Tag Archives: Loch Lomond Shores

There are many local events happening at the Loch Lomond Shores including the popular farmers’ market where you’ll find unique, handmade goods, perfect if you’re looking for a relaxing outdoor activity with the family.


What is Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Famous For?

Loch Lomond is home to breath-taking scenery, craggy hills, steep mountain tops, sparkling lochs and beautiful villages with old brick work and charming locals. Discover the tranquillity of nature, go exploring through the Trossachs forestry or glide across the loch’s waters, you’re never short of things to do or see on the bonnie banks. A tourist hotspot for adventure, a backdrop for Scottish staycations, and the ultimate place to re-connect with nature. But why is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park so famous and popular? Let us explain…

Its Unique Form

Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, home to 22 islands surrounding its body of water. Splitting the Scottish Highland Boundary Fault Line, Loch Lomond acts as a gateway from the Lowlands to the Highlands. Loch Lomond’s shape and breadth was carved by glaciers during the final stages of the ice age. North of the loch, glaciers dug a deep channel in the Highland schist, removing approximately 600m of bedrock creating a narrow fjord-like finger lake. Due south the glaciers spread across the softer Lowland sandstone, creating a wider body of water that is more than 30m deep. The character and shape of the loch was manipulated and determined by the movements of glaciers over 10,000 years ago.

Its Numerous Islands

Dependant on the water levels, there are 22 islands and 27 islets that surround Loch Lomond’s 23-mile long body of fresh water. Of these 22 islands only 3 are in care of conversation bodies who protect and preserve the beauty of these treasured landscapes. The National Nature Reserves cares for the isle of Inchcailloch, whilst the National Trust looks after both Bucinch and Ceardach. A few of Loch Lomond’s islands provided sanction to various historic figures including Mary Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. The loch and its islands are rich in culture, history and heritage.

Its Reference In Pop Culture

Pop culture has helped magnify Loch Lomond’s status through the infamous world-renowned Scottish song – The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond. No good Scottish party would be complete without a rendition of this famous anthem at the end of the night. The song has been recorded by various artists over the years, however, the most popular version was released by the Celtic rock band Runrig, in 1979. Unfortunately, the song writer is a mystery which has only encouraged the masses to create their own meaning behind the song. One of the most prolific is that it was written about two soldiers, one of whom was going to die. According to Celtic mythology, if someone dies in a foreign land, his spirit will travel to his homeland by “the low road”, suggesting that the soon-to-be dead soldier would arrive back to his beloved Scotland quicker than his living comrade.

The National Park is home to many small towns and villages with old-school cottages, historical buildings and various places to visit. The people’s favourite, situated on the western shores of the loch, originally known as Clachan Dubh (‘the dark village’) is the small village of Luss. TV cameras flooded the charming streets of Luss whilst filming the Scottish Soap Opera ‘Take The High Road’. One of Luss’ most distinguishing character features is their cottages, which were originally built in the cotton mill and slate quarries throughout the 18th and 19th century. Luss Pier is also a tourist favourite as it offers visitors unparalleled views towards Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southern Munro.

It was Scotland’s First National Park

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is also famous because it was the very first place in Scotland to be awarded National Park status back in 2002. Princess Anne officially opened Loch Lomond and The Transachs National Park on 24th July 2002. The National Park encompasses around 720sq miles and boasts some of the finest scenery in Scotland. From rolling lowland hills in the south to some of the country’s highest mountains in the north, glistening lochs and rivers, forests and woodlands. Take your camera as you’re never short of an atmospheric snapshot no matter the season or weather front.

It’s A Popular Spot For Adventure

Around 50% of Scotland’s population live within an hours’ drive of the National Park, making it one of the most accessible places in Scotland for adventure. The 2011 census revealed that 15,168 people live in the National Park. The National Park is not only lived in, it is worked in by many and enjoyed recreationally by thousands.

A source of adventure is never far away. One of the biggest attractions of the National Park is its abundance of opportunities for walking and hiking. In total there are 21 Munros (Scottish mountains above 3,000ft) scattered throughout the park, the most well-known of which being Ben Lomond, while Ben More is the highest at 1,174m, as well as plenty of easier walking and cycling routes. There are numerous water sports businesses located around the loch, aerial treetop adventure courses, shooting ranges, off-road driving experiences, and seaplane trips, to name only a few!

Its Wildlife

There are four distinctive areas of the National Park – Loch Lomond, Cowal, The Trossachs and Breadalbane. And each offers a unique opportunity to discover Scotland’s wildlife. Head north to Breadalbane and discover red deer, while Cowal’s coast is home to porpoises and seals. In summer you can expect to find ospreys feeding in Loch Lomond while the varied forest landscape of The Trossachs is home to red squirrels, black grouse, pine martens and otters.

Its Two Forest Parks

Within the Trossachs National Park there are two Forest Parks – Queen Elizabeth in the Trossachs and Argyll in Cowal. The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park affords a magical atmosphere with wonderful wildlife species roaming through the forest. By foot, bike or horseback, begin your journey from The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre near Aberfoyle where you can choose which trail to embark on. Whether you choose The Three Lochs Forest Drive which uncovers the heart of the forest or simply head to Loch Ard for a gentle, tranquil stroll, the choice of adventure is at your fingertips. Soak up the scenery and feast your eyes on some of Scotland’s most loved locations.

