Tag Archives: spring

As we gradually leave the chilly nights behind and come out of hibernation, it’s time to embrace the warmer spring climate and go out to explore the great outdoors. We’ll provide ideas for fun, outdoor activities for the whole family.


Loch Lomond Yacht

How To Make The Most Of A Spring Break In Loch Lomond

No matter what kind of self-catering break you’ve come on, there are some great days out in the nearby area to be enjoyed. In this blog we’ve put together some sample itineraries for days out for some typical traveller types –

  • Family – child-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy
  • Adventurer – action-packed, adrenalin-filled fun for those who like to live on the edge
  • Explorer – for the curious traveller who likes to get back to nature
  • Luxury – relaxing activities in sumptuous surroundings

With each itinerary we’ll take you from one side of the Loch to the other, taking in the best things to do in Loch Lomond as you go.

Family

Spring is the ideal time to get outdoors as a family and explore all that the British countryside has to offer. Our luxury lodge resort is set in a stunning lochside location within The Trossachs National Park. Nearby we have a plethora of natural beauty which provides the backdrop for a great family day out. From walking routes, to pony treks, to adventure parks, find out how you could spend a fun-filled day out in Balloch, just a short walk or drive along the loch shore from Cameron Lodges.  Here are a few of our favourites:

Balloch Castle Country Park

From stunning views to nature trails, guided walks and walled gardens, plus a derelict castle, Balloch Castle Country Park is the ideal place for kids to run around in, with over 200 acres to explore. The park is made up of semi-natural and ornamental woodland, open parkland, formal gardens, meadow, play parks and shoreline. Young explorers will have fun in the Fairy Glen, Chinese Garden, Pleasure Grounds, Quarry Pond, Kitchen Garden and Secret Garden. Why not bring a picnic and enjoy the views whilst eating lunch.

Loch Lomond Pony Trekking

One of the more unusual forms of transport in the local area, you can enjoy the views across Loch Lomond on horseback (or rather pony back!). Children over 12 years old can enjoy a leisurely paced pony trek leaving from Tullichewan Farm, and mum and dad can join in too. Loch Lomond Pony Trekking has a small herd of well-mannered ponies who are sure footed, affectionate and love taking part in treks just as much as their human passengers!

Pony Trekking Loch Lomond

TreeZone Loch Lomond

Recently awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, TreeZone at Loch Lomond Shores allows you to unleash your inner Tarzan!

With two exhilarating aerial adventure courses to choose from and obstacles ranging from zip wires, balance beams, hanging platforms, tight-ropes, scramble nets, white knuckle bridges & gap jumps; your nerves and agility will be tested unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Tree Zone Loch Lomond

Adventurer

No visit to Loch Lomond would be complete without getting into the water, and boy, are there plenty of options for doing so around the resort!

The quaint village of Luss, just 7 miles along the road from Cameron Lodges offers a fantastic selection of water sports through Loch Lomond Leisure. From their beach HQ, you can enjoy kayaking, wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, water-skiing and many more. They also offer speed boat tours around the loch, with pickups from various locations. Feel the wind in your hair as your travel around the loch, visiting its islands and points of interest.

Luss beach is a popular destination for picnics, so why not stop at a nearby café and pick up some snacks to enjoy on the beach after an action-packed morning in the water!

If you still want to feel the thrill of the water, but from more comfortable surroundings, consider a seaplane trip with Loch Lomond Seaplanes. Departing from the jetty in front of Cameron House Hotel, you will experience an exhilarating trip around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, taking in sights such as Ben Lomond, The Cobbler, the West Highland Way, the ‘Rest & Be Thankful’ in Glencoe, Loch Katrine and Inchmahome Priory, to name but a few.

Explorer

If walking is your thing, a visit to Balmaha is a must. Situated on the West Highland Way route, it was a favourite place of Tom Weir, one of Scotland’s most famous writers, broadcasters and lovers of the Scottish countryside.

Only a 25min drive from Cameron Lodges, Balmaha is home to Conic Hill. A 350m summit rising sharply above Balmaha, right on the Highland Boundary Fault Line, Conic Hill is a short walk which rewards walkers with fantastic views of Loch Lomond and its many islands, especially in the spring light.

