Tag Archives: Summer

Summer is a time for dining alfresco with friends and family, which means digging into the nation’s favourite dish, fish and chips, accompanied by a cold drink out in the warm sunshine. After fuelling up, it’s the perfect temperature to go and explore the local area, surrounded by stunning nature – just some of the benefits of a luxury staycation with us. Whether it’s waking up to views towards Ben Lomond or looking down across Loch Lomond from the Munro peak, there are sights worth seeing.


Glengoyne Distillery

Glengoyne Distillery

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 Whisky Distillery Tours, Scotland

We and our guests are lucky enough to have a large number of fantastic tourist attractions around our local area (which you can find more info about on our local attractions page). One of our favourites however, which you’ll find on the list, is the world famous Glengoyne Distillery. With summer fast approaching there is no better time than now to travel to Dumgoyne and enjoy a dram of the most sought after golden nectar!

Open all year round (10am – 5pm Monday to Sunday), the Distillery, which is often considered one of the most beautiful in Scotland, has been involved in producing award winning whisky since 1833. Located in Dumgoyne near Killearn, it’s only a short drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and of course Loch Lomond.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a visit here is a whisky lover’s dream. Whilst sampling one of Scotland’s most famous single malt whiskies you’ll be shown around the facility which includes the ‘Sampling Room’ which has the largest variety of Glengoyne you could ever wish for, the waterfall which was originally used as the source for the distillery, and of course the vats, where the magic happens! You’ll also learn about the traditional methods and ingredients, such as barley, water and yeast that are used to make scotch whisky as well as the six guiding principles which keep Glengoyne true to its past and true to its taste, such as ‘Unpeated’. Did you know they always dry their barley by air? (As opposed to most distilleries who dry it by peat fires).

As well as finding out the secrets of Scotland’s slowest whisky distillation you can discover how to blend your own personalised bottle of whisky and enjoy a refreshment at the Distillery’s very own ‘Slainte Mhath’ Shop.

Glengoyne Tours

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To find out all of the above, the Glengoyne Distillery offers a variety of guided tours that take you behind the scenes and give you an amazing insight into the production of their Highland Malt Whisky. These include the Glengoyne Tour, The Wee Tasting tour, The Whisky & Chocolate Tour (a favourite of ours) and for the slightly more serious whisky aficionado, there is the ‘Masterclass’, (Not for the faint hearted) where you even get to create your own single malt! These range in price from £9 up to £150 each and last from 45 minutes up to 5 hours.

During each tour you’ll also get to visit the bonded warehouses, mingle with the highly experienced staff and see the magical process that goes into producing Scotland’s ‘national drink’ up close, as well as enjoy the hospitality of the Club Room where you can sample a taste of the true spirit of the country.

Don’t take our word for it though. Go and find out more about one of Scotland’s most famous single malts, praised by generations of whisky connoisseurs. One of Scotland’s best whisky distillery tours is only one click away.

Glengoyne Distillery
ADDRESS: Dumgoyne, Killearn, Glasgow G63 9LB, United Kingdom
TELEPHONE: 01360 550254
WEBSITE: www.glengoyne.com


Child Playing With Bubbles

Ideas For Fun-Filled School Holiday Activities

The kids might have been on the countdown since Easter half term but for parents, the summer holidays can be a stressful time. Six long weeks of keeping the little ones entertained can seem daunting, especially when you consider how fickle the British weather can be. Making sure they keep active and get plenty of fresh air (a.k.a. tiring them out so they go to bed nice and early) can be tricky, especially when you still have a house to run, chores to do and a task list as long as your arm. But it’s important to take advantage of these precious moments when they’re young. So how can you make special family memories these summer holidays?

We’ve collaborated with some of our favourite mummy bloggers to find out their top summer holiday activities that all the family can get involved in.

Rachel Southern from TheOrdinaryL tells us how she likes to make the most of the great outdoors for a cost-effective day out with the kids:

“With the school summer holidays being quite an expensive affair, it’s good to have a thrifty activity or two up your sleeve to keep your children occupied. One of my favourite things to do is to head out on a countryside walk and collect sticks with my two boys. We then head home and see what we can make with them. We’ve come up with origami mobiles, wall art and even bow and arrows. It’s a great way to get children outdoors and turn something found on the floor in to a cool decoration for their bedrooms or even a toy to play with.”