Craggy mountain peaks, rolling glens, lochs and fast-paced rivers, Argyll Forest Park is full of life and wonder. Established back in 1935, Argyll is Britain’s oldest Forest Park. Its lands stretch from an inlet of the Firth of Clyde, to the peaks of the Arrochar Alps. The Highland Boundary Fault created Argyll’s breath-taking scenery. This park is also a popular spot for avid cyclers as it offers cracking cross-country mountain bike routes including a circuit round the Argyll peninsula.

Discover Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is famous for a variety of reasons, and its rich culture and wildlife continues to develop every day. You’re never short of adventure or a pretty sight when you visit. Whether it’s a daytrip, road trip or weekend break, Loch Lomond should be at the top of your bucket list.

If you’re looking for a base for your next Loch Lomond adventure, consider our luxury self-catering properties. Whether you want to escape to a cosy romantic cottage, or a luxury lodge big enough to fit the whole family, you’ll find an apartment, cottage or lodge to suit.

Explore our accommodation options


Loch Lomond Loch Views

10 Interesting Facts About Loch Lomond

 

Straddling the Scottish Highland Boundary Fault Line, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park boasts some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery in the form of mountains, rolling hills and silvery lochs. Loch Lomond lies at the heart of the National Park, with 22 islands surrounding its 24-mile-long body of fresh water. On the eastern shore you will find various footpaths, cycle trails, the Ben Lomond mountain and tourist’s favourite Conic Hill. Across the loch lies Luss village, home to ancient stone cottages, rolling countryside and tourist hotspots.

Whether it’s a day trip, weekend visit or mid-week escape, Loch Lomond is the perfect place to explore. Plus, there’s plenty of restaurants and self-catering accommodation if you want to prolong your visit. These 10 facts about Loch Lomond will help fuel your need for adventure and escapism to the countryside.

  1. The depth and width of Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish loch and is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain. Approximately 36 kilometres long, with varying widths of 1 – 8 kilometres and a maximum depth of around 153 metres in the deeper, more northern section of the loch. The southern shores of Loch Lomond are only a mere 14 miles northwest of the centre of Glasgow, one of Scotland’s largest cities.

  1. Loch Lomond Isles

Three of Loch Lomond’s Islands are in the care of conservation agencies who protect and preserve the beauty of Scotland’s treasured landscapes. Inchcailloch is part of Loch Lomond’s National Reserve whilst the National Trust takes care of Bucinch and Ceardach. The remaining islands are all privately owned and maintained.

  1. Inchmurrin Isle

Inchmurrin is not only the largest Loch Lomond Isle but is also the largest inland island in the UK. Its name comes from the chapel of St Mirren which once stood on the Island. At the south-west tip of the island lies the ruins of the 14th century castle built by Duncan, the 8th Earl of Lennox. The island was also visited by many notable figures including Mary Queen of Scots and Scotland’s national hero, Robert the Bruce. The island is now privately owned and managed by the Scott family who live and work there.

  1. Wallace’s Isle

Wallace’s Isle is a low, flat island in the mouth of Inveruglas water, slightly south of the village of Inveruglas. As the old folk’s tale goes, this island was named after the great Scottish patriot, William Wallace, who sought refuge at the isle from the enemy. The island is now predominantly covered in alder trees which are conical in shape and can reach a great height of 20 metres and live to 60 years.

  1. Inchlonaig Island

Inclonaig island, the most northern of the larger Loch Lomond Isles, situated north of Inchconnachan. Dominated by yew trees, and boasting a tranquil setting, this island is a common basecamp for campers looking for a more remote campsite in Loch Lomond. History tells us that Robert the Bruce planted these yew trees in order to make his archers bows before the 14th century Battle of Bannockburn.

  1. Fraoch Eilean

Froach Eilean is a small island situated at the northern end of Loch Awe, a freshwater loch. The Scots Gaelic language translates Fraoch Eilean to ‘heather island’. This heather island is at its most beautiful and picturesque when the heather is in full blossom in early summer and early autumn.

  1. Inchcailloch Isle

The name Inchcailloch means “Isle of the Old Woman” or “Isle of the Cowled Woman” in the Gaelic language. In the 8th century, an Irish missionary, St Kentigerna settled on the island to preach and spread Christianity. The island is said to be named after her. Inchcailloch is protected by the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve and is a fantastic island to visit, providing many opportunities to explore its rich, natural and cultural heritage.

  1. The Highland Boundary Faultline

The Highland Boundary Fault is a huge fault zone that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh and separates two distinct terrains: The Highlands from the Lowlands. The fault line runs in a south-west direction through Loch Lomond’s islands including Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin. The view from the top of Conic Hill provides the most spectacular views of the fault line.

  1. Loch Lomond Wildlife

The Trossachs National Park is brimming with wildlife and a picturesque walk through the forestry might result in a magical encounter with one of many deer species that inhabit and roam Loch Lomond. Migrating from Africa in spring to autumn comes ospreys, powerful and majestic birds of prey. Along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond is where you’ll find the ospreys. Loch Lomond is also home to various mammals including badgers, bats, beavers, red squirrels and seals.

  1. Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond is one of Scotland’s most climbed munros, rewarding over 30,000 annual visitors with beautiful views across Loch Lomond towards the northern hills and the Trossachs to the east. This Scottish mountain has a summit of more than 3,000 feet. And whether you choose to walk up and down the well-laid tourist trail or a circuit via Ptarmigan Ridge, make sure you stop along the way and look out towards the dramatic landscape.