For the more experienced rambler, you can complete a 24km stretch of the West Highland Way if you start at Drymen instead of Balmaha and follow the route to Rowardennan, taking in Conic Hill on your way.

© Copyright Chris Heaton and licensed for reuse

After your climb up Conic Hill, head across to the Oak Tree Inn for quick re-fuel – they offer delicious coffee, homemade cakes and ice cream, to name but a few! Feeling ready to go again?

Head left from the Oak Tree Inn to discover Weirs Rest, a statue of the great man himself in his famous red and white “toorie” hat. Take a rest on one of the many benches and admire the views of the loch from ground level before continuing down the loch side path towards Balmaha Pier for a better view of Inchcailloch island.

If you’d prefer a gentler stroll, Balmaha Millennium Forest path is a great option and part of the West Highland Way route. It’s a short, 2km walk which explores the village of Balmaha itself and should take around 45mins to complete. There is a short climb up to Craigie Fort, a wooded promontory, before returning via a path cut out of the rock on the edge of Loch Lomond.

To reach Balmaha by public transport, take the bus (309) from Balloch.

Luxury

For those looking for a luxurious break away, you can enjoy all that Loch Lomond has to offer from the comfort of our five-star resort. Within the resort we have an award-winning Spa, two golf courses and a luxury motor cruiser – perfect activities for a relaxing spring day in Loch Lomond.

The Spa at Cameron House

The tranquil setting of Loch Lomond was the inspiration behind the Thermal & Hydro Experience at the Spa, with many experiences enjoying views across the resort, towards the loch. When the sun is shining the best place to be is in the rooftop infinity pool. Take in the views across the resort and the golf course. Luxuriate in the bubbles as your stresses melt away.

With ten thermal and hydro experiences to enjoy, The Spa will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. And for an extra treat, book a treatment with one of our highly trained spa therapists. Using only the best ESPA and Carita products, you can enjoy everything from massages and facials to a range of express treatments and body therapies.

Infinity Pool at The Carrick Spa

All guests staying in a Cameron Club property can enjoy full access to the Thermal & Hydro experience during their stay*.

The Carrick & Wee Demon Golf Courses

There is no place better to enjoy a round than in Loch Lomond – just watch out for the giant water hazard, it can be a bit distracting! Here at the resort, we have two courses for you to choose from. The nine hole Wee Demon course is situated at Cameron House, while The Carrick is our eighteen hole championship course, which has played host to many PGA tournaments since it opened in 2007. A par 71 course, it will keep the most experienced of golfers on their toes.

All guests staying at Cameron Lodges receive free club hire during their stay, and there are a selection of golf breaks available which include accommodation in a Mansion House apartment and dining options.

Celtic Warrior Motor Cruiser

Live the high life with a Loch Lomond cruise on board the Celtic Warrior. With various options available, from champagne cruises to exclusive hire, you can tailor your trip to suit your needs. You’ll learn about the loch and its islands from our friendly, knowledgeable crew members and enjoy some Scottish hospitality along the way.

* Guests at Cameron House also have complimentary access to the Thermal & Hydro Experience while the Leisure Club at the hotel is closed.


Easter Egg Picking

How To Plan The Perfect Easter Egg Hunt

How To Plan An Egg-stra Special Easter Egg Hunt

 

Little Girl on Easter Egg Hunt

The humble Easter egg hunt can be traced back as far as the 1400s in Europe, the egg a symbol of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. Nowadays, an Easter Egg Hunt can be a great Easter Sunday activity for all the family to enjoy. There are lots of ways to create the perfect hunt to get the whole family involved, and in this blog article, we share some of our favourites. What are your best Easter Egg Hunt tips? Share them with us in the comments section below.

What you’ll need to plan the perfect Easter Egg Hunt:

  1. A Location

As unpredictable as the UK weather can be, it’s important to plan for all eventualities. An outdoor hunt in your back garden or local park could be a great idea to let kids burn off some energy before they devour the spoils of their hunt! But it’s always good to have an indoor fallback in case it’s raining. Where you hide your treasure will depend on the age of your children, but it’s good to keep hiding places varied to keep them interested and engaged in the hunt.

