As well as writing about all of the excellent features and views of the RSPB's Loch Lomond Reserve at Gartocharn, it is only right to mention the very warm welcome you recieve. The staff and volunteers are all very enthusiastic and committed to their jobs. Quite rightly they are very pleased with the recently enhanced Visitor Centre, facilities and walks in the reserve.
The reserve is located on the A811, between Drymen and Gartocharn. Look out for the entrance sign (as pictured above), this is a more effective method than relying on sat nav which may take you past the turn. From the turn off it's a short drive to the car park.
RSPB Visitor Hub
At the Visitor Hub you can see boards that chart recent wildlife sightings. Here you can also ask the wardens about some of the many family activities, such as the newly created pond dipping experience, more of that later. It is worth checking in advance if there are any special events on, throughout the year there are children's activities, walks and many other themed events.
Woodland Trail with Pond Dipping
The Airey Woodland Trail (950m loop), will take you through woodland, leading into a wildflower meadow and past a small pond. A newly created Pond Dipping Experience has been created for children. The wardens provide all the necessary items and a very useful information board will help to determine what is found. Apparently it's a different experience every time.
The Viewpoint Path is 200m and looks out across the RSPB reserve and marshes towards Ben Lomond and Conic Hill. I really like this viewing structure, when inside you get a beautifully framed view of Ben Lomond.
Shore Wood Path
If you want to explore the reserves southern shorelines then you need to head into the village of Gartocharn and park at the Millennium Hall. Shore Wood Path can be accessed via the Aber right of way.
Loch Lomond's southern shorelines are some of the least discovered parts around the loch and are well worth exploring. We will review that walk in another article and guide coming soon.
Birds that you are likely to spot at the RSPB reserve at Gartocharn, depending on the time of year (according to their website) include osprey, white-fronted goose, wood warbler, redstart and pink-footed goose.
As you can see from the photographs the enhancements to the reserve, with the trails, pond and features have really worked, blending nicely into the environment.
These photographs were taken during early spring, with still some snow to be seen on Ben Lomond. I will update this blog soon to show how the trails and views look during the other seasons.
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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