Inchconnachan, Loch Lomond

More commonly known as Wallaby island, Inchconnachan is situated amongst the larger islands in the middle of Loch Lomond. Having visited last year, I was keen to go back and explore some more. And of course, see the wallabies again.

The wallabies were first brought to Inchconnachan in the 1940’s after the second World War, by one of the most eccentric and admired aristocrats of the 20th century, Lady Arran Colquhoun. She was also a celebrated power boater, and earned herself the nickname “the fastest granny on water” after reaching 103 mph on Lake Windermere in the 1980’s.

Scotland has been absolutely glorious these past few days so I grabbed my best gal gang (and Stuart) and headed up to Loch Lomond for some paddle boarding. We set off from Luss pier and headed straight for the famous island.

We paddled round to the west side of Inchconnachan called The Narrows, a waterway between the site and Inchtavannach island, to escape some of the wind. This is where you’ll find Lady Arran’s bungalow which has long been deserted.

Inchconnachan Island

There’s definitely an eerie feel to the place. Approaching it, we felt that we were at the part in the horror film where everyone was shouting ‘GO BACK!’ but we survived to tell the tale. Head inside and you’ll find the most amazing map of Loch Lomond, which has been painted on what appears to be the living room wall.

Inchconnachan House

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After exploring the bungalow, we hiked to the top of the island in search of the wallabies. The views at the top are gorgeous, the perfect spot for a girlie catch up.

Inchconnachan Hill

Inchconnachan Island Views

After battering through bushes and branches, we eventually caught a glimpse of the wallabies. It’s incredible to see these Australian natives bouncing around in Scotland and easy to understand why most people think you’re crazy when you talk about them living on an island… in Loch Lomond.

Lady Arran was a quirky character with a love of exotic animals. She once owned a backyard menagerie that included creatures like wallabies, llamas, and pigs. It was only after the second World War, she moved her beloved wallabies to her holiday home on Inchconnachan.

Wallabies Inchconnachan Island

Wallaby Island, Loch Lomond

We spent the afternoon in total bliss, after a quick snack break we paddled through The Narrows and headed over towards Inchmoan.

Inchconnachan Beach

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Determined to get a cute group picture… I’m not sure we succeeded.

Paddle Boarding, Scotland

Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond SUP

There’s something pretty special about having the beach all to yourself, you’re only a short paddle or boat trip from some beautiful, secluded beaches, the perfect summer camping spot.

Loch Lomond

Paddle Board Yoga

Inchmoan, Loch Lomond

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

I also got to test out the new MOAI board, which is a total dream to paddle on. Although, wetsuit season is well and truly over! Absolutely roasting in them, we headed in for a quick dip before heading back.

Inchmoan Island

Loch Lomond is a home from home for me, I’ll never tire of exploring the same islands or paddling the same routes, there’s just something instantly calming and freeing about being on the Loch.

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Images: SUP Glasgow

Keep up with my latest adventures: A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

Glasglow Girls Club | The Whangie

Summer is finally HERE!

And what better way to enjoy the sunshine than a Saturday morning adventure with Glasglow Girls Club. I was invited along to their second hill walk with Excelsior Adventures, where we would be climbing The Whangie and then heading down to explore The Devils Pulpit.

In case you haven’t heard, Glasglow Girls Club is a growing members’ network for women in Glasgow and the surrounding area. It provides a forum for Glasgow women to come together and share recommendations and advice, promote their own businesses and help each other to grow, both professionally and personally.

At the heart of it all is Laura Maginess. During our sweaty climb, I managed to grab her for a quick chat on why she started GGC Hillwalking.

“When I was in Sri Lanka earlier this year, I was doing a lot of walking in this beautiful country and I thought to myself, I really want to start a walking club in Glasgow, and encourage more women to get out in Scotland and appreciate what we have to offer. Scotland is stunning!”

Cue Jen.

Jen - Excelsior Adventures
Jen – Excelsior Adventures

The most “morning person” person I have ever met, Jen created Excelsior Adventures after discovering how hiking and being out in nature rapidly improved her mental health after leaving an abusive relationship and suffering from depression.

“I am now at a place where I want to use my experiences to help other people.”

Jen describes Excelsior as a ‘forward-thinking company with the potential to support individuals all over Scotland by creating a vision that emphasises excelling at outdoor activities which strengthen your mind, soul and body.And what better place than Scotland?

Excelsior Adventures

Girl gang assembled, we headed off around 9:30 am from Glasgow Quay. First stop, The Whangie. Located in the Kilpatrick hills, it’s a bizarre rock-feature with wonderful views towards Loch Lomond, the Highlands and the Campsies. The walk is just under 5K, and took us around 2 hours up and down, with plenty of water and selfie breaks along the way, it was the perfect balance between feeling challenged and still being able to enjoy the hike.

