Places to visit
There are many great days out from here. Trips to places like Inveraray (with its 18th Century jail and courthouse) and Auchendrain, a highland village museum where you can see how people lived centuries ago.
On the way to or from Inveraray there is the excellent Loch Fyne Fisheries shop and restaurant supplying fantastic fresh seafood.
Another good trip is to drive to Colintraive (near the pretty village of Tighnabruich) and take the ferry across to the Isle of Bute. You can then explore Bute from north to south, see the ancient castle in the island capital Rothesay or visit the beautifully preserved Mount Stewart Castle (a magnificent house) on the south end of the island before taking the ferry across to Wemyss Bay on the mainland and driving back to Appletree Cottage.
Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond is worth a visit. It is a neatly laid out former estate village of cottages with a small pier. Boats go from Luss on pleasure cruises around the loch.
Pleasure cruises on Loch Lomond also go from Balloch and Balmaha. At Balmaha you can also catch a ferry to Inchcailloch, an uninhabited island nature reserve on Loch Lomond - a favourite of ours. If you're feeling fit you can carry on past Balmaha and go up to Rowardennan where you can climb Ben Lomond (4000ft) for fantastic views. But when I do this I sometimes find my legs are a bit wobbly the next day!
A day out in Oban is good too - more of a town than a village but with a couple of excellent fresh fish shacks on the pier. On the way to Oban you might want to stop off at Taynuilt and see the ancient Bonawe iron furnace (founded in 1753) where they made pig iron and cannon balls. The furnace is now preserved and in a beautiful setting. You can take the train from Helensburgh to Oban along the West Highland Line, one of the most beautiful railway lines in the world.
Another good trip we did recently was to drive up to Loch Katrine and take the boat to the far end of the loch to the tiny hamlet of Stronachlacher. We took our bikes with us and cycled back along the private road (virtually traffic free) that follows the shore of the loch back to where we started. Another fun thing to do is to drive to Gourock (about 40 mins) and take the car ferry across to Dunoon a nice little village on the Clyde estuary.
If you turn left when you get off the ferry you can get to Loch Striven which feels surprisingly remote. We saw some herring gulls there giving a spectacular diving display. Also a huge number of pheasants perched on the side of the road watching us! Someone must be breeding them there.
If you turn right at the Dunoon ferry you can take one of a couple of routes - all very pretty - through little villages - back to Tarbert on Loch Lomond and then back to Appletree Cottage.
Not a coastal village I know, but if it is raining there are a some good options - the Kelvingrove Museum and the Transport museum in Glasgow (40 mins drive) are a good option and are free. Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument (also by Stirling) are good wet weather cover. There's lots more. When you come we can lend you some large scale maps of the area so you can find your way about and view points of interest etc.
About Appletree Cottage and its immediate surroundings
Appletree Cottage is on the grounds of an old farm We built Appletree last year 2016 on the former site of an ancient barn which had been demolished before we bought the (semi derelict) Shandon Farm in 2013.
The farm itself we have found recently on a map dated 1746!
At time of writing (May 2017) Google Maps show Appletree Cottage nearly completed whilst Google Street View is still showing the old barn which the cottage replaced
Although there are a couple of houses nearby Appletree Cottage is not overlooked. You are not overlooked by the farmhouse either - there is a line of old stone barns between us.
The cottage looks out across open countryside which is home to some sheep, some cattle and wildlife. Recent visitors in April spotted 30 species of bird from the cottage. A roe deer and her foals have recently been seen wandering through the grounds and you may spot a large pheasant or two.
The cottage grounds extend to the edge of the patio on one side with lawn on two other sides. A new hedge is planted on the fourth side.
The farm and the cottage are on a quiet back road The road forms part of two leisure routes - Cycle Route 7 - a long and circuitous route which runs from Sunderland in England to Inverness in north Scotland - John Muir Way path which celebrates the man who founded the national park movement in the US. It runs from his home town Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland to Helensburgh in the west. So the traffic on our road consists of very occasional farm traffic, even more occasional groups of cyclists and walkers.
There is a cycle hire shop in Drymen 1.5 miles away if cycling takes your fancy. If the mood takes you there is a local village pub in Croftamie (12-15 minutes walk) which has outside seating for sunny days. There are other good pubs / restaurants within easy driving distance, and a local taxi firm if you want to leave the car.
There are also good walks from the cottage and the scenery is fantastic.
We hope the above gives you an idea of what to expect.
We look forward to meeting and welcoming you and your family soon
Murray and Alli
Group of Ornithologists spot thirty species whilst staying at Appletree Cottage
Slightly further afield is Inversnaid on the remote eastern shore of Loch Lomond and home to some black grouse and golden eagles.
The spotting records our April visitors are detailed below...
Birds Spotted from Appletree Cottage 21-25 April 2017
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Birds spotted at nearby wildlife sanctuaries (in addition to those already spotted at Appletree Cottage). 21-25 April 2017