Autumn Family Fun

Car-less Sightseeing Ideas For Families at Cameron Lodges

Here at Cameron Lodges, we’re eagerly working towards our Green Tourism Gold Award and as such we’re encouraging all our guests to consider more eco-friendly sightseeing activities during their break in Loch Lomond. There is so much to explore within easy walking and cycling distance of our resort on the south-western shore of Loch Lomond. So leave the car behind and explore all that the local area has to offer for families.

We’ve created a 3 day car-less sightseeing itinerary below for families visiting our resort. Do you have any other ideas to add to our itinerary? Tweet us @cameronlodges or leave us a comment on Facebook, and we’ll be sure to add them in!

3 Day Itinerary

Day 1 – AM

Get On Your Bike!

Head along to the Cameron House Marina and hire mountain bikes for the day. The resort has a selection of adult and child bikes available to hire for the full or half day. Cycling is an ideal activity for the whole family to enjoy, and with spectacular scenery on our door step and several cycle paths to help you explore it, Loch Lomond is a great place to get on your bike. Our friendly marina team are also on hand to provide you with family friendly cycling routes when you pick up your bikes.

To book or to find out more information on mountain bike hire from the Cameron House Marina, please call 01389 722 508 or email themarina@cameronhouse.co.uk

The West Loch Lomond Cycle Path is a family friendly route which begins in Balloch and ends in Tarbet, taking in the picturesque village of Luss and many iconic sightseeing spots along the way, including Ben Lomond. Don’t forget to stop and get some photographs, or take advantage of the many picnic spots along the route. Why not stop in at Auchentullich Farm Shop, located across from the entrance to The Carrick Golf Course and Cameron Club & Spa Resort, and stock up on some picnic essentials? The shop has a delicious supply of fresh bread, filled rolls, cold meats, sweet treats and a selection of chilled drinks, plus an ice cream counter.

Beginning at Balloch Visitor Centre and ending in Tarbet, this 17 mile long cycle path will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. It will take approximately 10 minutes to cycle from the Marina at Cameron House to Balloch Visitor Centre to begin the cycle. To find out more about the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path and to download the route card, click here.

You can also read our recent blog on other Loch Lomond cycling routes here.

Day 1 – PM

Dinner at The Boat House

After a day of cycling along the western shore of Loch Lomond, head back to the Cameron House Marina to drop off your bikes before popping into The Boat House for some dinner and drinks. The perfect place to relax post-cycle, the new-England themed Boat House restaurant overlooks the marina and offers a varied menu of local seafood dishes, sharing platters, pizzas from our traditional wood burning oven, family favourites such as the classic beef burger, fish and chips and chicken supreme, and some healthy salads and light bites.

The Boat House also offers a swashbuckling children’s menu which includes a selection of child friendly dishes and a make your own pizza station. What’s more, the menu will keep your little ones entertained for hours with pirate-themed puzzles and activities to complete. So after a hard day’s cycling followed by some brain boosting puzzles, the little ones will fall into bed, leaving the adults to enjoy a few relaxing drinks back at the lodge. And if the weather’s nice, why not enjoy these al fresco on the balcony or terrace?

Explore The Boat House menus

Day 2 – AM

Depending on the weather, we’ve provided you with some family-friendly activities to enjoy close to the resort at Loch Lomond Shores, a short 30 minute stroll from Cameron House.

TreeZone at Loch Lomond Shores

Get a squirrel’s-eye view of Loch Lomond as you swing high in the trees, tackling a host of TreeZone challenges. From zip wires, balance beams and hanging platforms, to tight-ropes, scramble nets, white knuckle bridges and gap jumps, this high octane activity is located a gentle 25 minute walk from our lodges at Cameron House.

The best bit? You’ll get the best view in Loch Lomond from the 65m zip line!

The Buzzard course will take around 1 – 1.5 hours to complete and is suitable for families with children over 7 years of age, with an easier TreeCreeper course aimed at children under 1.3m in height.

Book your adventure with TreeZone and save 10% as a guest of Cameron Lodges. Speak to staff at check-in for more details.

SEALIFE Centre

Located a 30 minute walk along the shoreline from Cameron House, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy at SEALIFE Loch Lomond. The aquarium offers a range of fun talks, animal feeds, special events, a quiz trail and fortunately, is one activity in Loch Lomond that isn’t dependent on the weather!

Discover a collection of over 1,500 strange, beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep including the largest collection of sharks in Scotland, and 20 species of the most feared predators on the sea bed including the small but mighty Peacock Mantis Shrimp and the Giant Japanese Spider Crab, all in displays which carefully recreate their natural habitats.

Buy a ticket for SEALIFE Loch Lomond online and you’ll be allowed to enter and leave the aquarium as many times as you wish throughout the day.

For lunch, Loch Lomond Shores offers a range of cafes and restaurants to discover.

Day 2 – PM

Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre

Meet some of the most exquisite birds of prey in Loch Lomond including buzzards, hawks, eagles, kestrels, and falcons during your luxury lodge break. The Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre has over 30 birds of prey and owls, representing twenty-six species, including all 5 British owl species and makes a great and educational day out for all the family.

Families with children over 12 years old can enjoy unparalleled bird of prey experiences including a Hawk Walk, Meet the Owls, Meet the Birds and a Hunting Expedition. Learn how to handle and call bird of prey and experience the thrill when they cast off.

