The long weekend brought sunshine to Scotland and light evenings and so I managed to convince my nearest and dearest to go out on a couple of wee visits to some local beauty spots. The break was 60/40 boring house spring cleaning and pretty local trips!
On the Saturday my parents visited and we headed out to Loch Lomond. You can reach it from Glasgow via a train to Balloch but as we had the car we drove up to the village of Luss for a wee wander about. Luss is where they filmed Scottish TV soap 'Take the High Road'. It's very picturesque and its possible to take boat and ferry trips from the jetty there. The local symbol appears to be the stag and it appears everywhere. (Baratheon Country!) Dogs are popular too and almost every cottage we passed had a sign for 'beware of the dog' and in one case 'beware of the owner!' The homes are mostly small traditional stone cottages with a few larger houses dotted about.The community there are certainly keen to personalise their homes and gardens as evidenced by the various gnomes, signs, painted stones and even a train shaped flower bed! Garden adornments are always a matter of personal style, but the community are clearly very proud of their little village surrounded by hills and a shimmering loch. The weather was calm and bright that day with clouds dancing on top of the hillside. There was also some kind of historical re-enactment or community event on as there were a lot of people in 17th century costume (though not as many kilts as I would have expected!)
On Monday Rockin' Roy and I took the train to Largs. Sadly we missed Vikingar - the Viking experience situated in Largs' local theatre/leisure facility, but we had a chance to wander up and down the beach front eating some truly spectacular ice creams and taking in the view. Largs is known for ice cream, fish suppers, pebbled beach front and Viking history. The beach has a lots of amusements for kids including a mini trampoline and mini-golf though most of the families were spending their time looking at shells, playing frisbee & football or biking down the beach front. It was pretty packed due to the school holidays but we had plenty of space to wander around.
From Largs it is a ten minute ferry ride to the Isle of Cumbrae, a teeny tiny island only 1 mile from the coast and home to the cycling lovers town of Millport. The ferry terminal is literally about 5 minutes walk from Largs train station - just head towards the beach. We hopped on the ferry in the late afternoon to go for some chips on the beach at Millport. When you get off the ferry on Cumbrae there is a bus which takes you the four miles along to Millport (the only town on Cumbrae). You can take your car and bikes on the Ferry. We didn't have either so just went as passengers and caught the bus along. All ferry tickets are return but you need to buy your bus ticket when you get there.
Millport is a pretty little town and the island has plenty to do for outdoorsy families. After our suppers we went into a local pub for a pint before beginning our journey back home. We left our flat in Glasgow at about 1pm and arrived back home about 9.30pm - a good day out! The sun shone pretty much the whole day and the sun went down around 8pm, by which time we were on the train back to Glasgow. It's about an hour from Glasgow Central to Largs - it may be a shorter drive though as the train takes you via Saltcoats.
I'd definitely like to give camping on an island a go at some stage once we upgrade our camping gear. It's certainly much easier to do wild camping with a car but not impossible by public transport or bike in Scotland. Check out the Scottish Outdoor Access code for more info.