We spent a wonderful Christmas in Argyll, Scotland on a forest holiday. On the edge of the forest I knew there would be some fabulous scenery to walk in, and it would be just our kind of place to go exploring. We stayed at Ardgartan, which is surrounded by the beautiful and stunning Munros of the Arrocher alps. I would have loved to have bagged my first Munro, (climb a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet!) but in winter with two children it wasn’t a good time to start! There were a few low-level activities we could do over the Christmas holiday to walk off those chocolates and turkey.
Here’s a few of the walks and adventures we had whilst we were there.
Succoth to Arrochar walk
We decided to go on an adventure just down the road from our cabins. Armed with an OS map and a rough idea of where we wanted to walk we set off to a nearby car park.
Parking in the pay and display car park at the top of Loch Long, we crossed the small footbridge to the side of the road, into the small village of Succoth.
From the village, we found the Stronafyne loop path, climbing uphill and into the trees. There would have been a quicker way here from the car park but we wanted to stretch our legs. I had to keep stopping and taking pictures of the mountains, the sun, what little of it there was, made the snow on top of the mountains glisten. They looked incredible.
We walked along this footpath, peeping through the trees and a fence as we walked higher to see some great views of the loch. Once through the trees and into a little clearing the path began winding its way back down to the main road. We were now on the edge of the village of Arrochar and walked along the main road by the side of the loch. After Heron and Oyster catcher spotting, we returned to the car park along the main road. Not the biggest of walks, probably just over 2 miles, but the scenery was gorgeous and it was nice to get a different vantage point of the loch.
Ardgartan Forest paths
Closer to home were the marked footpaths near our cabins. Red was a riverside walk that we just did parts of, and Blue was a bigger loop from the loch side and into the forest. We decided to try the Blue waymarked walk. From the loch side, the path climbed steeply before meeting a small road leading into the forest and eventually part of the Cat Craig loop. We went off piste a little here and walked along the forest road until the kids, and maybe Mummy got a bit scared, and we returned the same way. On the way back, we re-joined the blue way markers to take us back on the part of the loop we had missed. The forest trees are magnificent and so tall, we had the kids trying to guess how old they might be and how many Christmas decorations it would take to fill them! Rosy cheeks, lungs full of fresh air and a 6 mile walk, we didn’t feel guilty watching films for the rest of the afternoon.
Our second forest walk started again from our cabins, walking on the riverside path up towards the signposted bus stop. We looked for the red deer that had been spotted here days earlier but sadly no sign. I think we might be too noisy! Crossing the road from the bus stop we found the footpath leading up into the forest. It zig zagged its way up the hill and we saw a big buzzard screeching loudly above us. Again, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the same mountains, but they’re so beautiful. The path eventually splits and you can either walk up to the Cobbler, which would have been a bit much for us that day, or if you turned right it would lead to Succoth and Ardgartan. We came back the way we came at this point, stopping to play in the forest in the half-built dens we found. My eldest had brought out his new pen knife so a few more pet sticks were added to our collection and he started whittling them on the way back down. We managed approx. 4.5 miles on this walk.
Cruising on Loch Lomond
We couldn’t stay near Loch Lomond and not go and see the loch! We enjoyed an hour’s cruise on the loch, looking at that fantastic scenery at a leisurely place. We pre-booked our cruise before we arrived with Sweeney Cruises and it was just under £40 for our family of four. The cruise leaves from Balloch, and as we arrived early the kids had great fun running around the park looking for frozen puddles.
We loved our time in Scotland and I would like to visit at a different time of year to see everything open, we still managed to fit quite a bit in. A proper visit to Inveraray is on the list for next time, and we won’t be driving past the Loch Fyne brewery without stopping either!
All views are honest and my own, I’ve received no incentive to write this just wanted to share our adventures with you!