Find out more about the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre.

Day 3 – AM

Take a Wildlife Tour of The Carrick

Loch Lomond is well-known for its abundant wildlife, and where better to explore it than Cameron Club & Spa. When Doug Carrick designed The Carrick Golf Course, he respected the existing habits of many animals and birds during the design process. Over the years these species have thrived with the help of our resort conservation manager, rangers, groundsmen and green keepers who all contribute to the maintenance and protection of these natural habitats. From deer and bats, to birds of prey and bumblebees, we have them all right here on our doorstep.

Download our Wildlife Tour of The Carrick brochure

Day 3 – PM

Visit the Cameron Spa or take in a round on The Carrick

All Cameron Lodges guests enjoy use of the Thermal Experience at Cameron Spa which includes a selection of hydro and thermal experiences. From the invigorating hydrotherapy pool to the calming heat of the tepidarium, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. A highlight of a visit to the Thermal Experience is the stunning rooftop infinity pool. Take a dip and enjoy views across The Carrick Golf Course, Cameron Lodges resort and beyond to Loch Lomond and the rugged outline of the Scottish Highlands.

To book into the Thermal Experience, please call 01389 310 777 or email cameronspa@cameronhouse.co.uk

Lodges guests also receive 20% off treatments at the Spa, so there’s no excuse not to pamper yourself. With 17 treatment rooms including a VIP couple’s room with mineral bath, steam room and private balcony, as well as a Rasul mud chamber with steam room, and a Relaxation Suite, a visit to the Cameron Spa will ease the mind, body and soul. All our spa therapists are trained to the highest standard and only use indulgent ESPA and Carita products to further enhance your luxury spa experience.

Children are welcome to use the ground floor level pool facilities at the spa from 9.30am – 11am and 3pm – 5pm, 7 days per week.

The Carrick Golf Course is our 18 hole championship standard golf course and lodge guests can enjoy exclusive benefits including 50% off green fees, special rates for 3 rounds, free club rental and residents competitions.

Take a Guided Bat Walk*

A guided bat walk at dusk is the perfect opportunity to discover the bat population at the Cameron Club & Spa resort. Guided by our enthusiastic and knowledgeable Resort Conservation Manager, discover the difference between the calls of the different types of bats and learn all about their habitat, food and the conservation challenges we face.

To book, please email jpaterson@cameronhouse.co.uk

*Tuesdays only, May – September

Dinner at The Clubhouse

With ample seating and an outdoor terrace which overlooks The Carrick Golf Course towards Ben Lomond, The Clubhouse at Cameron is the perfect setting to relax and reflect after time spent in the Spa, or a tough round on the golf course.

Using the finest seasonal ingredients, our gastropub-inspired menu at the Clubhouse serves up a selection of hearty British classics, including crispy beer battered fish, delicious grills and pie of the day. The bar is also fully stocked with a range of traditional beers and fine ales, and an extensive wine and cocktail list for guests to enjoy. Younger guests can tuck into dishes from our golf-inspired children’s menu which features the kids club burger, breaded mozzarella sticks and chicken fajita goujons.

On Tuesdays guests can enjoy steaks, sides and a bottle of wine for two for only £39, and on Fridays there is live music from 7.30pm. The Clubhouse also plays host to weekend tasting experiences including wine, gin and whisky.

Find out more about the Clubhouse

Try our 3 day car-less itinerary and let us know what your favourite activity is! Tweet us or tag us on Instagram @cameronlodges, or leave us a comment on Facebook. Share your holiday snaps and we’ll re-post!

Feeling inspired?

To book your luxury break at Cameron Lodges, or find out more about our self-catering lodges, cottages and apartments below –

 


Toddler Cycling

Teaching Your Toddler How To Use A Balance Bike

Teaching Your Toddler How To Use A Balance Bike

Spring is the perfect time to teach your child how to ride a bike, making sure they are ready to enjoy the great outdoors during the summer holidays! Long gone are the days where kids would learn to ride a bike using a set of stabilisers, then learn again to go without stabilisers.

These days, children are able to learn how to balance themselves and steer their bike using a balance bike, two important skills for mastering riding a regular bike, making the transition from starter bike to regular bike much smoother.

In today’s blog we cover the basics of teaching your child how to ride a balance bike. If you have any experience of teaching your child to ride a bike and want to share any tips with us, please tag us @cameronlodges on Twitter or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

What is a balance bike?

So what is a balance bike and how does it differ from a normal bike? Side-by-side, the main difference is that a balance bike doesn’t have pedals or a chain set, two mainstays of any regular bike.

Balance bikes are a replacement for tricycles and bikes with stabilisers. As they’re meant for toddlers, they’re smaller than regular bikes and have fatter tyres which help stabilise the bike. Most balance bikes have at least one brake, however, at first most kids will try and stop themselves using their feet. So top tip number one, choose their footwear wisely! We don’t want their brand new trainers getting ruined on their first outing! You should also consider safety, so stay away from open-toed sandals, crocs, or any other kind of footwear where part of the foot is exposed.

How do they work?

Pedalling, steering, balancing, braking…cycling requires a lot of different skills and a lot of coordination to master! Balance bikes focus on teaching kids the two most important of these skills – balance and steering.

Balance bikes allow children to push the bike along with their feet at first, before learning to push off and glide along with their feet off the ground.

