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

19

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

17

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.

18

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

11

Glasgow Girls Club Hillwalk

6

The Whangie

3

The Whangie with Glasgow Girls Club

2

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).

4

Glasgow Girls Club

5

The Whangie

22

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

Jobes Sport Review – 10.6 ft. Surf SUP

It’s been just over 3 months since I purchased my first SUP board from Jobe Sports and I absolutely love it. It is perfect for me and I use it almost weekly for solo paddling.

I researched lots of companies and different sized boards for a while before deciding upon this one – I was looking for an inflatable light weight board with good stability as I wanted to be able to travel with it but my biggest challenge was deciding which size. A lot of people recommended the 12 ft. but I just felt that it was a tad too big for me so opted for the 10.6 ft as this promised ‘great stability, easily maneuverable and ideal for solo touring’.  It does all of that and more… once you master the wobbling part.

3

7

4

The Pro’s

  • Stability – I was very surprised by the rigidity of the board when inflated, it handles really well on the water but I wouldn’t recommend more than one person on the board at a time.
  • Lightweight – These boards can look really heavy and clunky but they’re so light and easy to carry. The strap handle in the middle of the board allows for easy and comfortable lifting.
  • Speed – I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere fast on this little board but I was so wrong. The board is streamlined and cuts through waves with the pointer bow brilliantly – I’ve even managed to surf some of the smaller waves with it.
  • Appearance – At the moment, it is only available in the one colour but I really love the design on the surf 10.6 ft. boards. I think it looks clean and smart (plus, it matches my wet-suit).
  • Pump it up – Thumbs up for the high pressure dual action pump. The gauged pump is a life saver, I wouldn’t know when the board was pumped up enough otherwise -the manual details exactly how much air to pump in as well.
  • The Paddle – The adjustable paddle is super lightweight, has great durability and is really comfortable to hold.

1

6

11

5

10

The Cons

  • I only have one and it’s a small one – there’s no cross guard so I can’t secure any bags or anything onto the board with me.

Aside from the cross guard, I genuinely have no improvements to suggest towards this board. It’s really quick to inflate and deflate, lightweight and easy to maneuver in the water and easy to pack down. If you’re buying for one – it’s perfect!

12

9

15

2

What’s Included?

  • 10.6 ft. Surf SUP
  • Waterproof Carrying Bag
  • Pump (with nozzles and pressure gauge)
  • 1 x Aluminium Adjustable Paddle
  • Ankle Leash
  • 3 x Detachable Fins
  • Repair Kit

14

Keep up with my latest adventures – abonnietravelersinsideguide

Note: Not Sponsored

 

 

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…
1

2

3

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!

13

4

8

5

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.

7

9

10

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.

11

16

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.

 

Ben Vane

This was, hands down, the hardest hill I’ve ever climbed. Ben Vane, is described as only just reaching munro status at 915 metres. So, if like naïve, little me, you think this will be a nice, easy stroll – you are very much mistaken.

Ben Vane is one of the Arrochar Alps, standing slightly separate from the other mountains. Located on the A82, near Inveruglas, approximately an hour outside of Glasgow. It’s described as a ‘steep, rocky, little mountain’. That word ‘steep’ should be in CAPS, bold and underlined!

I read it takes around 4-6 hours up and down (it took me just over 5) so headed off around 9:30 am and reached the Inveruglas Visitor Centre where I was able to park. There’s also a small café, restroom facilities and gorgeous views over-looking the loch if you just fancy a day trip. When I got there, it was super busy with tourists, I got chatting to a family who had traveled over from India and said that they were just over-whelmed at Scotland’s beauty. T’awww!

I struggled to find the starting point for Ben Vane and first, ended up along the path of ‘An Ceann Mòr’ where this beautiful structure was created, part of the Scottish Scenic Routes pilot project – it reveals the panoramic views over the banks of Loch Lomond and the Arrochar Alps.

