WALKING AROUND THE TROSSACHS
There are so many fantastic walks right on our doorstep (the excellent walkhighlands has route descriptions and maps for more than 90 walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park alone) it’s almost impossible to pick out a few, but here goes:
Walks for all levels in the Trossachs
The Lodge; various lengths
Less than 15 minutes from Lochend, The Lodge is the Forestry Commission’s excellent visitor centre in the spruce forests above Aberfoyle. The Lodge has a great cafe, lovely giftshop, webcams over local osprey nests, a GoApe high-ropes obstacle course, and a network of waymarked trails that could keep you happily busy for your entire week at the chalets. Easiest of the lot is a half-hour loop down to the impressive Little Fawn waterfall via a perfect Pooh Sticks bridge, interactive dam attraction and Red Squirrel hide.
Fairy Knowe/Doon Hill; 60 minutes up and down
A great walk for kids, partly because it’s short and sweet up through a lovely oak and coppiced wood above Aberfoyle, but also because it has a touch of magic at the summit, where people come from many a mile to tie clouties (rags) to the Scots Pine branches in the hope that as the cloutie rots, so their illness or misfortune vanishes too. The walk can also be done as a 90-minute loop from Aberfoyle.
Lochan Spling; 90 minutes loop
Another tot-sized stroll on Forestry tracks about two miles west of Aberfoyle. Parents love it because it’s beautiful, crossing the upper reaches of the Forth then looping back through pine forest round a glassy, haunting lochan with views north to Ben Venue. Kids love it because it’s flat and has fun osprey, pike, squirrel sculptures along the way by local artist and good mate, Rob Mulholland (his brilliant mirror men hide among the trees round the forest trail at The Lodge.
West Highland Way; 90 minutes
Not the whole 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William obviously, rather just a lovely wee bit of Britain’s premier long-distance walk along the shores of Loch Lomond from Inversnaid (reached via a wonderful 40-minute drive twixt glen and ben). Following a loop through the Inversnaid Nature Reserve, a 90-minute walk ticks off Rob Roy’s Cave and a series of beautiful waterfalls, best seen from the pier below the hotel. Pop into Stronachlachar on the way back for cake and coffee at the Pier Cafe overlooking lovely Loch Katrine.
A BIT HARDER
The Menteith Hills; 90 minutes up and down
You won’t find this walk in many guide books, but for so many reasons, it’s a favourite with me. For one thing, it’s close: the trail-head at Braeval car park is less than 10 minutes from Lochend. For another, it’s super easy: you can reach the top of the hill from the car park at Braeval in only about 45 minutes. Mainly though, I love it because it gazes at us – and all our waterfront lodges – from across the lake, a beautiful, calming constant in our lives. Ma and Pa would take us up for picnics when we were kids, and the view still get me today. The Lake of Menteith, Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, Ben Ledi, the Arrochar Alps and of course the chalets – you can see them all.
Bracklinn Falls Circuit; 90 minutes loop
Just long enough that you’ll feel you’ve earned your tea and cake in Callander, but gentle enough that even young kids will knock it off with only a tiny moan (our neighbour’s do this walk while dribbling a football, seems to do the trick), this fab loop packs in a really dramatic river gorge, rock pools, pine forests and wonderful open moorland that could be way out in the middle of the Highlands – it’s four walks rolled into one. Or five if you take the 30-minute detour to the top of Callander Crags.
Conic Hill; 2 hours up and down
Offering huge gain for very little pain, Conic Hill (1,184ft) has mighty vistas across Loch Lomond to the Arrochar Alps, but is yours for only 90 minutes of gentle up and down from Balmaha, where a fireside pint of Lomond Hop awaits at local ramblers’ favourite, Oak Tree Inn.
Ben A’an; 3 hours up and down
It’s not even 1,500ft high, but Ben A’an packs a proper Highland punch, with a pointy crag at the otherwise flat, picnic-tastic summit that kids absolute love. Epic summit views over Loch Katrine towards the Arrochar Alps, a belter of a walk with all the exhilaration of a gnarly Highland peak – but a fraction of the time and effort required.
A PROPER YOMP
Ben Lomond; 5 hours up and down
It beckons across the water from every cabin, lodge and chalet at Lochend: impossible to resist. The most southerly of all 282 Munros (Scottish mountains over 3,000ft), Ben Lomond (3,248ft) is a real gentle giant. A long but very gradually ascending path climbs toward the summit from the Rowerdennan village on the shores of Loch Lomond; descending via Ptarmigan Ridge is the way to go if you want to make it a bit more challenging. Amazing views across the scattered islands of the loch trailing off toward the Arrochar Alps.