  1. Treasure!

Whether you decide to go for plastic eggs, chocolate eggs, hard boiled eggs, or something a little different (don’t worry, we’ll give you plenty of ideas!), you will need something to hide on your hunt. Decide where you’re planning to have your hunt before choosing your treasure, after all we don’t want the local wildlife getting involved if you decide to have an outdoor hunt with chocolate eggs!

  1. A Basket

Hunt participants will need somewhere to store their treasure – we love the traditional bamboo baskets but you can also find lovely Easter buckets in supermarkets and other high street shops. Just remember to consider how big your treasure is when choosing a basket. Personalising and decorating a bamboo basket is a great idea to keep kids occupied in the lead up to the hunt – a selection of colourful ribbons, fluffy Easter chicks, felt bunny rabbits and flowers will transform the basket and get your kids’ creative juices flowing.

  1. Clues

Traditionally, an Easter Egg Hunt involves a clue which leads to some treasure and another clue, which then leads to the next piece of treasure, and so on until the last piece of treasure has been found. Netmums have a fantastic selection of ready-made clues that you can download and print off, ready for your hunt.

If you’re preparing an Easter Egg Hunt for kids of different ages, it’s important that everyone gets their fair share of the treasure, and that older kids don’t rush through the hunt and leave the younger kids with no eggs in their basket. We’ve outlined some tips for creating a fair Easter Egg Hunt below –

Easter Eggs in Easter Egg Hunt in Loch Lomond 2018

For younger children, perhaps a guided hunt from the Easter Bunny himself would be a better idea, or you could attach colourful balloons to your treasure to make it a bit easier for them to find. For an Easter Bunny-led hunt, you’ll need some footprints. These can be easily made from some card and a basic paw print design (download a simple paw print here). Another way to keep younger children engaged during the hunt is involving their favourite characters

For older kids, the clues could be more challenging, or there could be an extra dimension to the hunt, for example a puzzle which needs to be solved or a final challenge. For an egg-stra special twist, why not hide a couple of bigger eggs in more difficult places to reward the best hunters, or hide a Golden Egg somewhere and the person who finds it first gets a special prize?

To allow everyone to take part in the same hunt, you could create a colour coordinated hunt without clues, where each participant just needs to search for a particular colour of egg. This will give you the opportunity to choose easier hiding places for younger children and more difficult places for older kids. Just remember to take into account the height of the children and where they would guess to look.

Have a go at creating an egg-ceptional Easter Egg Hunt for your family and let us know how you get on! Share your photos and comments on Facebook or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @cameronlodges

Happy egg-hunting!

 


Hawthorn

Jenny’s April Newsletter

April 2017

Hello!     

 

“N’er cast a clout til May be out”.

 

If the recent plummet in temperatures has had you reaching for the thermals again and reluctantly turning up the heating, then this old saying might be one worth noting! Since at least the 15th century, the word ‘clout’ has been used to describe a number of terms; a blow to the head, a clod of earth, or a fragment of cloth, or clothing. The second part of the saying is not as clear, however, as to its meaning. Many people are taken with the notion that the ‘May’ refers to the month of the year but another interpretation involves the Hawthorn tree. Hawthorns are virtually synonymous with hedges; as many as 200,000 miles of hawthorn hedge were planted in the Parliamentary Enclosure period, between 1750 and 1850. The name ‘Haw’ derives from ‘hage’, the old English for ‘hedge’. The hawthorn tree gives its beautiful display of flowers in late April and early May, earning its name the ‘May Tree’ and the blossom itself is also called May. Using that allusion, ‘til May is out’ could mean ‘until the hawthorn is out in bloom’.

In Britain, it was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and in medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers were associated with death!

Despite this, hawthorn has huge benefits from a nature conservation perspective, capable of supporting more than 300 insects. It is the food plant for caterpillars of many moths; its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects; the haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals, and the dense thorny  foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird including wren, robin, blackbird and song thrush.

