 people are situated right next to the bar and restaurant, you can read more about them here.
The pub is just a shortish walk from the lodges, depending on which one you are in, and offers good views out over the Loch. There is plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors and has jetty’s which are open to the public to come and use when visiting the pub. Plenty of people come and go to the restaurant. Theres nothing better than sitting outside the pub with a pint on a nice day, people watching as boats come and go.
This year we spent a considerable amount of time in the water with Zach. Since his first wild swimming experience on our last holiday to Windermere he has been craving to get back into the water. This time we bought him his own wetsuit as we weren’t expecting such good weather whilst away. Luckily though we had some fairly decent weather. We took over a large dinghy with us for Zach to play around in and he loved it. Begging me to row out further and further into the loch – that kids much braver than me i tell you!
The last time we were here, pre kids, me and Steph’s brother paddled round the island to the pub and back, and my goodness was it hard work in that rubber dinghy and him in a kayak, but its all part of the fun.
On a night, its nice and peaceful sitting down on the private beach with a little fire going, toasting marshmallows and having a few of Scotland’s finest tennant’s lagers. On the first night, we watched the sun go down as the sun sets just over the mountains on the mainland across from our beach.
We found plenty of ways to while away the days on the island with the boys by playing on the water, but Zachs favourite day had to be when we walked the full length of the island to the untouched beach at the end, had a picnic and spent a few hours exploring. The island is very hilly so its rough terrain – the highest point is 89 metres up so you can imagine that the view of the surrounding loch and mountains is breathtaking. Zach then decided that he wanted to walk back along the edge of the shore, who are we to say no. So off we went, we discovered a mile in that there was a rocky edge that wasn’t passable on land so in we all went knee deep into the loch to get round it. The things you do for kids eh? It took two days for our boots to all dry out! But it was worth it as we stumbled across a old homemade swing in a tree right on the waters edge.
Off the island there is an abundance of things to do, plenty of places to visit ranging from tourist attractions to being up and into the mountains.
Balloch is just a 5-minute drive down the road and has shops, restaurants and petrol stations. You can also go on sightseeing boat trips from here and they have a sea life centre based on the edge of the loch, which we visited last week to kill a few hours in the rain.
We also visited the Faerie Trail in Luss, which is a new addition to the area since our last visit at the start of the year. You purchase a guide book from in the village centre and the public car park and it leads you off into a lovely woodland walk filled with plenty of Faerie wonders, but watch out for the goblins that might be lurking! Highly recommend this activity for those with young kids with a wild imagination like ours. Zach loved it! So did the missus but dont tell her I told you that.
I must also must make a shout out here to a lovely independent toy shop that we stumbled upon in Helensburgh, The Toy Shop. Helensburgh is a lovely coastal town with a few nice shops and worth a visit for a few hours. The Toy Shop is right on the front and had a very good selection of toys. I am talking well thought out toys not just your usual plastic crap from Argos and the lady behind the counter was super helpful and friendly to chat too so we made a few purchases for the boys upcoming birthdays.
If you want to see more of Scotland and don’t mind the drive you could take yourself up to Glencoe, my favourite place to visit for photography, but here you can ski, walk, canoe and even see the wild stags and deer. On the way back down the loch i would recommend calling into the Drovers Inn before heading back to the island. The food here is good quality and the taxidermy company even better! Its certainly worth a little look in to experience the quirkiness for yourself.
Over all it has been another successful Scotland adventure and i am sad to see the back of it, but we will certainly be returning sooner than the last time and thats a promise.