Is a balance bike better than a regular bike with stabilisers?

Isla Rowntree, triple British cyclo-cross champion and founder of Islabikes, a leading manufacturer of balance bikes, summarises in an interview with Cycling Weekly why balance bikes are better than stabilisers at teaching kids how to ride a bike:

“[Stabilisers] are not actually a great way to learn to ride. A bicycle steers by leaning, you lean it to the right and the handlebars fall to the right, you lean it to the left and they fall to the left. Stabilisers hold the bike in a rigid, upright position – so when a child learns to steer with stabilisers on the bike, they’re actually learning to steer a tricycle.

Instead of learning to steer by leaning, they learn to steer by turning the handlebars, and pushing their bodyweight away from the bike, to stop it toppling over. When they come to ride without the stabilisers, they’ve then got to un-learn what they’ve been doing and learn something different.”

What age is a balance bike suitable for?

Balance bikes are suitable from toddler age upwards. As long as your child can walk, there’s no reason why they can’t begin to learn a balance bike, however most bike manufacturers state from age 2+. Brands including Yvolution have designed a balance bike that’s suitable for younger kids aged 18 months +. Their Y Velo Junior Balance Bike has a double rear wheel for added stability when the child is younger, but the second wheel can then be removed when they gain confidence.

Is there an upper age limit to using a balance bike? In general, kids up to 5 years old can enjoy riding a balance bike, however most children will move on to a regular bike by age 4.

How to choose a balance bike

With so many options on the market, how do you choose a bike that’s right for your child?

Given that your little ones will likely use the bike over a two year period and they will grow a lot in that time, adjustability is key. Most bikes come with adjustable seat and handle bar heights and most bike manufacturers measure using a minimum inside leg measurement, as opposed to age. As well as height, you should find a bike that is no more than a third of your child’s weight.

Safety is key and some bikes offer a steering limiter, which means that the front wheel and handlebars won’t be able to spin fully round. Another important safety factor is whether or not your child can reach, and pull on, the brake.

How much does a balance bike cost?

Like any other product, you can get low (<£50), mid (£50-£100) and high-end (>£100) price points. Factors which affect the cost of the bike include its features e.g. weight, material and tyre type, whether it comes pre-assembled or needs to be built at home, and the brand itself.

The Independent wrote a great balance bike review in October 2018 which ranks the UK’s most popular balance bikes in a top 10 list, taking into account factors such as price, brand and features.

How do I teach my child to ride a balance bike?

As with any bike, before you begin, make sure the tyres are firm, the saddle is stable and the brake works. Teaching your child to ride a balance bike can be split into five main areas –

  1. Getting on / off the bike
  2. Braking
  3. Moving
  4. Balancing
  5. Steering

 

  1. Braking

Before your child gets on to the bike, it’s useful to teach them how to use the brake (if, of course, your chosen balance bike has a brake) so that they know how they can stop themselves if they feel they are going too fast (plus it will save those shoes!).

Start by having them walk alongside the bike, hands on the handlebars. Ask them to gently pull the brake lever until the bike starts to stop. Repeat this exercise as many times as possible for your little one to become comfortable with braking.

  1. Getting on and off the bike

It may be tempting to just lift your toddler on to the bike, however it’s worth spending some time teaching them how to get on and off properly. Getting on and off a balance bike is very similar to getting on and off a regular bike. The key skills to master are leaning the bike and swinging the leg over. Once they have swung their leg over, they should place it on the ground. At this stage, both feet should be flat on the ground, their bottom should be on the saddle and their hands should easily reach the handlebars. If at this stage you think your child looks uncomfortable, consider adjusting the seat / handle bar height.

  1. Moving

Once safely seated on the saddle, hands on handle bars, ask them to walk slowly in a straight line to allow them to get used to the bike and the movement required. While they’re walking, encourage them to look ahead. Top tip: kids can be easily distracted, so it’s useful to have someone up ahead that they can focus on. Your child will naturally go faster as they get used to the bike.

  1. Balancing

Once your child can confidently walk with the bike, encourage them to take longer steps, pushing themselves forward. The aim is to get them to lift their feet off the ground and glide along. Push with the left foot, push with the right foot, then glide! Top tip: a gentle downward slope will encourage them to lift their feet. Once your child has mastered the movements of cycling, re-introduce the brakes. To make it more fun, try playing games where you shout out words like Go / Slow / Fast and Stop!

  1. Steering

Once your child is comfortable with being on the bike and moving forward, it’s time to teach them how to steer. A bike steers by leaning on the handle bars. To help them steer, ask them to lean to the right / left while slightly turning the handle bars. Avoid sharp corners until they’ve built up confidence with gentle curves.

How long will it take to teach my child to ride a balance bike?

Little and often is key, as toddlers will generally only be able to do 30 mins of cycle practice at a time before getting tired, hungry or distracted. All kids learn at their own pace and some may take longer than others to pick up these new skills, but the important thing is that they are enjoying what they are doing!

Here are some tips from some one of our favourite parenting bloggers…

Sam Rickelton from North East Family Fun

“We found taking the kids to a cycle path with a very slight incline worked really well as it helped to give them a little momentum as they were getting started. Also, when you’re moving from a balance bike to their first proper bike, if you remove the pedals and lower the seats for the first few days it will help your children get used to a bigger bike and make the transition from balance to ‘proper’ bike.”

