Friday 24 November 2017

A Very Rainy Loch Lomond Mini Break

When my boyfriend and I were planning our week's holiday back in the summer, initially we had settled on a road trip around Scotland. Although indecisiveness, cost and time soon put paid to that plan, the seed had been sown and we knew we wanted to pay a visit to Bonny Scotland at some point.

Cue a few months later, back in September, when we booked the week off work and were trying to decide what to do with our time. Never much for wasting the precious free time we have, our week was soon jam-packed with a trip down to Dunstable for a friend's wedding, a visit to Alton Towers and a stag do for him while I caught up on some blogging. However, that still left us with three days spare - the perfect opportunity for a last-minute mini-break in Scotland!

He had never visited Loch Lomond before so we decided not to stray too far from the border and make the most of the picturesque scenery the area has to offer. Booking a last-minute stay at two hotels, a different one each night, we quickly planned our route and a rough itinerary.

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Cut to the Wednesday when we were due to leave, and cue the heavens opening. Of course, it always rains in Scotland, everyone knows that, but this was ridiculous rain. On the few occasions I'd been up to Scotland before, it seemed to always be either raining or beautiful sunshine; that's the unique charm of the Scottish weather, I suppose! However, this was unrelenting, non-stop rain that continued solidly for the entire duration of our trip (I wish I was exaggerating here, but it really was that bad).

After a long drive up, we stopped in Glasgow for a visit to his family before continuing our drive through the rain up to our stop for the night. We were assured that the road offered stunning views of the loch and the local scenery, but between the downpour and the mist, it was more a case of leaving the views to our imaginations.

For our first night, we stayed in Arrochar Hotel on the shores of Loch Long. The sprawling hotel stands out stark white against the grey-green backdrop of the loch and the mountains, providing an atmospheric view that feels as though you've stepped back in time. Even despite the rain, the area gave off an air of tranquillity and quietness; from the lack of noise and people, it's instantly clear that you're far from home.

loch-long, arrochar, scotland

Once we had checked in (obligatory tartan carpets: check) we braved the weather for a short walk along the promenade and down the road. In spite of the rain's best efforts, the view was still stunning - a moody, atmospheric snapshot of a wild and untamed country. Having scoped out the village for dinner and discounted the hotel itself, we decided to take a drive in search of some food. A quick five-minute ride later brought us to the Slanj restaurant in Tarbet, where we enjoyed the house-special chicken burrito with home-cut chunky chips. By this point we realised the rain had set in for the night, so we headed back to our room for an early night after our long journey.

The morning dawned grey and gloomy, but we were still up nice and early to make the most of our day. We were one of the first sets of people in the spacious lounge ready for breakfast, where we enjoyed our food from a lovely table by the window, overlooking the loch. Getting into the spirit of things, I had some porridge while he tackled a Scottish breakfast - basically the same as a full English, but with the addition of haggis and a tattie scone.

On our way out of the lounge, we ended up having a conversation with an older gentleman who seemed intent on telling us his life story. We discussed the area, the view, the weather (of course) and our travels - he said he'd just been down to Campbeltown, we said we'd been planning to climb the mountain and bag our first Munro before the weather forced us to change our plans. Eventually bidding him farewell, we packed up the car and headed back towards Loch Lomond.

garelochhead, scotland, waterfall

We drove down to the shores and did a little exploring before deciding to shelter from the rain with a visit to Sea Life Loch Lomond. With displays of colourful fish, rays, seahorses and awe-inspiring marine creatures, it was certainly an enjoyable visit. Plus we even got to see a demonstration of the centre's resident otters being fed!

After grabbing some lunch, we decided to drive back up to check out our home for the second night. The Anchor Inn in Garelochhead is a traditional Scottish pub with rooms at the back - perfect for a quiet hideaway. Despite the weather, we decided to go for a walk. Heading to the shore of the loch, we discovered a trail and tracked up the hillside to discover some beautiful views down across the water.

Despite the less-than-ideal weather, our short break was the perfect antidote to the stresses of everyday life, relaxing and enjoyable. All we need now is to squeeze in a trip to Northern Ireland and we'll have visited every country in the UK!

Have you ever visited Loch Lomond? Share your travel stories with me in the comments below!


  1. Hi Lorna, thanks for stopping by my blog, I totally agree we should all just get along - we all love the same thing, books!

    Glad you finally got to Scotland, I have lived there my whole life and I love the views. We road trip when we can & I love abandoned buildings, we just got back at the start of the week from a wee trip up north. The sea life centre is great, Loch Lommond is perfect for a picnic, when the weather permits. Some of my photos are on a previous blog post or on Instagram xxx


    1. I'm very jealous of you living in such a beautiful part of the world! Definitely going to head over and check out your photos now x