In an attempt to make the best of this ever extending time we have at home, I’m exploring more of what’s on my doorstep. Loch Lomond is somewhere I visit regularly as mentioned in my ‘Loch Lomond Guide‘ blog post however it’s such a large national park with so much to see and do that I haven’t even scratched the surface. A few weeks ago when we had the glorious warm weather, we decided to make the most of it and take a little cruise around the Islands to get a better view of the area from the water. We took the 3pm Island Discovery (2 hour) Sweeney Cruise sailing from Balloch and it was easily one of my best and favourite days of the last 2 years.
First of all, the sunshine was so very much appreciated and we managed to secure one of the few outdoor seats on the ‘Silver Marlin’. Some of the vessels have extensive outdoor seating while others are limited and it’s one of those things you can’t really gauge beforehand therefore it’s worth arriving early if you want to have the best choice.
There is a small amount of commentary which was nice to get a bit of the history of each island although it was also nice to simply enjoy the views without much background noise. It’s probably a difficult balance for the company to gauge with a lot of tourists (including us locals) who want the history while others are seeking a tranquil day out on the water. The boat has a bar which surprisingly wasn’t overpriced and allows you to enjoy hot or cold refreshments. You can of course take your own drinks and snacks but it’s good to know it’s there if you prefer a tea or coffee or an alcoholic beverage.
The journey operated at a leisurely but comfortable pace and there was always something to take in such as the landscape views, sea plane landing or people out on jet skis, paddle boards as well as other commercial and private boats. I was amazed at how many islands there are with some inhabited and others not. The thought of escaping to one of these little islands and getting away from all the trials and tribulations of the last 2 years is extremely appealing and I can see why people live this kind of life or have a weekend / holiday home on one of the islands. The landscape is even more striking from the water and although we fortunately had the best day for it, I can appreciate how beautiful it would be even on a gloomy day.
Due to the restrictions, the numbers were limited which meant that although it was fully booked (I believe there was 30 allowed at that point), it wasn’t crowded which was a real bonus as we could get up, take photos and enjoy the view from different parts of the boat. Social distancing and masks were required apart from when you were seated and thankfully everyone was compliant with the rules.
It was honestly the best day out and something I will definitely do again. I’d highly recommend if you’re in the area or a local like me, there really is something for everyone. I truly felt as though I was in the Mediterranean with the scorching sun combined with a gentle breeze and beautiful views, it was magical and the closest I’ll get to that ‘holiday’ feeling this year.