As much as we always try to head away somewhere new when we have the time, there a few places that we will continue to return to time and time again throughout our lives. Paul & I fell in love with Loch Lomond and the Western Highlands when we first visited back in 2007 and ten years later we decided to head back again.
We have now been to Loch Lomond (and more specifically to Cameron House) three times, each visit has been slightly different and we will certainly be back again in the future.
But why do we love the area so much?
As much as we love the bright lights of the big city, we both feel more at home and comfortable in vast open spaces, with fresh air in our lungs and the wind in our hair. I love waking up to rolling hills sporting that deep purple that only Autumn heather can create, the dramatic clouds that hide away the peaks of the Ben’s and steeliness of the Loch.
Our base for the weekend was the amazing Cameron House, which is spectacularly positioned right on the bank of Loch Lomond itself. Despite having had holiday planned in for a while, we actually didn’t book until the day before so it was all a little last minute in the planning.
The hotel itself has so much to offer with four restaurants (including the Michelin star rated Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond), the Carrick Spa & Golf Course and on-site Marina. But it isn’t just the facilities that keep us going back for more; its the romantic setting, the unparalleled feeling of luxury, the wonderful service and of course the amazing access to the Highlands themselves.
Having driven the five hour journey from West Yorkshire to the hotel, on Friday all that was on our minds was relaxing. After checking in we opted for a walk to The Boat House for cocktails and snacks, before freshening up for tea in the Cameron Grill.
As the name suggests, the Cameron Grill is a steak fans paradise (although they do serve a wide range of dishes) and offers a relaxed atmosphere where weary travellers can refuel and unwind. Both Paul & I opted for the same Sirloin Steak (mainly because you know, FOMO) served with Chips and despite opting to skip the starters in favour of a dessert, neither of us had room left thanks to the generous 300g cut.
After a few glasses of Port in The Great Scots Bar, we decided to turn in for an early(ish) night and rest up ready for the next day.
Have I mentioned we were both a little weary from our journey?
Saturday brought with it that naughty boy Storm Brian and a whole load of rain decided to descend on Loch Lomond. And so after a hearty breakfast we decided to jump in the car and head off exploring in the surrounding National Park (the Falls of Falloch are amazing and a must for anyone visiting the area) and as far north as Glen Orchy. A spot that we stumbled upon thanks to the Sat Nav after heading East out of Tyndrum on the A85.
Realising that our intended route back to the hotel would take too long, we decided to follow the B8074 North along the river to the Bridge of Orchy and back to the A82 and we were treated to some of the most spectacular scenery along the way and even got to see one or two canoeists out enjoying the fast flowing waters of the river itself.
Rather them than me though, the wild waters were cold enough in August!
We spent Saturday evening enjoying the delights of the Thermal Experience at the Carrick Spa, sampling all of the experiences on offer including my favourite; the roof top infinity spa pool. After spending the majority of the day in the car again, it was lovely to be able to unwind in peaceful surroundings and I even found a little time to layback and read my book for the first time since we came back from Rhodes!
When I say we spent Saturday evening in the spa, we really did as we didn’t leave until it closed at 8pm and then decided to have a quick tea in the adjoining Claret Jug bar and restaurant before heading back to the room to freshen up and head for a few more glasses of Port on the terrace of The Great Scots Bar.
Yes you heard me right, we sat out on the terrace in Scotland, at the end of October. However, we’re not as stupid as we sound because the tables on the terrace have their own individual fire pit to keep you warm and there are also gorgeous fluffy blankets to snuggle under too. I can imagine the terrace getting full use throughout Winter as it is an amazing spot to relax.
Sunday morning brought a champagne breakfast to our room as we decided to make use of our Loch view and enjoy a lazy morning in the room before packing up and checking out. I’ve often found that room service breakfasts leave a lot to to be desired but this one delivered everything I could have wanted and more with fresh juices, toast and the all important Champagne too.
But Sunday also delivered one of my favourite moments of the whole trip. Despite needing to head South and home, we decided to jump back on the A82 and head North, beyond the Glencoe Mountain Resort to Glen Etive. You may never have heard of Glen Etive, but if you have ever seen ‘Skyfall’ you will have seen it as it is the spot that Bond & M stand and gaze out over the Highland Glen before arriving at his childhood home.
Unfortunately Daniel Craig wasn’t waiting there to greet us, but the storm clouds were which meant that I could get the most amazing shot of Paul being all Bond-like and mysterious.
Glen Etive was the most perfect way to end our time in the Highlands and it was just as breathtaking as I hoped it would be. I’ve never visited Scotland and the weather be ‘good’ but I don’t know if I would want to either – Autumn is so colourful, mean & moody and the Winters are so vibrant & beautiful.
I think I will always visit late or early in the year, because the West Highlands fit my aesthetic and that is why I will always be back for more.
Have you visited the West Highlands? Where will you always go back to for more?
Let me know below and I’ll catch up with you again soon, until then though x
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