1

I soon came across a group of girls who looked like they were going hiking as well – I asked them if they knew where the starting point was and they also, were confused. We soon realised that there were also about another 10 people trying to find it, all of us using the same website. Walk Highlands sort your directions out, eventually someone was able to steer us in the right direction and we headed off. For the record, you want to cross the road from the car park over to the Scottish Hydro Power station and walk past it.

18

Keeping to the right – you will soon come across some blue arrows, after about a kilometre, turn right onto a gated tarmac road leading under the railway.

3

You will soon come across a large electric substation on your left, where the slopes of Ben Vorlich should come into view on the right and Ben Vane ahead. (I didn’t know this until later…)

5

2

6

Already the views behind me were stunning! It was such a gorgeous day in Scotland with 19 degrees of glorious sunshine! Amazing – guess who ended up getting burnt?!

4

8

Had any of us been paying attention, we would have known that we were supposed to turn left at this bridge with the sign saying ‘Glen Loin’ but to be fair it should have also had a sign labelled ‘BEN VANE‘ seeing as that. was. it. right. there! … Instead we walked a good 20 minutes past this and wondered why we had lost the other 10 people following us.

9

We then came across this bridge and realised we had made a mistake somewhere, thankfully, a Scottish Power van drove past us and offered us a lift back to Ben Vane, we found out that we were on our way to Ben Vorlich. Massive shout out to Scottish Power haha!

After finally getting to the right hill, it didn’t take long before the steep climb began. Basically, straight away.

10

The initial path is a little unclear and boggy but it soon turns into a clear, stone path the rest of the way up. I think the hardest bit about Ben Vane (besides how steep it is) is the amount of false summits. I counted about 5 – it was horrible haha.

After the first few false summits, I started to realise how big this munro actually was.

11

12

The top bit you can see there isn’t even the top. A few of the girls I started off with had decided to stop and call it a day while the rest of them went on, with me. I was actually so glad that they were there as there were some tricky climbing and scrambling parts.

The views were totally worth the steep climb in the end ha-ha and it did make me think about what that family had said earlier, we really do take these views for granted.

13

14

15

16

17
Ben Vane Summit

19

You’re best to re-trace your steps back down the path, and as always I would recommend a good pair of walking boots, especially with a good grip for this one.

The Inn on Loch Lomond Review

I had the privilege of visiting The Inn on Loch Lomond at the weekend and absolutely loved it! I have been coming here ever since I can remember and have seen it through many a refurb but have to admit that the interior, food and service, is the best it’s ever been.

Located on the main A82, just 3 miles north of the picturesque village of Luss, you will find stunning views across Scotland’s most famous Loch towards Ben Lomond. Where you can enjoy a spot of casual dining at Mr C’s Fish and Whisky Bar and Restaurant,serving seafood, burgers, steaks and fish and chips.

A short walk from the main building leads you to their quaint beach house where you can enjoy a relaxing stay over-looking the Loch or opt to stay in the main building which is just as beautiful.

9

Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the interior is stunning with a traditional Scottish charm. Having recently been refurbished in 2008, there is definitely a more modern feel to the place whilst sticking with it’s classic aesthetic.

InnLochLomond-Main2
Image Credit: The Inn on Loch Lomond
the-inn-on-loch-lomond
Image credit: Trip Advisor

There are sooo many options to choose from on the menu and are famously known for their fish n’ chips, be warned though, the portions are huge ha-ha!

The Inn on Loch Lomond Menu
Children & Take Away menu is also available

I honestly could not fault our visit, the food was amazing and fast, the service was exceptional and that’s something I’m super sensitive about (nothing worse than a grumpy waiter) and the price was very fair. My only complaint was the lack of vegetarian options – I was looking forward to a vege burger but they only had a tofu option …. yuck! So I opted for Mac n’ Cheese whilst my friend tucked into the biggest fish and chips I have ever seen!

mac

fsd

8