Following on from our first trip away this year which you can read about HERE and HERE, we headed off for three nights at a campsite we had never been to before, Lagganbeg Caravan Park near Gartocharn, very close to the south shore of Loch Lomond.
It was a Thursday departure this time, delayed slightly because The Navigator was lunching with here SWI chums who were having a catch up as they hadn’t met officially for some time. Check out the Horseshoe Inn, Bridgend HERE.
Here are some details on how to find it…
GPS – 56.052119, -4.526606
What3words – concerts.coast.skinning
Post Code – G83 8NQ
Phone – 01389 830281
Web Page – https://lagganbegcaravanandcampingpark.com/
Lagganbeg is situated just off the A811 between Balloch and Drymen at Gartocharn, famous for the House of Darroch, more of this later.
The drive took almost two hours in very blustery conditions and we arrived about 4.30pm. We had the pick of the touring areas as we were the only van booked in for that night.
The red pin on the above map shows the location of Lagganbeg. Since we moved to Argyll in 2011 we have tavelled between Balloch and Stirling on our way to visit friends and family in the Falkirk area, but never stopped off here before.
The weather forecast for the next three days was not good and the rain battered down all of Thursday evening and through the night so we did not get out a walk to see the surroundings. Although the site is not too far from civilisation, the mobile phone signal was very poor (BT) so I could not do any work or use my data to beam Netflix or any other TV catch up app onto the TV. Add to that the TV signal was not great, especially the BBC channels (no chance of a 3 day refund on the licence fee I suppose!) and that meant that for the first time in ages I did not get to see the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday evening.
Friday dawned and thankfully the rain had abated and although it was cloudy and overcast at least it was dry so we took the opportunity to walk to the Loch Lomond shoreline which was only about ten minutes away.
After walking down a lane you come to the Loch and after going through a gate you are now on a pathway heading through a wood alongside the shore. The first area you come to is a rocky shore with a spectacular view northwards up the Loch with Ben Lomond in the distance, which, at 3,195ft is one of the most popular Munros to walk in Scotland.
The next accessible part of the shoreline has finer pebbles and some sand and would be perfect for a picnic or sunbathing on a sunnier day. The clouds, and more especially, the gaps in the clouds were casting light and shade on the hills and making the view even more interesting.
At this point you are now in the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve and the path continues though the woods which had a spectacular display of Bluebells.
The walk through the woods takes about fifteen minutes and the RSPB website describes it as follows…
- Viewpoint Path (200m) – Wonderful views of Ben Lomond and Conic Hill, overlooking the woodlands and fen of RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond. In summer watch for soaring ospreys and listen to the birdsong from the woodlands close by. In winter watch skeins of geese making their way from their overnight roost to their daytime feeding grounds.
- Shore wood Path (accessed via the Aber right of way) – Ancient oak woodlands along the loch shore. Look out for long-tailed tits, great spotted woodpeckers and if you’re lucky, redstarts in the summer. Out on the water watch out for great crested grebes and ospreys fishing and in the winter this is the favourite roosting place for 1000s of geese including pink-footed and Greenland white-fronted.
At the end of the walk through the woods you emerge back on the shore where there was a bench to sit and take in the amazing view.
Although you can see really black clouds in the above picture the rain stayed away and we managed back to the van without getting wet!
The next day was very different with warmth and sunshine which was very welcome and allowed us to sit out and enjoy the weather. The site had filled up with a mix of motorhomes and caravans and there was more life about it. Most were here just for the weekend and seemed to be a mix of walkers and those making the most of the nearby Loch by launching kayaks.
After lunch we decided to walk into Gartocharn as we had not stopped once at it through the years. I had read online that the House of Darrach was closing soon (6th of June 2021), so we headed there to treat ourselves to afternoon tea (and latte). Visit Scotland had graded House of Darrach a five star attraction and it always seemed to be busy any time we passed in the past but it was closing and had a half price sale on all the items in the shop.
One of the things that caught my eye was a pair of ‘wally dugs’ as we Scots call them, Staffordshire Dogs as they are known south of the border. £240 reduced to £120 (each) still seemed pricy and it took me back to my Granny’s house in Wallacestone where a lovely pair of them had pride of place on her mantlepiece. Unfortunately my mother, being the youngest of five siblings, did not get the opportunity to inherit them when my Gran passed.
We walked back the way we came, along Church Way, and at the highest point of the lane my phone kicked into life and connected to the global highway again but to no real effect as the signal was lost as we headed downhill and back towards the campsite. The views to Loch Lomond away in the distance were stunning and the vista was much brighter.
Back at the campsite we had a BBQ and sat out in the evening sunshine until it became too chilly as the sun dipped. There were about fifteen vans in tonight and others were sitting out as well. The van was tidied in preparation for the journey to pick up Emma who was coming up in the train from Leeds to spend the week with us. We had arranged for her to get off at Polmont as she wanted to see her grandmother’s grave as she had not seen it in the year since she passed.
Scotrail decided to strike that day and we had to go through to Edinburgh Park, then back to Polmont and onwards to Ardrishaig. A long day!
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This site has a great location and the walk to the Lochside and the views looking up to Ben Lomond are well worth seeing. Balloch is close by and Stirling and Glasgow are within an hours drive so there is plenty to see and do within easy reach.
However it does have the air of being a bit run down and in need of a lick of paint, but as the facilities were still closed due to Covid, they couldn’t be assessed. There are always cars coming and going as there are about thirty static caravans on site but they drove slowly through the site and weren’t an issue.
The big issue for me, being a digital nomad, was the lack of Wi-Fi or a data signal but overall the location, scenery and walks overcame those negatives and I enjoyed it here.
All in all, I rate this as a 3.5 star campsite and would definitely return.
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COMING UP NEXT…
We head for Belfast (not in the van) for a long overdue visit.
Hopefully two weeks away in June – tbc.