Glasgow Girls Club Hillwalk

Glasgow Girls Club Hillwalk

Glasgow Girls Club Hillwalk

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Glasgow Girls Club Hillwalk

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The Whangie

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The Whangie with Glasgow Girls Club

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The Whangie with Excelsior Adventures

The Whangie with Glasgow Girls Club

Full of knowledge, Jen filled us in on some fun facts about The Whangie.

  • The Whangie is a stone corridor, allegedly created by the devil flicking his tail with the oncoming excitement of visiting Stockie Muir (the scientific community might disagree).
  • The Whangie’s name is derived from the old Scots word for slice (as in whang o’ cheese).

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Glasgow Girls Club

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The Whangie

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The Whangie

Amanda Hill Photography

Next up on our adventure was The Devils Pulpit. I get pretty enthusiastic about most things, but I cannot emphasise how incredibly fun it was to visit this magical location. Known both as Finnich Glen and the Devil’s Pulpit, it is well hidden along the A809.

The Devils Pulpit

The Devils Pulpit

There are two main locations where it is safe to park – either on the A809 next to the footpath just south of where the A809 crosses the glen itself, or a little further north at the junction with the B834.

Jen led us alongside the gorge through the forest. It’s pretty easy to follow, but do be careful as there’s no fence and the drop down to the gorge is quite far. After around a 5 minute walk, you will come to the stone steps of “Jacob’s Ladder”.

Not for the faint hearted, you will feel like you are climbing down to hell. Jacob’s Ladder is an ancient stone staircase which runs down to the gorge below. It’s really steep and in very poor condition, but is pretty much the only way to get down to the gorge. However, totally worth it!

You’ll definitely want to bring your swimsuit or wetsuit with you in the summer to explore the water.

The Devils Pulpit with Excelsior Adventures

Amanda Hill Photography
The album drops next week

If you’re thinking of getting into hill walking or just looking for a fun girly day out then I would highly recommend GGC Hillwalking. Laura and Jen have thought of everything from tasty snacks to boogie tunes for the journey, Jen made sure everyone enjoyed themselves and that we all felt safe and stayed together throughout the day.

Amanda Hill Photography
 
The next GGC Hillwalk is 25th May at Conic Hill. Buy your tickets here.
Thanks so much to Laura for inviting me and Jen for organising such an amazing day.
Also, special thanks to Amanda Hill Photography, who got some fab snaps of us and managed to carry her camera (and dignity up and down that gorge). Check out her page.
Keep up to date with my latest adventures: A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

Ben Donich

Last weekend, my dad and I headed up to Loch Lomond to blow away some of the summer cobwebs, we planned to do a bit of kayaking on the Saturday and take a jolly up Ben Donich on the Sunday morning. However, either being optimists or idiots, neither of us checked the weather forecast…

We had the loch all to ourselves on Saturday and so paddled up to Tarbet and then over to explore some of the hidden beaches underneath Ben Lomond.

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We had perfect conditions for kayaking minus the eerie mist that was hovering. The route back was slightly trickier with the weather being borderline stormy and the mist making it difficult to see, however, we hugged the nearby shore line, avoiding the worst of the weather, back home to some warm hot choccy!

Waking up on Sunday to dry, cloudy weather, we grabbed our backpacks and headed up to the Rest and Be Thankful taking the B828 towards Lochgoilhead.

The munro is pretty well signposted and there’s a decent sized car parking area, free of charge. Follow the signs for ‘Glen Mhor, Ben Donich Hill Access’.

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The path is pretty well maintained the whole way up, although, there are some boggy areas over some grassy slopes nearer the summit. The walk provides fantastic views down to Gleann Mor as well as back over the Rest and Be Thankful to Loch Restil, with Beinn an Lochain towering above it.

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We were only about ten minutes in to our climb when we got caught in some lovely Scottish weather and got completely soaked, the fog started to lift about half way up but we didn’t manage to see much from the summit.

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My dad is a pro at hill-walking and of far higher ability than me when it comes to climbing tougher munros. He’s always up at the crack of dawn every weekend doing hill sprints, climbing, the lot – but it’s always fun to do a nicer, easier one together.

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Although our views were a bit restricted nearer the summit, I thought this was a fab little climb and great for easing back into hill-walking if you’ve not been out in a while, guilty! 

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Honeymoon Bridge

I woke up on Sunday hangover free and full of good intentions, Scotland’s weather forecast, however, did not…

The plan was to climb a Munro, just past Arrochar, but driving up there, realised the Scottish weather was going to get the better of me, it was blowing a hooley with low clouds and drizzly rain so instead opted for a ‘short walk with a view point‘.

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Honeymoon Bridge has become a well known spot for it’s car parking facilities, lunch spot, remote picturesque views but more famously a car crash in the 1950’s.

