A82 Loch Lomond Road Trip
The A82 road follows the banks of Loch Lomond from the parks gateway marker, just north of the Stoneymollen Roundabout (the one with the geese sculptures) at Balloch right the way through to the northern tip of the loch. Stick on the road as it heads north to Bredalbane and the northern region of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs.
This blog follows that road journey (with just a small detour for a more scenic route south of Luss), noting 10 places of interest along the route. Whilst mentioning this route it is worth recommending the train journey that follows much of it. Taking the West Highland Line to Fort William, or Oban is one of those beautiful train journeys that must be done. Back though to our A82 road trip...
1. Duck Bay & Cameron House Hotel
The first point of interest Cameron House Hotel. Sadly Loch Lomond's famous and prestigious hotel is currently closed after a major fire at the end of 2017. Cameron House is a resort and other sections such as the Boat House Restaurant, Lodges and Marina are open. The Carrick Golf course further up the A82 is part of the resort. The Carrick has a spa and a golf course that features some pretty spectacular views.
The Loch Lomond Sea Plane is based at Cameron House, this has to be the best way to see Loch Lomond. Their trips are matched with interesting commentary and a chance to see the wonders of Loch Lomond from above. Depending on the flight you book you can also travel further around Scotland.
Duck Bay is close to Cameron House and is a popular restaurant and gift shop. If you follow the little road that runs along side the loch and parallel to the A82 you will find public parking as well as picnic tables. Along that road is the entrance to The Cruin, an excellent venue for weddings and celebrations, with good views of Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond's largest island. Head back onto the A82 here..
2. Arden & Aldochlay
If you want to visit Inchmurrin Island take the third exit (when heading north on A82) at Arden Roundabout. The link explains about parking, ferry availability, prices etc.
Back on the A82 take take the first turning for Luss, this is just north of the very exclusive Loch Lomond Golf Course. This little detour runs you again parallel with the A82, but with a prettier view along the banks of Loch Lomond. Aldochlay is a pretty place, popular for launching kayaks canoes and smaller boats. Four of Loch Lomond's islands are nearby, Inchtavannach, Inchconnachan, Inchmoan and Inchcruin.
Keep following this road, past the Luss Highland Games Showground and into Luss itself.
There is so much to see and do in Luss and we have covered this beautiful village in other places on this website, so here to help you choose with our quick 7 of the best guide to Luss.
1. Take a water bus ferry to Balmaha, or Inchcailloch Island
2. Visit Luss General Store a the lovely Gift Store
3. Enjoy home made Loch Lomond Ice Cream available from the St Mocha kiosk on Luss Pier (seasonal)
4. Follow the brand new Loch Lomond Faerie Trail (Details from Loch Lomond Adventures kiosk in the main car park)
5. Visit the Clan Shop in Shore Cottage, Luss's oldest dwelling.
6. Experience a speedboat tour of Loch Lomond from Luss Pier
7. Enjoy fine dining with an excellent view from the Lodge on Loch Lomond
4. Firkin Point
Between the two villages of Luss and Tarbet there is Firkin Point. This is a good stopping point, with picnic tables and a nice beach. There are also camping facilities. You'll notice quite a wide section of the West Lomond Cycle Path here, this runs from Balloch at Loch Lomond Shores to Tarbet. It is 17 miles long and mainly flat, mostly off road and a good surface to cycle on.
From the map below you can see the importance of Tarbet's location. Just across the water from Ben Lomond and close to two other significant Lochs - Loch Long and Loch Katrine, both accessible by short land based journeys.
At Tarbet there is the option of heading over to the Argyll Forest part of the National Park, via the A83. A right turn at at the Bay Tarbet Hotel will allow you to continue your A82 road trip. From here the A82 hugs the banks of the loch, pretty much all the way towards its northern point.
Cruise Loch Lomond are based in Tarbet and offer a range of cruises and water bus sailings to Rowardennan, Luss, Inversnaid, Inchcailloch Island and Balmaha. They also offer a combined trip of Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, with cycling in between.
A recent addition to Inveruglas has been An Ceann Mòr. This is one of the Scottish Scenic Routes viewpoints and was opened in 2015. The structure was designed specifically to provide elevated and panoramic views across Loch Lomond. Loch Sloy power station was opened some 65 years before that in 1950.
7. Ardlui & Inverarnan
The trip up the A82 includes a widened section at Pulpit Rock, just south of Ardlui. This new viaduct was opened in 2015, following around 30 years of temporary traffic lights! At Ardlui there is a hotel, holiday park and marina. Ardlui is the home of Loch Lomond Wakeboard, who provide lots of ways to get onto Loch Lomond, near the most northern end.
The Drovers Inn has been in business for over 300 years. The hotel claims to be one of the most haunted in Britain! The route of the West Highland Way runs nearby.
8. Falls of Falloch
Look out for the sign for The Falls of Falloch, the car park is just off the A82 and is quite small and soon fills up. It's just a short walk to the falls, which can be viewed from another of the Scottish Scenic Routes Viewpoints. This one is different to the one at Inveruglas, it's called The Woven Sound, by John Kennedy who designed this structure to provide an excellent view of the falls, without damaging the areas trees and plants. The structure also contains a 19th century diary entry from Dorothy Wordsworth.
There is a key decision for your ultimate destination to be made at Crianlarich. Continue north and out of the National Park on the A82 towards Glencoe, or head east on the A85. Both are very scenic routes, with the A85 keeping you in Bredalbane and taking you towards Rob Roy Country, Killin, Loch Earn and The Trossachs. A recent by-pass allows drivers on the A82 to avoid Crianlarich all together.
Ben More and its distinctive pyramid shame dominates the view. To climb this munro allow a full day and be ready for a strenuous climb. Crianlarich is on the West Highland Way walk, there is a youth hostel here. If you're travelling by train you can change here to head over to Oban.
Whether heading north or south Tyndrum can come as a bit of a surprise after a run of incredible scenery. This though is a popular and useful stopping point to use the toilet, get a coffee, something to eat or to refuel the car. The Green Welly Stop is pretty famous and offers all of these facilities and more.
It's now only a short distance before you see the distinctive National Park gateway signs, here you leave Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. Of course the Scottish Highlands await with all of their treasures.
So that's Stoneymollen Roundabout in Balloch to just north of Tyndrum and a route that connects two gateways to the National Park. It's hard to believe that this journeys distance is only 40 miles. The views and the predictable slow parts make it seem longer. Hopefully you enjoyed the journey and the 10 stops along the way.
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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