What are the next steps once they’ve mastered the balance bike?

Children usually use a balance bike up until the age of 4 or 5, but again, some kids will progress quicker than others and will be ready to ride a regular bike before their 4th birthday. With the skills they’ve picked up using a balance bike, the transition between riding a balance bike and riding a regular bike will mainly be teaching your kids how to pedal.

Enjoy a Family Cycling Break In Loch Lomond 

Loch Lomond is a fantastic location for all the family to get outdoors and enjoy cycling. Whatever your ability, Loch Lomond has a cycle path to suit! Starting in Balloch and ending in Tarbet, the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path is a 17 mile route which has access to some amazing beaches and picnic spots along the way.

Download the route card from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

There are other, shorter routes, some of which can be found within the ground of our resort, making Cameron Lodges the perfect base for a family cycling holiday in Scotland.

 

 


Balloch

Things To Do In Balloch

Things To Do In Loch Lomond & Balloch

As we head towards the colder winter season, you may be longingly thinking of your next holiday and gathering brochures for somewhere abroad. But why holiday overseas when you can take in the stunning Scottish scenery around Loch Lomond? There are plenty of things to do in Loch Lomond, whether you’re looking to explore the local area, go on a walking adventure or partake in an outdoor activity, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

Head to Balloch and the surrounding area, often known as the gateway to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and use this lovely part of Scotland as the base for your travels. Famous in the past for being a vital gateway for boats entering Loch Lomond in the 1800’s, Balloch takes its name from the gaelic ‘bealach’ which translates as mountain pass. The village lies at the southern end of the loch and is an easy drive from Glasgow via the A82.

While Balloch makes the perfect place to stay in while you explore the loch, there’s plenty to do in the village itself. Start by exploring Balloch Castle Country Park. Sadly, the castle itself is now derelict and under renovation, but with 200 acres to discover you could easily spend an entire day in the park. You can opt for a guided walk, follow one of the many nature trails, or wander round the walled gardens. Take a picnic to make the most of your day out.

Balloch Castle

As we all know, Scotland is famous for its whisky, but that’s not the only delight our breweries have to offer. Don’t miss the Loch Lomond brewery, where you’ll find a choice of award-winning local ales. Definitely one for fans of a good brew! Anyone looking for a more lasting souvenir can find a number of shops selling work by local artists and craftsmen, such as the beautiful creations of Icefire Glass, many of which have a Scottish theme. Open to the public most days you can watch the experts make incredible glass sculptures based on a whole host of diverse themes from fantasy to wildlife. There are many shopping opportunities in the area, with a number of retail outlets in the Antartex Shopping Village just outside Balloch.

If your party includes children over the age of 7, then head for the Treezone Aerial Adventure Course. Zip wires and scramble nets will keep them happy (and wear them out!). Open throughout the year, the course has over 17 obstacles, with the longest crossing being 31 metres, the longest zip wire 65 metres (which has some of the best views in the country) and the highest point up at 14 metres!

Treezone Loch Lomond

For a more sedate afternoon, visit the Maid of the Loch, the last paddle steamer to be built in the UK. Open as a historic public visitor attraction, it’s free to climb aboard The Maid, which also has a Tea Room on board with plenty of food and drinks options. Whilst you’re there you can also visit the Balloch Steam Slipway, a heritage building attraction (built in 1902) which demonstrates how the steam engine works by pulling The Maid out of the water.

There’s also the delightful Loch Lomond Shores walk which is a sculpture trail about 1km long that you can take a buggy along if you have small children and includes the ‘Teko the Swimming Otter’ sculpture. And don’t forget the Farmers Market at Loch Lomond Shores which takes place on the first and third Sunday of every month.

Our activities page has more information on the summer activities available in Loch Lomond such as Segway Safaris, Pony Trekking, Mountain Bike Hire, Bat Walks and much more.

If you’re looking to make the most of what Balloch has to offer whilst on a self-catering or cottage break in Loch Lomond, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you plan your perfect break.


Loch Lomond

Favourite Photographs of Loch Lomond

Our Favourite Photographs of Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is not only our home, our sanctuary and our haven, it is also home to some of the most beautiful scenery to ever exist in Scotland. As you wander through the bonnie banks you will be rewarded with views that are sure to take your breath away. Seasonality does not hinder the beauty of Loch Lomond as the landscapes adapt to the ever-changing weather, creating unique seasonal scenes that keep even the most discerning photographer on their toes!

So what better way to celebrate the natural landscapes of Loch Lomond than teaming up with a few of our favourite social media influencers to show you some of their favourite photographs of Loch Lomond?

Warning: the following post may fuel wanderlust.

1. Brodie Duncan

As ex-Group Picture editor for The Herald and Times Group, Brodie has always loved photography and now that he runs a B&B on the banks of Loch Lomond, he gets to pursue his passion almost every day. He says,

“Loch Lomond boasts the most beautiful views and there is hardly a day that goes by where the landscapes don’t change. Whether I’m walking my dogs or cruising on the loch, I always make sure I have a camera with me, as when I get asked ‘what’s the best camera to have?’, my reply never changes. It’s always ‘the one you have with you!’.”

Here are a couple of Brodie’s favourite photographs of Loch Lomond:

Instagram: @duncan.brodie

2. Alexs Smith

Alexs from A bonnie Travelers Inside Guide is a passionate outdoor travel writer and SUP enthusiast from Glasgow and she’s been kind enough to share two photos with us for this blog, and her reasons for selecting these as two of her favourite ever snaps of Loch Lomond!

