International travel is now back on the menu for 2022, however, for some, the stress and worry just isn’t worth it. Following on from the boom of 2021, there is a huge amount of interest in so called staycations. SUPM has taken a look at several UK destinations that may tickle the palette of SUPers, maybe something here could give you inspiration for a day out or longer, so here we go from north to south with the first of a dozen spots…
Loch Lomond, Scotland
We are so fortunate in Scotland to not only have miles and miles of coastline but a multitude of Lochs carved out over millennia by retreating ice caps. Ask a Scot where their favourite SUP spot is, and you will get a host of different answers!
At Paddlefast, we are based in the Central Belt, within an hour of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, with easy access to the largest freshwater loch in the country. At 24 miles long and 22 islands (usually known as Inch something-or-other) and 27 islets, Loch Lomond is a watersports paradise and only an hour from Glasgow. One of the islands boasts several wallabies who live wild on the island!
Given Loch Lomond’s size, there’s always a sheltered bay or adventure to be had. At Ardlui in the north, you have the river Falloch to explore up as far as the Drover’s Inn (take shoes – here be brambles) or a circumnavigation of the Island I Vow.
Luss is one of the most popular launch spots on the western shore, with the main bank of islands in easy paddling distance and a lovely sheltered channel down the middle. Head back to Luss for a double scoop at St Mochas on the pier, or pop back to the Village Rest for a pint or dinner. If you are looking for accommodation, then head to The Lodge on Loch Lomond, managed by fellow paddler Niall Colquhoun where you are always guaranteed a warm welcome.
On the east side, you have plenty of launching options from Balmaha, Milarrochy Bay and Rowardennan. From Balmaha, head down to the sandy bay on the south side of Inchcailloch for a gorgeous spot to play and splash around. Then head back to the Oak Tree inn with their famous pizza and the St Mochas café with their delicious ‘Balmooha’ ice cream – always a winner with the kids. Or launch at Milarrochy Bay for the paddle to Inchcailloch. From this angle, the island looks like a lady sleeping. Keep your eyes peeled for the Ospreys who may be wheeling about above you.
The south side of the Loch is closest to Glasgow and boasts launching spots at Balloch (Loch Lomond shores) and Duck Bay Marina. From here, you can skirt the coastline and explore, or make it a challenge and head to Inch Murrin for a pint (you may have to book in advance this summer) and back.
The National Park has a couple of bylaws you should be aware of; namely, you have to wear a PFD and a camping management system. You can find out more here: https://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/park-authority/publications/byelaws/
With plenty of water for everyone, this fantastic loch is a SUPer’s paradise, so grab yourself a dry bag full of snacks and try to find out which of the 22 islands is home to the wallabies! They say the weather changes every 20 minutes or so in Scotland, so don’t forget to pack your wing for some wingboarding or wingfoiling for this eventuality!