There are many reasons to consider planning a holiday to Scotland during the Winter months, in fact there are many who would argue that it is the best time of year to come. Apart from the fact that it is very often cheaper, the roads and the more popular destinations are less crowded and the scenery is spectacular with snow-capped peaks and dramatic sunsets.
Here are a few suggestions of things to do this January.
Whisky Tasting at Glengoyne
Banish the winter blues with a tasting at our local whisky distillery. Glengoyne Distillery Ambassadors will take you on a tutored tasting of thier Highland Single Malt Whiskies. Learn about the bold, complex flavours from the slowest stills in Scotland matured in only the finest casks.
Sunrise Goose Walk
Join the RSPB for an early morning walk through the wetlands at RSPB Loch Lomond this January. Thousands of geese roost overnight on the loch and surrounding areas.Watch the geese at sunrise move on from their overnight roosts on the hunt for a daytime feeding spot.
As the temperature dips and our landscapes sparkle in clear winter light, nothing beats a refreshing winter walk to soak up the winter wonderland around you.
Enjoy magical hills glistening with snow, crisp air filling your lungs and frost crunching underfoot.
Cruise Loch Lomond can help you access some of the most awe-inspiring places in The National Park – hidden islands, remote peaks and ancient forests and weather permitting have a winter programme too. A 1 hour circular cruise departs from Tarbet Pier. Tickets can be purchased via their website at www.cruiselochlomond.co.uk or through their office by calling 01301 702356. Adult £12/Child £7.50. /Family (2+2) £35.
Sweeney's Cruises will offer you a one-hour circular tour of Loch Lomond's South basin with views of the magnificent Ben Lomond and a number of Loch Lomond's stately homes and castles along the shoreline. Cruises run from November to March at 10:15, 11:30, 13:30* ( *Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). Call their offices or book online via their website.
The largest city in Scotland is Glasgow, and in winter it is a wonderful place to visit when its cold or wet.
Museum in Scotland are free and Glasgow has a some world class exhibitiosn for you to choose from such as the world-famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, the Riverside Museum and the Scotland Street School. If you are still feeling chilling then you can also pop into the Glasgow Botanic Gardens greenhouses!
Glasgow also has some fabulous restaurants and coffee shops. The West End and Byres Road (which is just across the road from the Botanic Gardens), offers you an excellent range and choice of food including the renowned Ubiquitous Chip in Ashton Lane. Knockderry House is only an hour from the city by car and if going by train you can get a direct journey from Helensburgh Central.
Winter Walking and Wildlife
If walking is your passion then Ben Lomond, one of Scotland’s most iconic Munros, looks all the more spectacular when the peak is cloaked in snow, however care should be taken and this should only be attempted by seasoned mountaineers with appropriate equipment, as summit conditions can be dangerous. There are some very good low level walks in the area such as upn our own Peaton Hill or through the Rosneath wood. The Three Lochs Way is a particular favourite, especially over the hills from Cardross to Balloch as it provides some amazing panoramic views.
Whilst out and about it is worth keeping an eye out for the local wildlife and birdlife. If up in the mountains you might be lucky enough to spot a Ptarmigan or Artic Hare, both of which dwell on high mountain tops and change their plumage/fur to white for better winter camouflage. On the lower slopes Buzzards and other birds of prey can be spied. and at this time of year, you’re likely to spot red deer as they move to lower grazing. Finally there is every chance you might catch a glimpse of our native red squirrels. These shy creatures are at last becoming more abundant in our local area, although they are less active during the colder months.
For those who prefer getting around the wider area why not consider a 4x4 Tour in a Land Rover Defender? Full and half day tours are available, allowing you to sit back and enjoy a wonderful tour of the area whilst your kilted Adventure Guide does the driving. Exhilarating off road driving experiences are also offered for those keen to get in behind the wheel.
If an adrenalin rush is what your are after then, local company, In Your Element offers amazing outdoor activity experiences across the entire area, including archery, guided canoeiing and walking trips, gorge walking, mountain bike hire, abseiling and sea kyaking - just to name a few. They also offer a whole range of group and corporate activities. Perfect for this time of year when there are less visitors to the area.