Starting off at the rear of the car park, heading up through some forestry, along a beaten road you soon emerge to see views over looking the loch, and over to Ben Lomond.

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It was a fairly busy route with lots of families and puppers to ‘aww‘ and play with. After taking in the view, you’re back through some more eerie forestry. There are quite a few path options along the way, I followed the route up and off path which became pretty steep and boggy after a while.

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How creepy does this bit look?!

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Having not been hiking in a while, this one definitely loosened the hips. It reminded me a lot of Dun Na Cuaiche – perfect for beginners. Once you’re up and out, the views are gorgeous! You have the option to continue climbing up but I’d had enough of being mauled by ticks.

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I think this is a great little route for a Sunday stroll, especially that you’re protected in amoung the trees when the weathers rubbish, luckily by the time I reached the top the rain had gone off for a little bit – perfect photo opp.

Plus, there’s plenty of great restaurants near-by for some hot food and a drink when you’re finished!

Keep up with all my adventures – @abonnietravelersinsideguide. 

Kayaking in Loch Lomond

Summer 2018 is well and truly underway with Scotland having a massive heatwave this week! Who needs Ibiza when you’re living in 30° heat?!

Typical Brit moaning about the weather but I swapped my hiking boots for my wet-suit last weekend and headed out onto the loch. It was just waaay too hot for a hike.

I headed up to Inverbeg, where my family have a little place over-looking the loch. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was sooo warm and the water was calm but super busy. Great minds…
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I hadn’t been out kayaking in a while and have always been really keen to explore some of the beaches surrounding Inverbeg and Rowardennan. I definitely wasn’t the first, as I found remnants of BBQ’s and campsites at a few.

I also wasn’t the only one out on the loch – it was filled with jet-skiis, boats, water-skiers and a few fellow kayaks. I even passed a couple who totally had the right idea… the girl, sunbathing, enjoying life with a bottle of wine whilst her boyfriend rowed his lil’ heart out, ha-ha. Yes please!

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My sister and I, have a 2 person kayak and whilst it’s good for bringing lunch/ bags etc. It’s so tiring and heavy after a while, we don’t ever get very far in it ha-ha so I had managed to borrow my neighbours – a single kayak with detachable comfy seat! It was super lightweight and easy to maneuver.

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I was also pleasantly surprised at the lack of litter on the beaches – I know this is something that the park are cracking down on as it’s becoming a big issue but I am proud to report I found little to none.

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There are lots of companies up in Loch Lomond, that offer kayak hire and water sport sessions so I have linked a few below that I felt offered good value for money. As with most water sports, being able to swim is a must and always ensure under 12’s are accompanied by an adult.

1. Loch Lomond Leisure – offer 1 – 3 people kayak hire from 1 hour to long term. They also offer group guided tours. Wet suits are not included with most packages but can be purchased for £2.00 – bargain! They also have a wide range of other activities from water skiing to banana boat rides as well. I am BUZZING to try some of these out.

2. Loch Lomond Wakeboard – offer 1 – 2 people kayak hire also, from 1 hour to long term (Wet suits are included in all packages). These guys also offer other water activities such as wake board and water-skiing lessons so I will definitely be checking that out as well.

 

Jet-skiing in Loch Lomond

In case anyone missed it, Scotland has been having the most glorious weather lately and everyone is in just the best mood ever! Summer is well and truly under way…

My parents have a little place up in Inverbeg, Loch Lomond, where I’m very fortunate to have spent most of my weekends as a child. It’s where I first discovered my love for hillwalking and water sports so, of course, I didn’t hesitate when I woke up to the sun streaming through this weekend with a 23-degree forecast.

In case you haven’t been, Loch Lomond is roughly an hour outside of Glasgow (14 miles North west of the centre) along the A82. There is just so much to see and do up there – it’s well worth an over-night or fun day trip.

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I spent the day out in the water, jet-skiing with some friends and enjoying a BBQ with some beers on the beach. Exactly the way every Saturday should be spent.

We are lucky enough to have a ‘Stand-up, Kawasaki’ which is so much fun but a hell of a work out ha-ha. It can take a few attempts to master your balance but amazing once you’re up and going. My friend has a ‘Sit down, Yamaha’ which is the type you would usually see on holiday, so much fun!

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We traveled across the loch to Rowardennan with the intention of jumping off the pier there but soon discovered it’s closed for maintenance repairs. Boo! Instead, we explored the area a bit and found some cute little, hidden beaches.

I could have easily spent the entire day out there, there’s such a lovely essence of freedom and tranquility on the loch. There are plenty of companies up that way who organise paddle boarding and water skiing sessions as well as kayak hire and inflatable sessions if you are looking to organise a fun trip.

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I do not recommend taking your phone on a jet-ski ha-ha. My heart was in my mouth the entire time… but the views! Come onnn!

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