Scotland: Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park

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My adventures started in Balloch, having a mini reunion with some of my friends/fellow colleagues from camp. Taking a coach to Glasgow, then a train to this small town, I had a relatively small way to travel compared to others but it was worth it to be reunited with some incredible people that I spent two awesome summers with in the USA.

Once we had all found each other, it was evening time and what a better way to get reaccquainted than by taking the dog for a walk around the Balloch end of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park? None. Great friends, a colourful sunset, a walk down memory lane – What more could you ask for? Deer, we saw Deer.

The next day, we fancied a  different kind of walk and Conic Hill in Balmaha was it. Starting from the information centre in the town, a regular bus service from Balloch takes you right to the base of this trail (£3 return, 12 miles each way is a great price, trust me), dogs are welcome and be prepared. This walk is good for regular walkers and a good introduction to hill walking if you are considering taking it up. The paths are good, steps in many places and gradual ascents/descents for the most part. No need to rush as at 2.5 miles, you have time to relax and take in the incredible views on both the way up and down. The views over Loch Lomond and its islands are fanstastic and I was so fortunate to undertake this walk on a beautiful, warm summers day with friends. Running back down was also great aka How to unintentionall freak other people out.

Looking for a bite to eat after the walk, opposite the bus stop where you are dropped off for the walk (also helps that it is the LAST stop on the bus journey), then do what we did and try The Oak Tree Inn. Reasonable pricing (based on my own experience from UK travel and abroad, so this is where we could differ), we sat outside overlooking the Loch, tucking into our large and tasteful food in a relaxed environment.

After a bite to eat, we took a walk around parts of Loch Lomond, keeping the water on our left, as well as keeping to the paths, this wonderful national park has so much to offer for the adrenaline-seekers out there or for those who just want a chilled out day. We went for the latter…

                      The guy in the red bobble hat is Tom Weir MBE (29th December 1914 – 6th July 2006) “Scotland’s Most Loved Mountain Man.” A lover of the outdoors, passionate about the environment using various methods to encourage others to discover what the great outdoors has to offer, Tom Weir did so much for this wonderful aspect of our world and it is no surprise that he has been honoured this way. If you would like to find out more about this ‘Mountain Man’ click here.

Following the road around, onto the pier and into a small woods, all you can see is water that stretches and stretches. Across a small road, you re-join the park, going deeper and deeper into the National Park, trees on your right, water to your left with killer views and more small islands coming into view. If you have a jet-ski, or a little boat, this is a great space to come too.  With many small sandy and peddled beaches around the area just off the path, it isn’t hard to find your own little spot and stay there for a while. Relax, playing fetch with the dog, reflecting on life, being with friends and being in the moment, it will be hard to pull yourself away, as we certainly struggled ourselves.

Back to reality, but Glasgow the next day, so lets go!

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