For all they say about British coffee, the coffee at Sp!tf!re Espresso was pretty good. Perhaps not quite grandpa Fensom standard, but provided just the kick we needed. The collection of Airfix Spitfire models was a nice touch and made Liam feel like a kid again.
Full of coffee and hot chocolate we had a spring in our step. It was a 45-minute drive northwest to Balloch Castle and Country Park.
It was an enormous park with lawns that even Tompat would be proud of. The paths were lined with beautiful tall trees leading to Balloch Castle. Eloise was still buzzing from the sips of hot chocolate and decided she would take the pram from here.
Balloch Castle is an early 19th-century country house situated at the southern tip of Loch Lomond, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Balloch was a property of the Lennox family from the 11th century, and the old castle was built in the 13th century. In the 19th century the estate was purchased by John Buchanan of Ardoch, who demolished the ruins of the old castle and erected the present building. The Tudor Gothic architecture is the work of Robert Lugar. In 1915 Balloch was bought by Glasgow City Corporation, and has been leased by West Dunbartonshire Council since 1975. The estate was designated as a country park in 1980, and since 2002 has been part of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
There was plenty of space for some frisbee although it did not last long with Eloise running off with the disk.
A few slaps in the face later and we had made it back to the car.
It was then time to take Lachie to see his first Loch, Loch Lomond. After a short drive we arrived at the friendly named ‘Duck Bay’.
Loch Lomond (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Laomainn) is a freshwater Scottish loch which crosses the Highland Boundary Fault, often considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. Loch Lomond is 36.4 kilometres (22.6 mi) long and between 1 and 8 kilometres (0.62–4.97 mi) wide, with a surface area of 71 km2 (27.5 sq mi). It is the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area
Sophie Fun Fact (unverified): “50% of Scotland is within an hours drive to Loch Lomond”
It was a cracking day, and we could not resist a dip in the loch, especially after promising Eloise a swim. The water was delightful and Eloise was having the time of her life. We will have to sort out swimming lessons soon.
After half an hour of paddling it was rock collecting time for uncle Ben Kochy.
Meanwhile, the man of the moment, Lachie, was happy in his natural habitat feeling fully zen.
After finally convincing Eloise to change out of her bathers it was time for lunch. We were a lucky walk-in at the Cawley. It is not always straightforward finding somewhere for the four of us which includes a high chair and has room for the mother of all double prams. The panoramic windows provided a stunning view over the loch. There was plenty of action to see: swimmers, swans, paddle boarders, jet skis, boats and seaplanes. Ironically I think we only saw one duck, although I guess it is called ‘Duck (singular) Bay’. The food was just as good as the view, especially the signature slow-cooked beef and sausage pie. It was so tasty Eloise wouldn’t even touch Liam’s hot chips.
After lunch we quickly checked out the fun sized wooden jetty.
Both the kids were ready for a nap so it was time for another drive. We passed through Paisley on the Southside before arriving at Silverburn shopping complex to pick up Soph’s new rain jacket, we are sure you will see a lot of it to come.
It was then back to the apartment for some tummy time.
We had Eloise’s favourite for dinner, “finger pasta”. After an initial thought that pasta is smaller in the UK, the sad reality hit, Eloise is growing up.
After a week to find our feet in Glasgow and then a week in isolation, Liam is starting work tomorrow. We will try and provide at least a weekly update including our weekend escapades. Although, there is usually plenty of humour involved with trying to stop Lachie and Ellie from terrorising the neighbourhood.