Laura Nelson from The Breastest News has chosen one of her favourite childhood activities that she has shared with her kids over the years, resulting in an activity that the whole family enjoys:

“One of our favourite summer holiday activities has to be rock pooling down at the beach. It’s great fun for all the family, you can do it in almost any weather and it’s completely free! I went rock pooling a lot with my Dad when I was little and I still love going as an adult which has now rubbed off on my son and daughter. My kids really enjoy finding and learning about all the little creatures we discover, plus we try and do a mini beach clean whilst we’re there to help the environment. Afterwards we normally go for a walk along the sand and explore. You can’t beat a bit a fresh sea air to give the kids a good night’s sleep.”

This summer’s must have accessory for kids is the magical bubble wand, but blogger, Jenny Eaves from Monkey and Mouse loves to make her own bubble mix and wands with her kids.

“We all love bubbles, they can both be calming to watch and energetic to race around popping.  You can of course buy bubbles and use a bubble machine, but that takes away half the fun! Why not create your own bubble mix? It is a great science experiment for the kids. Measuring out various ingredients is basically potion making, so little witches and wizards may be especially intrigued! By attaching eye screws to bamboo canes and tying string between two bamboo canes you can create your own wands for giant bubble making and it’s oh so worth it! The kids will love making their own giant bubbles and popping the ones you make. It’s incredibly therapeutic too (you’ll probably be pushing the kids out the way so you can play!)”

To find out how to make your own DIY bubble wand, and uncover her giant bubble recipe, head over to her blog post here.

Susan Mann from Susan K. Mann loves taking it back to basics with kite flying, arguably a favourite for many families, adults and kids alike!

“One of our favourite summer activities is kite flying. It’s simple, easy to do and a lot of fun. Once you have the kite, it’s free too. You need some wind and open space and away you go. Why not give making your own kite a go with some old shopping bags, sticks and string? Give it a go, you’ll love it.”

Although the weather has been great this year (touch wood), it’s not always the case and so planning some indoor and outdoor activities is the best way to go. Our bloggers have shared their favourite outdoor activities, now it’s over to you to tell us your favourite activities for a rainy day!

Share your ideas with us on Twitter @CameronLodges or post on our Facebook page.


Black Bear

Jenny’s August Newsletter

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“If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone! It’s lovely down in the woods today, But safer to stay at home!”

Does anyone remember when the grounds of Cameron House were home to 32 bears as part of the Cameron Bear Park? That was before I moved to the area and it’s difficult for me to imagine. I have recently returned from holiday to Alberta, Canada, where I was really lucky to see both a black bear and a grizzly bear in the wild. It felt very surreal to be within such close proximity to these beautiful, yet dangerous wild creatures, and I watched in complete awe as the small black bear ignored me and continued with his frantic berry munching. The grizzly, on the other hand, commanded a much greater air of confidence and superiority, and I was glad that I was tucked away in the safety of my hire car as he strolled past my window. This experience led me to wonder how I would go about my daily routine at work if I had to be mindful of the dangers of wild animals roaming nearby. In reality, my job does bring with it the likelihood of encountering much smaller adversaries; ticks.

Ticks are small spiderlike animals that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. Tick live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas, and tick bites occur most often during early spring to late summer and in areas where there are many wild animals and birds. It is important to remove a tick as soon as you find it, as the risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long it was attached. It is crucial to remember that if you do feel unwell or develop a rash around the tick bite, to consult your doctor. Click here to find out more information.

On a slightly lighter note, I am delighted to tell you all that after months of tracking them, I finally captured the Carrick’s otters on my wildlife camera. If you would like to know more information about the otters and see the video please click here. I hope to keep you updated on our three furry friends in future newsletters!


Otters

Live Footage Of The Carrick’s Otters

After months of tracking the otters, we finally captured the Carrick’s otters on the wildlife camera. The camera is attached to a tree, and then triggered by any movement of wildlife, automatically taking a 10-second video. It is built with an infra-red system so it can also capture images in the dark. The video footages show three otters living up to their playful nature, most likely made up of two parents and one pup as most otters are social creatures, and the pup will live with its parents for approximately one year.

The Eurasian Otter was listed on The IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as Near Threatened in 2008 due to an ongoing population decline, however in recent years there is evidence that its population is recovering in Western Europe, so we are really privileged to have them living on site. If you want to keep updated on our three furry friends look out for our future newsletters.


Owl

Jenny’s July Newsletter

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Hello!

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat, they took some honey, and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five pound note”.

Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat was one of my favourite poems as a child, as it conjured up such a charming image. The idea that a cat and a bird could be friends was simply delightful! There are quite a few well-known proverbs and phrases associated with our feathered friends. For example, “the early bird catches the worm”; “up with the lark”, and “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. If like me, you are an early riser, you will have had the pleasure of listening to the dawn chorus, where our songbirds defend their territories and sing to attract a mate.

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to assist with bird ringing at The Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment. SCENE is the foremost field station for research and teaching in ecology and environmental sciences in Scotland, and on this occasion, mist nets were used to capture wild birds for ringing. Bird ringing is conservation field research work, which places individually marked rings onto the legs of wild birds, to form the basis of a data collection process of that bird throughout its life. I am very much a novice in this line of work; ringing is only carried out by skilled ringers with the utmost consideration for the birds’ welfare, and can only be learnt by practice under the close supervision of experienced ringers. I will continue to gain field experience but it can take up to 3 years to become a fully ‘fledged’ ringer.

I was also thrilled to assist Steve Kenney, National Park Ranger, in ringing three of our very own barn owl chicks at The Carrick. Once abundant in the UK, barn owl populations have started to decline due to a number of factors including changes in agricultural practices and more common use of pesticides. Barn owls are very distinctive with their black eyes, heart-shaped face and white chest. Its call is a blood-curdling screech and literary scholars such as William Wordsworth referred to the “Owl of doom” in his poetry. I felt extremely privileged to be in such close proximity to these beautiful birds, as they are usually only seen at dawn and dusk whilst they hunt for mice, voles and shrews.

Owls are generally solitary, but when they are seen together the group is known as a “parliament” as they have long been considered to be of a wise disposition. I’m not sure how wise our Parliament currently is, but that’s another matter entirely!

Jenny


Wildlife

Jenny’s June Newsletter

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Hello!

As the end of June comes hurtling towards us and the Summer solstice has passed, I have heard a few people lamenting how “summer’s over” and “the nights are drawing in”! I have been making the most of the long daylight hours by spending some of my time doing one of my favourite things; observing bats.

Bats play an important role in many environments around the world. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. In the UK, some bats are ‘indicator species’, because changes to these bat populations can indicate changes in aspects of biodiversity. All bats in the UK are insectivores – they only eat insects, and while some people think bats are pests, bats are actually pest controllers eating thousands of insects every night.

There are 14 bat boxes in total dotted around the Carrick golf course, made up of a combination of regular roost boxes, as well as two heated bat houses based at Auchentulloch. During my most recent survey, I observed 94 Soprano pipistrelles exiting one of the heated bat boxes at dusk as they headed out to forage for midges. Soprano pipistrelles usually feed in wetland habitat so the Carrick is a perfect hunting ground. During the summer, females form maternity colonies where they give birth to a single pup in June or early July, whereas males usually roost singly or in small groups. Populations of pipistrelles have declined in the last few decades which is why monitoring them and passing the information to the Bat Conservation Trust is an important aspect of bat conservation work.

Otters, on the other hand, are much more elusive creatures! Since my last update, I have found further signs of otter tracks at various places across the North reserve but have yet to capture an image on the trail camera. Otters are classified as protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are absent in many parts of the UK, therefore we are extremely privileged to have them living near us. During one of my many walkabouts, I was thrilled to spot a kingfisher whose electric blue back was unmistakable as it sped along the River Fruin in low-level flight. Some of you may have spotted one or two brown hares around the golf course too, which are always a delight to observe.

I am delighted to tell you all that the path in The Enchanted Wood is finished, which completes phase 1 of the whole project. My thanks and acknowledgements go to South West Environmental Action Trust, and South Ayrshire Waste and Environment Trust for funding £500 each via the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund. I am currently formulating plans for phase 2 which will be another challenging project and one which I am looking forward to immensely!

Jenny


Family In The Car

Travelling In The Car With Kids

As a family friendly lodge resort on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, the majority of families staying with us opt to travel by car. We wanted to put together a handy guide which should help make the car journey easier, meaning mum and dad can start relaxing before they’ve even arrived at their lodge! Together with some helpful family bloggers, we’ve put together the following list of tips for travelling in the car with kids in this handy infographic. Scroll down to read the full blog article.