Last month, I shared a short video clip of our resident hedgehog in The Enchanted Wood, which ties in nicely with Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017. Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and runs from 30th April to 6th May 2017. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how we can help them; this year focusing on garden strimmer awareness. The Society was founded in 1982 and offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs as well as maintaining a list of rehabilitators in the UK. As well as checking areas in our gardens before using strimmers, there are other things we can do to help too:

  • Ensure there is a hedgehog access in your garden e.g. gaps in boundary fences / walls
  • Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used
  • Cover drains or deep holes
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is a registered UK charity, dedicated to helping and protect hedgehogs native to the UK. If you would like some more information on hedgehogs and how you can help them, please go to www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

Finally, a wonderful day was enjoyed by all who attended The Carrick Easter Eggstravaganza on Good Friday. Participants eagerly hunted for chocolate eggs in The Enchanted Wood, which was followed by a nature trail quiz. The highlight of the day was a visit from Animal Man’s Mini Zoo where an amazing collection of animals was on show and children and adults alike were able to get up close and personal with creatures such as a giant African land snail, hissing cockroach and a Tarantula! The day ended with a colourful and exciting rubber duck race on the River Fruin, cheered on by a crowd of spectators and thoroughly enjoyed by all; thank you to everyone who helped make the day such an enjoyable one.

 

Jenny

 


Hedgehog

Hedgehog visits The Enchanted Wood

We are extremely lucky to have our very own resident hedgehog in The Enchanted Wood! I spotted it one evening whilst I was actually conducting an amphibian survey, so I made sure to put my trail camera up the next day, and so far I have captured at least 5 visits in the past fortnight.  Adult hedgehogs travel between 1-2 km per night over home ranges between 10-20 hectares in size, which explains why Mr or Mrs Tiggywinkle has appeared only a handful of times. Sadly, the once common hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss caused by the reduction of hedgerows and increase in intensification of our agricultural landscapes. In just the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30%, and there are now thought to be fewer than one million left in the UK. Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves, so by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and move safely between habitats to find mates and food. More information on hedgehogs and how we can help can be found at  http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs as well as http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/.

I hope you enjoy the clip!

Jenny


Daffodils

Jenny’s March Newsletter

March 2017

Hello!

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

– William Wordsworth

 

Daffodils have long been considered one of the heralds of spring, and after months of grey skies and rain these first signs of the new season are extremely welcome. Daffodils were first brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from daffodils had healing powers, so it may be surprising to learn that daffodils were also historically associated with bad luck, especially for poultry. It was said that if a single flower was picked and brought indoors, then only one chick would hatch from a clutch of eggs, and if the flowers really did have to be picked and brought indoors, then they should be at least 13  in number to break the spell.

March has been another busy month featuring St. David’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Spring Equinox and Mothering Sunday, not to mention the arrival of British Summer Time. Just yesterday I saw my first bumblebee of the year as well as a  Red Admiral butterfly!

One of my latest projects to be unveiled very soon is The Untidy Garden; a small patch of fenced off land in close proximity to The Clubhouse, which was the ideal place to reintroduce a wildflower meadow. If we are to believe the statistics, 97% of UK wildflower meadows (7.5 million acres) have been lost since the Second World War and the intensification of farming, and now species-rich grassland covers a mere 1% of the UK’s land area. Meadows develop as a result of traditional farming practices; each small farm would have grown a few crops, had permanent pasture for grazing, and meadows for hay that were cut and stored to feed the livestock over winter. Management followed an annual cycle of growing in spring and summer, cutting in late summer and grazing in winter. But the turning point came during the Second World War when six million acres of grassland were ploughed to grow cereals, starting the inevitable decline. A meadow remains an important and crucial habitat, with the potential for over 150 different species of flower and grass to support a myriad of insects from bees and beetles to grasshoppers and butterflies, which in turn support many small animals and  birds. The Untidy Garden (opposite the tennis courts) is intended to be a wild garden, where plants are cherished and the grass is allowed to grow long. Flowers will provide food in the form of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, and long grass and log piles will provide shelter for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Ribwort Plantain, Ox-Eye Daisy and Bird’s-foot-trefoil are just some  of the naturally occurring wild flowers in the garden, and with some careful management I look forward to a resurgence of colour and biodiversity over the coming months.

