Easter Ideas: Loch Lomond

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Staying in the country for Spring Break and looking for a day trip away? Why not visit the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond? Situated over by the West Coast, Loch Lomond can be reached in a matter of hours; it helps if you gently coax a friend to drive you there.I have found offering home-made goodies and pledging an oath to stay awake during the trip (both there and back!) to beeffective incentives myself.

Upon checking the weather forecast for signs of anything-less-than-horizontal-sleet, you can leave The Bubble mid-morning and quite happily reach the wonderful Loch by lunchtime. Hugging the edge of the waterfront, you should drive round to the eastern bank until you reach the RowardennanPub Hotel, where free parking is provided and toilet facilities are available.

Whilst visiting the Loch, I would really recommend attempting to climb Ben Lomond (a mountain) which looms grandly overhead.Challenge accepted? Then kitted out in your walking boots, wearing plenty of layers (it is Scotland after all, and the threat of rain is always imminent) and clutching a camera to document the marvellous views, the start of the trail is readily signposted from the pub. 3250feet of fairly steep hillside terrainguides you the seven miles to the summit of Scotland’s southernmost ‘Munro’. Although one of the most popular and climbed hills in Scotland (we were greeted by dozens of hikers during our climb), this is not to be undertaken on a whim- wind speeds increase and temperatures decrease as you near the top, and your tired leaden legs would swear that the gradient rises exponentially.However, do not be disheartened by tales of woe, or that of students never seen again after brief dalliances with the ‘hielan hills’, as none of our partypretended to be serious hill-walkers and we managed just fine.

Although it is always a thrill to reach the finish line (which in this case boasts the most spectacular panoramic views),don’t allow Ben Lomond to conquer you. Stop if need be, enjoy the views from where you are and take a few celebratory ‘made it to the top’photos if you make it. Then begin yourdescent back down in good time for a hearty pub lunch and a chilled pint. It’s the full, rounded experience that counts, after all!

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