SUP near Luss with Inchconnachan Island in the background

“I love spending time outdoors for the sense of adventure and to enjoy the fresh air, working at a desk all week really leaves me craving it. I love being up mountains, but there’s something about being in the water that makes me feel totally relaxed. The freedom and mildly meditative ‘blue mind’ state leaves me with a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in one moment. It’s such a great way to disconnect and clear your head.”

Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond 

“I feel so lucky to live in Scotland and with the Trossachs only an hour outside of Glasgow, I usually head there for a day on the hills. Ben Lomond is my absolute favourite to climb, the views are truly breath taking. Hill walking is such a great way to blow away the cobwebs (the Scottish wind will certainly blow you sideways). After a long day of hiking, I usually find my itching restlessness is gone and I’m feeling content and pretty chilled.”

Instagram: @abonnietravelersinsideguide

3. Ashley Glen

Ashley is a mum and Personal Trainer, passionate about outdoor travel and adventure, blogging over at The Explore More Mum. Her favourite photograph is this early morning shot of a very still Loch Lomond.

“Loch Lomond is such a unique and special place for me. I was able to reach the area without needing a car and could explore the surroundings on foot and by stand up paddle. For me, the best time to visit is first thing in the morning, where the warm sun begins to evaporate all the moisture, leaving a hazy glaze over the loch. It’s always the most peaceful and you’ll feel you’ve stolen the loch all to yourself.”

Instagram: @theexploremoremum

4. Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is an experienced photographer, and what you could call the epitome of a proud Scotsman! We love how his favourite picture perfectly captures his one true love. Find out why this is his favourite photo below.

In the words of Robert Burns “And I will love thee still, my dear, Till a’ the sea’s gang dry”

“This is how it feels to be Scottish! I fell in love with this view many years ago climbing here with my Dad. I’ve had this shot in mind for years and eventually was able to get it! Huge thanks to my friend Calum for helping me capture it! Despite his exhaustion, he dragged his tired legs back up another munro!”

At the summit of Ben Vane, situated in the Southern Highlands

Instagram: @paulwilsonsphotography

5. Neil Robertson

Neil is a travelling Scotsman and perpetual adventurer who blogs over at Travels With A Kilt.

According to Neil,

“There’s nothing like an early morning escape from city life and the still tranquillity of the Loch before beginning the ascent of one of Scotland’s favourite hills. Glaswegians should forever be grateful for having such sublime beauty in such close proximity.”

Instagram: travelswithakilt

6. Fariba Stoddart

Fariba is an Instagram influencer who adventures through Scotland. Her favourite photo of Loch Lomond features the ever popular Heilan’ Coo!

Fariba captioned her photo “Coos day almost over…” because every Tuesday is ‘Coos Day’ on social media, where users upload a photograph of a Highland Cow with the hashtag #Coosday. We’re not sure when this unofficial tribute to the humble Heilan’ Coo began but VisitScotland posted about it as far back as 2014! So if you’re looking to join in and snap a shot of a magnificent Highland Cow then why not head to Loch Lomond and get snapping!

Instagram: @berriestragram

If these stunning photos of Loch Lomond have given you’re the travel bug, take a look at our selection of luxury self-catering lodges, cottages and apartments and start planning your next trip to Loch Lomond! Or you can let us know if you have any images to add to the list – tweet us @cameronlodges or leave us a comment on Facebook.


Frost On Cherries

Jenny’s November Newsletter

November 2016

Hello!

 

“I leant upon a coppice gate,

When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter’ dregs made desolate

The weakening eye of day.”

 – The Darkling Thrush; Thomas Hardy

 

Frost; spectre-grey; dregs; desolate; are these particularly disheartening, or realistic adjectives regarding the onset of winter? With autumn merging into the colder months at a rate of knots, there is undoubtedly a reduction in colour in the surrounding landscape as trees and plants enter a state of dormancy, which is a process similar to hibernation. For many plants and animals, dormancy is an essential part of their life cycle, allowing an organism the chance to pass through critical environmental stages with minimal impact on itself. During dormancy, everything within the plant slows down, including metabolism, energy consumption and growth. Winter is therefore the best time to prune trees, for a number of different reasons, and as a result you may be aware of a number of tree maintenance projects happening at The Carrick over the next few months.

  • Pruning a tree during the growing season tends to make the tree bleed sap from the fresh cut. Pruning in the winter, however, helps the tree to heal faster because all the energy can go towards the healing process and not to the process of photosynthesis.
  • Pruning during the growing season leaves an open “wound” or entrance for insects, bacterial and fungal problems. Freshly cut trees also emit odours which can attract bugs and insects that can cause the diseases, so there is a better chance of not spreading these by pruning in the winter.
  • Finally, for practical reasons, it is much easier to see the branch structure in the winter when the leaves have dropped. It is also easier to identify dead, damaged or diseased branches.