Ben Ledi; 5 hours up and down
If time is short but you really want to bag a proper Scottish summit, Ben Ledi is your boy! It’s only 20 minutes from Lochend to the car park west of Callander, then straight up on a steep but excellent path to a gloriously flat summit (one of the best spots for wildcamping in Scotland), which feels as wild and remote as anywhere in the Highlands. Once down, Venachar Lochside cafe/restaurant is the place to slake your thirst and soak your toes in the loch.
Ben Venue; 6 hours up and down
Ben Venue just gets better and better as you approach from Loch Achray, first through broadleaf forest, then along a stream, then via a really beautiful traverse along the excellent path. As for he summit: it’s wonderfully craggy, like a proper mountain should be. Then it’s down, down, down for well-earned cakes the size of your heed at the Wee Blether Tearoom.
MORE ACTIVITIES AROUND THE TROSSACHS
EXTREME SPORTS AROUND THE TROSSACHSHigh-ropes adventure course & zip-wire, Aberfoyle Hidden away among the towering pines at The Lodge in Aberfoyle, Scotland’s first Go Ape is also its most spectacular, with two of Britain’s longest zip wires, both over 400m long and 150ft high, whizzing thrillseekers aged 10+ over a beautiful 90ft waterfall.The best adventure
CYCLING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs are criss-crossed by an endless network of cycle routes, from gentle, lochside trundles to full-on Danny Macaskill type single-track descents. Running right through the heart of the Trossachs and its lochs, National Cycle Route 7 passes through Aberfoyle and Callander, our two closest towns, and can be picked up anywhere
DISTILLERIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSThere are two excellent distilleries within a half hour of Lochend, however, one of the best whisky experiences lies only a 20-minute walk from the chalets. With several local whiskies in its cosy Port Bar, and a Malt Vault with more than 35 single malts from the Highlands & Islands (everything from
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSWe have our own wee play park right here beside the lake, right in front of the log cabins. And in many ways Lochend is one giant play park, with trees to climb, a lake to paddle in, our quiet drive to pedal. However, if you’re here with children, there is
Forest Visitor Centre
LODGE FOREST VISITOR CENTRE IN THE TROSSACHSLess than 15 minutes from Lochend, The Lodge is the Forestry Commission’s flagship visitor centre, and a place we’ve been going to as a family for years. It’s somewhere our guest really love.Cafe, gift shop, GoApe adventure course and walks galoreThe Lodge itself has a whole room dedicated to
GOLFING AROUND THE TROSSACHSGolf was invented in Scotland, so it’s little wonder we’ve got so many great golf courses within a pitching wedge of the chalets. Being so centrally located means that St Andrew’s, Troon, Muirfield and Turnberry are all easily reached from Lochend, but here are half-dozen or so really excellent courses closer to
PONY TREKKING IN THE TROSSACHSCastle Rednock Trekking Centre, Port of Menteith We’re really lucky to have this excellent stables only 5 minutes from Lochend. Catering for riders of all abilities aged 4+, this friendly riding centre offers pony-trekking, Segway-treks, orienteering and quad pods, where children as young as three can be towed around the beautiful
Shops & Galleries
SHOPS & GALLERIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSHome to fantastic foodie produce and a burgeoning arts scene, the Trossachs are full of great wee delis, craft shops and galleries. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of our favourites, all within about a 20-minute drive of Lochend.The best shops and galleries near
SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs for the heart of Rob Roy’s old stomping ground, and the glens and bens beyond Lochend are absolutely packed with historical interest. It is impossible to list all the castles and monuments, historic villages and boat trips in the area, but we’ve picked out a few favourites, all within a
SCENIC DRIVES AROUND THE TROSSACHSIf the Trossachs are God’s own hiking and biking country, they’re also where He’d take a Sunday drive! Our own lake road (B8034 from Port of Menteith) is one of the most beautiful, twisting and turning along the Lake of Menteith, with roe deer often seen nibbling the banks beside the
WALKING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThere are so many fantastic walks right on our doorstep (the excellent walkhighlands has route descriptions and maps for more than 90 walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park alone) it’s almost impossible to pick out a few, but here goes:Walks for all levels in the TrossachsEASY The Lodge;
DINING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs have made a real name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, award-winning yoghurts and cheeses – and some really fabulous cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourite places for a taste of the Trossachs, all within about a half-hour drive of our chalets.Cafes
MORE THINGS TO DO AT LOCHEND CHALETS
With so much on offer at Lochend Chalets we have listed our favourite things to do for you. Browse all the amazing things you can do when you enjoy a short break ta The Lake of Menteith. Stay on site or explore the local landscapes. Take a day trip somewhere further afield or use your holiday lodge as a base to tour around Scotland. Whatever you want to do there will always be something to keep you entertained and make memories that will last a lifetime.