How To Travel in the Car With Kids Infographic

 

Before You Leave

Plan ahead

Take time before you leave to plan your journey – where will you stop, how long for? You’re the best person to know when your kids are likely to need a toilet stop, so make sure you have plenty of stops organised to avoid any on the road accidents. For little ones who are in the process of toilet training, pull-ups can be a handy addition to your kid’s travelling wardrobe.

Pack like a pro

Jane from the Hodge Podge Days blog recommends keeping a list of things you always need to take with you on your computer and printing it off as a check list for each time you go away. She also says travel light (or as lightly as you can!) and remember to check and see if there’s a washing machine at your accommodation. And don’t forget that unless you’re heading off to the remotest place on earth, there will likely be a shop nearby for any forgotten essentials!

Don’t forget their comforter

Whether it’s their favourite soft toy or a comfort blanket and pillow, be sure to pack some things that will provide comfort to your kids during the journey. Most likely scenario? It calms them during a tantrum until you can find something else to occupy them with. Best case scenario? They fall asleep for a few hours, giving you some well needed peace and quiet.

Prep some snacks

Make sure you pack lots of water and snacks to keep the kids full and hydrated throughout the trip – though we’d suggest avoiding sugary snacks as these will likely make the trip worse! Snacks such as grapes, cheese cubes and dried fruit like raisins work well since there’s not much mess involved, but make sure you pack some baby wipes as well, just in case! Oh, and a plastic bag for any rubbish. We also love the idea of a Snack Catcher.

Choose your travel time wisely

New mummy blogger, Ana Kyle from This Family Adventure recommends setting off just after teatime, with the kids in their PJs, in the hope that they fall asleep quite soon into the journey. It might mean you arrive to your destination quite late. But on the plus side you get a good few hours in the car with sleeping children where you can listen to music and chat to your other half.

The (dreaded) Journey

Family Singalong

A car journey without a family singsong can be a dismal affair. Before your trip, consider buying a singalong CD of popular kid’s songs. Ana recommends 30 Toddler Songs and says that whenever she plays it for her kids now, vivid memories of driving around France last summer come flooding back to her.

Games

No matter what age your kids are, there are plenty of games that you can play in the car that will keep them entertained for at least part of the journey. Blogger, Leta Elliot (aka AttachmentMummy) recommends I Spy…something red for younger kids, an adaption of the classic which uses colours instead of letters to make it a game all the family can enjoy, and 20 Questions for kids over the age of 4.

Tablets/mobile devices (and headphones!)

Katie, author of the Mummy In A Tutu blog says that electronic devices such as an iPad can be a godsend when travelling with little ones. When your family singsong or car game loses their attention, perhaps an episode or two of their favourite TV programme will provide a few hours of peaceful drive time. Just don’t forget to pack the headphone as well!

While You’re There

This will largely depend on your destination, but we’ve put together some handy tips for those visiting Loch Lomond. Sarah Christie, author of the Extraordinary Chaos blog recommends having an open mind and to not stick to a routine. Luckily, there are loads of kids’ activities in and around the Cameron Lodges Resort to keep your family holiday varied and interesting.

The Enchanted Wood (known locally as Faerie Wood)

Situated between the 17th & 18th holes on The Carrick golf course, The Enchanted Wood is a wonderful educational and sensory resource for visitors, created by our wonderful Estate Ranger Jenny, that also provides food and habitat for a variety of woodland species such as birds, bats, butterflies, bees, and amphibians found in and around Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond Sealife Centre

Take the kids to see Cammy, the only giant sea turtle in Scotland or let them hold a crab or touch a starfish in the interactive Rock Pool. For those a little more daring, take a trip into the Ocean Tunnel and enjoy watching the sharks swim by. A great day out for all the family, the Loch Lomond Sealife Centre is located at Loch Lomond Shores, just a short drive from Cameron Lodges.

Loch Lomond Pony Trekking

Kids will love meeting Chrissie, Petra, Bailey and Glen, the very well-mannered and well-groomed ponies at the Loch Lomond Pony Trekking facility in Balloch, just a five minute drive from Cameron Lodges. Ideal for both novice and experienced riders, you’ll get to enjoy the amazing views of Loch and Ben Lomond at a nice, leisurely pace.

And finally…don’t forget that mum and dad are on holiday too!

Mums and dads shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to spend some time together doing grown up things, which is why it’s useful to find out about any babysitting or kids clubs available at your destination. For example, Cameron House provides great kids activities and facilities to keep the little ones entertained while mum and dad visit the Spa or enjoy a round on the golf course.


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.