I am currently managing a woodland thinning operation adjacent to the 18th fairway at The Carrick. This deciduous woodland has been unattended for a number of years, and has naturally become overgrown with a dense understorey of brambles, broom, and the occasional gorse with one or two struggling hawthorns. Assisted by a fantastic team; Craig Reich, Ryan Barrett, Brian Corr, Iain Horner and Liam Anson, I have been working hard to improve the aesthetics of the location for golfers and Lodge guests alike. I am confident that next spring the newly thinned woodland will also play host to a much bigger variety of woodland plants and flowers, whilst maintaining continuous cover. The phrase ‘continuous cover forestry’ is defined as the use of silvicultural systems whereby the forest canopy is maintained at one or more levels without clear felling. Clear felling is the cutting down of all trees, and in an area as abundant in wildlife as the shores of Loch Lomond, it goes without saying that wildlife habitats should be maintained, if not enhanced, wherever possible. For those of you who may have been disturbed by the not-so-melodious sounds of chainsaws, and a wood chipper, I can only apologise for any inconvenience, but rest assured this project will be completed well before the Christmas festivities begin.

PineMarten
Last month I was very excited to tell you about my involvement in a squirrel survey, co-ordinated by Clare McInroy from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and I was surprised and delighted to capture a somewhat larger visitor to one of the feeder boxes. This is not, in fact, a genetically mutated squirrel of any kind, but rather a pine marten, which sniffed out the free peanuts on offer. The pine marten (Martes martes) is native to Britain and is a member of the mustelid family, so its relatives include the weasel, stoat, polecat and otter. Pine martens are similar in size to domestic cats, with brown fur with a distinctive cream ‘bib’ on the throat, long bushy tail and prominent rounded ears. Pine martens prefer woodland habitats but can also live in conifer plantations and on rocky hillsides. They enjoy a variety of food, including small mammals, fruit, birds, eggs, insect, carrion and free peanuts!

Pinemarten

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the pine marten population declined dramatically as a result of both woodland clearances as well as predator control associated with the increase in game shooting. By the early 20th century, pine martens had become extinct in most of southern Britain and were confined to north-west Scotland and some upland areas of northern England, such as the Lake District. From the 1930s, following a reduction in trapping pressure, pine martens began to recover in Scotland and the population has slowly expanded and re-colonised many parts of its former range. Pine martens are now listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside act 1981, which means it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a wild pine marten; damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place which such an animal uses for shelter or protection; disturb such an animal when it is occupying a structure or place for that purpose, or possess, sell, offer for sale or possess or transport for the purpose of sale any live or dead pine marten or any derivative of such an animal. Pine martens are crepuscular which means they are mainly active at night and at dusk, so unless you are out in the woods in the middle of the night the best place to view them is here on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/MWKrG3BpSn0

Jenny


Pumpkling Carving - Halloween

Halloween Events in Loch Lomond & Glasgow

Halloween

Halloween Events in Loch Lomond & Glasgow

Everyone loves a party and there is no better excuse than Halloween. This is the time of year where children don’t get to have all the fun with plenty of adults getting involved by dressing in scary, wild and even risqué costumes to turn heads.

This year there are plenty of event options for those looking to enjoy Halloween in Loch Lomond, while as expected there is also plenty of goings on in Glasgow. Here are some of the local Halloween events that should not be missed.

Spooky SeasSpooky Seas

 

Lovers of marine life will be able to view it in a whole new way when they visit the Loch Lomond Sealife Centre between October 15th and 31st. The impressive aquatic attraction has been given a spooky overhaul and children are given the chance to take part in a fun pumpkin hunt, a lantern making class and delve into the Yucky Dip to will a spooky prize. Those who have a thirst for knowledge can also take part in the fact finding game as they run around the Sealife Centre and enjoy scary encounters with sharks and eels.

Witchy Walk along the Shores of Loch Lomond

The shores of Loch Lomond are sure to be spooky on November 1st as visitors are invited to take part in a very special Witchy Walk. The fun kicks off at 4.30pm at around sunset and this thrilling walk lasts until 6.30pm. There are sure to be plenty of spooky encounters along the way as local guide Mandy the Mad presents some of the lesser known and more thrilling history of the area. This walk is ideal for the whole family and dressing up is encouraged. The evening will also include a short dramatic presentation that is sure to be extremely memorable. The event is ticketed and tickets are available through ITISON only. Tickets are selling fast so don’t miss out!

Cameron House Halloween Party

Halloween Party at Cameron House

Children of all ages are invited to a special Halloween party in the Corbette Suite within the hotel’s Leisure Club on Friday October 28th. The fun kicks off at 6.30pm and there will be a mummy wrap competition and pass the brains to keep the boys and girls entertained.  A selection of nibbles will also be provided that are sure to tempt hungry spooks.

The party costs £10 per child and Cameron House Leisure Club members receive a discount. To book your child’s place contact Lorna from the hotel childcare team on 01389 722 507.

Halloween Fright Night

People who really want to let their hair down and have a little fun on October 28th should make sure that they head to the Glasgow Science Centre from 6pm. All the stops are being pulled out to present visitors with a fully interactive event that they will never forget, such as the Monster Science Show. Visitors will want to dress to impress so that they can take their turn on the costume catwalk, while people of all ages will be given the chance to learn how to make the perfect witch’s brew in the potion class and get really messy in the Goo Zone.

Glasgow Horror Festival

Blackfriars Bar is set to be one of the spookiest places to be in the whole of Glasgow on the 29th of October. This weird and wild event kicks off at 1pm and runs all the way until 1am, just past the witching hour. This is the first event of its kind to be held in Glasgow and there will be plenty of entertainment to enjoy including screenings of spooky indie films, prizes for the best costume and a Q&A session with film industry leaders.