I mentioned in last month’s newsletter that I am preparing a timetable of outdoor activities for the summer months and with this in mind I recently spent the day with bat-related skills trainer, Author and Ecologist Neil Middleton. I have been involved in bat surveys for a number of years now, including assisting with radio-tracking a Whiskered Bat at NTS Threave Garden and Estate; participating in various building surveys for the presence of bats and assisting in checking bat boxes at various locations in Scotland. In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, therefore you must hold the correct licence if you carry out work affecting bats or their roosts. With the help of Neil’s expert knowledge and advice, I am fine tuning my skills and am really looking forward to presenting Bat walks as part of my summer programme. We are extremely fortunate at Cameron House to have such a variety of suitable habitats for a number of different species of bat, and what better opportunity for you to learn a bit more about this fascinating species too! More information about bats in general and what to do if you find one can be found at http://www.bats.org.uk/ as well as http://batability.co.uk/; I hope to welcome many of you to the guided sessions later on this year.

And finally, another very important date for your diaries – Friday 14th April kicks starts the 2017 Ranger-led events programme with an Easter Eggstravaganza being held at Cameron Club. This is a pre-bookable event; booking is also highly recommended as tickets are selling out fast!  The day will start with an Easter Egg Hunt held in our very own Enchanted Wood at 11am; please arrive in good time to park, register and confirm your booking at The Clubhouse. After you’ve hunted high and low amongst the toadstools for little chocolate eggs, it will then be time to meet the Animal Man and participate (or spectate if you prefer) in his mini petting zoo! The zoo will be open for ticket holders from 12pm til 2pm, and at 1pm there will be a Rubber Duck Race held on the River Fruin, adjacent to the petting zoo. Tickets are priced at £10 per head (under 4s go free; spectating adults who are not participating in the events themselves do not need to purchase a ticket) and are available by called the Cameron Leisure Club on 01389 722 505 – book early to avoid disappointment!

Remember – arrive in good time to confirm your booking  – the first event will begin at 11am promptly. I look forward to meeting you on the day.

 

Regards,

Jenny


Highland Cow

Weather in Loch Lomond Throughout the Year

Highland Coo-1

When our guests are planning their holiday to Loch Lomond, we understand that the weather is a very important factor to take into consideration. There are plenty of jokes about the weather in Scotland, but luckily most of them just aren’t true (honest!). So we’ve put together a post below which gives you an insight into the weather throughout the year here in Loch Lomond and when the best time is to take part in your favourite activity.

Lonely Planet states that it rarely gets too hot or too cold in the Loch Lomond area; we have four distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, each with their own special character and charm (which you can sometimes experience all in one day!) As the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’, so it pays to be prepared.

Spring

Spring sees the days starting to lengthen and the average temperatures rising from around 9° C in March to 14° C by mid-May. These months are usually amongst the driest of the year, with just 71mm of rain falling in March and 65mm in May, so they are the ideal time to get out and about and enjoy our stunning scenery.

There are numerous hiking trails to enjoy, or you can hire bikes. Try your hand at fishing or take a ferry trip to Inchcailloch island, part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve, which is carpeted with bluebells in April and May.

Summer

June, July and August are the warmest months of the year for Loch Lomond weather, with daytime highs reaching around 19° C and comfortably cool evenings with average temperatures of between 10 and 12° C. The summer is ideal for water sports, including water-skiing, kayaking and swimming and the long light evenings are perfect for whiling away the time fishing on the lochside or riverbank. The summer is also the season for festivals and Highland Games: the Loch Lomond Highland Games and the Luss Highland Gathering are both held in July.

Autumn

September, October and November see temperatures starting to drop back, from an average of 16°C in September to around 9°C in November, but the shortening days bring glowing light and golden and red leaf colours. Autumn is a very popular time of year to visit Loch Lomond, you can take a guided nature walk to spot rutting red deer or enjoy a cruise on the loch. Around half the days during autumn will see some rainfall, but even if the weather is wet there are plenty of fun things to do.

Why not visit one of our local whisky distilleries or enjoy a day trip to the Loch Lomond Sealife Aquarium?

Winter

With snowy mountainsides above the gleaming waters of the loch, the winter landscape around Loch Lomond is hard to beat. Average daytime temperatures range from 8°C in December to 6° C in February and rainfall amounts are around 250mm a month; this may sometimes fall as snow, especially at higher altitudes. In winter, the roads are quiet, so it is the perfect time to go for a cycle ride or car tour, then warm up over a pub lunch by a log fire.

If you are going climbing or planning a hill walk, or even if would just like to know what the weather in Loch Lomond will be like when you arrive, we would recommend checking the Met Office or BBC as these are generally the most reliable.