A stunning Scottish island tour from the comfort of a seaplane.
My sister-in-law had been booked flights on a seaplane leaving from Loch Lomond, and with her partner suddenly unable to go along for the ride, she asked me to step in and hold her hand…quite literally, seeing as how she is terrified of flying. It crossed my mind to ask why she’d booked the flight in the first place, but her white face and terrified expression kept me from rubbing it in.
The seaplane is run by Loch Lomond Seaplanes and is kept overnight on the Loch, making its way to the shore at Cameron House in time for each tour. I didn’t even know where we were going to be taken when I turned up and waited on the grassy slopes for my sister-in-law to arrive.
The seaplane seated around 10 people, including the pilot, but there were just five passengers for our trip, which turned out to be around the islands. For me, that was great because there was none of the usual tousle for a window seat, although I think my companion may not have been as pleased as I was about that.
The take off was surprisingly smooth, despite the water being a little choppy, and before long we were circling the lower end of Loch Lomond, taking in the distant view of Ben Lomond to the north, and looking out towards the Clyde in the south. It was surprising to see just how close the different bodies of water, from the lochs, to the rivers, to the seas, all looked from our new perspective. Distances that would normally take us an hour to drive were suddenly closed in a matter of minutes as we headed off in an easterly direction to explore the closest islands.
We passed Arran, Rothesay and Bute, before heading over areas like Garelochhead, Arrochar and beyond. And when we circled Ben Lomond from beneath the height of the summit, frantically waving to the isolated walkers trudging up it’s barren upper slopes, we were given a real feeling of the sheer size of one Scotland’s most famous mountains.
The landing was impressive, and no more bumpy than an Easyjet flight coming in to Glasgow International (at least, the last Easyjet flight I was on anyway), and by the time we stepped off the plane and onto the floating pontoon at Cameron House, even my sister-in-law had a smile on her face.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes offer a glass of Champagne at the culmination of the flight which is a nice touch and certainly adds an element of luxury to the occasion – although I couldn’t help but think that perhaps it would have been better to offer it to all the nervous passengers prior to take off!
The tours take in various places in a certain radius, but it is also possible to book them to fly you to some of the more remote locations of Scotland rather than take the train or drive. It’s certainly a novel way to get around.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes gets a seal of approval from candidtraveller.