More Local Activities

We write to you from Gavinburn Cottages, five fantastic self-catering country cottages, set high in the Kilpatrick Hills. They all enjoy stunning views of the River Clyde and are only ten minutes from Glasgow and Loch Lomond. We are just approaching the end of our busy summer season and thought we would share some of our guests feedback and ideas of what to do in the area.

Top of the list for everyone seems to be feeding our resident highland cows before setting off for a walk from the cottages to nearby Loch Humphrey. The cottages sit right on the main walking trail for the Kilpatrick Hills and from here you can enjoy a 45 minute walk to the Loch at the top. The tranquillity of the Loch and wildlife on offer is not the only reward as you will also get to enjoy unbeatable views of the Clyde and Glasgow as you walk. There are also paths into the woods behind the cottages if you want to spot even more wildlife.

Our guests have also been raving about what the city of Glasgow can offer. From some of the finest museums to unrivalled shops, Glasgow offers endless opportunities for visitors. The excellent and cosmopolitan restaurants and bars are also worthy of note and makes Glasgow one of the top nightlife destinations in Britain. Kilpatrick Station which is under a mile from the cottages offers you hassle free travel to the city centre, every half hour.

On sunnier days, all guests recommend a visit to Loch Lomond, one of Scotlands most beautiful locations. There’s lots of small picturesque villages around the Loch, where you can relax and dine whilst taking in the breath-taking scenery. Special mention must go to Ben Lomond, one of the highest mountains in the area and if you climb to the top, you will find it hard to find a better vista in Britain. For those short on time, a climb up nearby Conic Hill is equally rewarding. Loch Lomond also boasts a host of water sport activities and guided cruises, enabling guests to explore the area, right on the famous water.

Lomond Shores at Balloch on the banks of the Loch and very near to Gavinburn Cottages, offers a range of water sports activities coupled with excellent shopping, dining and on land activities, including bike hire, crazy golf, aquarium and tree top trail. Another local attraction is of course the Auchentoshan Whisky Distillery. Only five minutes’ drive from the cottages. Guided tours are on offer every day at various intervals, where you learn all about the water of life and more importantly get to sample this highly renowned whisky. The Glengoyne Distillery is also close by and involves a twenty five minute car journey over the scenic Stockiemuir Road.

Guests have also loved Blair Drummond Safari Park, with all the animals providing a great day out for all the family. Hill House at Helensburgh, for all the art and Charles Rennie Macintosh lovers. Stirling Castle, The Wallace Monument and Dumbarton Castle, letting you take in the history and step back in time. The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel, are a mixture of awe inspiring public art and Scottish engineering. A sail down the Clyde on the Waverly, the worlds oldest ocean-going paddle steamer. Golf at a number of local course, including the Cameron House courses at Loch Lomond.

After all this its little wonder our guests build up an appetite and whilst the cottages all have fully equipped new kitchens, many venture out and sample the local restaurants in Old Kilpatrick and Glasgow. The nearby town of Helensburgh, which sits on the Clyde coast, also boasts some of the finest eateries in the area, namely La Barca, Cattle and Creel, The Sugar Boat, Riverhill Courtyard, Padrones and Ardardan Farm Shop and Garden Centre. All of these restaurants sit close to the waters edge and after your meal you can enjoy a lovely walk along the promenade and grab an ice cream at Dinos!

Hopefully you can come and visit us soon. We also have lots of local recommendations included in our guest reviews on Trip Advisor if you wish to get more ideas. We are open all year round and generally accept one well behaved dog per cottage.

Thank you for taking time to read,
Alex & Leigh-Anne Fleming

Additional Activities

We write our latest news item in a much appreciated heatwave, with Glasgow and Loch Lomond hotter than Ibiza and Los Angeles! The Kilpatrick Hills are bathed in sunshine and our self-catering guests are really making the most of the Scottish weather. You can see how lovely everything looks in the sunshine in these photos and it shows the new roof and windows on the Auchentoshan, Glengoyne and Glenmorangie cottages:

IMG_20160509_1140166

Our news this month highlights three different activities for our guests. Firstly, Gavinburn Cottages guests can now enjoy the services of guided fishing tours of Loch Lomond with “The Lomond Angler”, John Bell. John supply’s the boats, permits, tackle, lifejackets, tuition and a wealth of local knowledge. You can have a stunning tour of Loch Lomond and catch dinner at the same time. It’s an ideal day out for novices or experienced fishers alike. Fishing can also be arranged at other local fishing spots including our own Loch Humphrey. Don’t forget our self-catering cottages at Gavinburn are only 15 minutes from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. There is an abundance of trout and salmon in Loch Lomond and its feeding estuaries and whilst you fish you can watch heron and osprey fish alongside you!

Another great day out for an exciting activity in West Dunbartonshire is at Loch Lomond Shooting School. This clay pigeon centre is located only 3 minutes from Loch Lomond and very close to the picturesque village of Luss. Luss is famous for its beauty, ice cream and it’s where they filmed the old Scottish TV series, Take the High Road!

Loch Lomond Shooting School offer full tuition, safety briefing and guns to any guests over 12 years old. All guests will be accompanied by a highly trained tutor who will have you shooting straight in no time! They have various clay traps which mimic the flight of woodcocks, pheasants, partridge, pigeons and grouse and can test all levels of hotshots! They even have one trap which simulates the run of a wild rabbit. A trip to Loch Lomond Shooting School caters for everyone, even if you just want to spend an hour or a whole day and they can take large groups. Don’t worry if you have never shot before as it’s a very easy sport to pick-up and all the various traps can be set at different speeds and angles. Another bonus at Loch Lomond Shooting School is the location. Its stunning and guests are ferried by Land Rover to a stunning woodland setting, high in the hills, where guests can enjoy views over Loch Lomond and surrounding Dunbartonshire. Archery and air rifle target shooting are also on offer.

To cap it all we have various groups available to Gavinburn guests offering guided walks. One of the best is Walk Wild Scotland. They offer various walking tours of the local area and these can be tailored to your needs or ability. The Loch Lomond package is particularly highly rated by guests at Gavinburn. Of course you have the trails in the Kilpatrick Hills which is now part of the John Muir Way. Our country cottages are located high in the Kilpatrick Hills, which explains the stunning views over Glasgow and The River Clyde and the trails are right on your doorstep. Our favourite is the one that takes you even higher into the hills and takes you to Loch Humphrey and Big Duncolm. Alternatively you can take the paths through the native woodlands behind Gavinburn Cottages and see a huge range of wildlife.

IMG_20160509_1141291

Rory and his mum, Toffee


IMG_20160509_1144097

Merida


Speaking of wildlife, we leave you with a pictures of Rory, our highland calf and his mum, Toffee and of course Merida, who seems to be growing her fringe! As you can see Rory is growing up fast and is currently enjoying sunbathing behind the cottages!

Autumn News

It’s now October and Gavinburn Cottages are today hotter than Barcelona! What a great Indian summer we have had and it’s great to see our guests eating al fresco on the patios at the cottages in autumn. Our overseas visitors have been amazed this month at how sunny it has been and they have had no need for their winter jackets that they had packed. It’s good to dispel some myths about the Scottish climate!

We have had another new Highland Calf born at Gavinburn. He’s called Rory (see photos) and he’s in the field directly in front of the cottages with his mum and aunties, although he will be going his holidays soon to the field at Auchentoshan Whisky Distillery. Don’t worry if you miss him as the distillery is only a mile from us, so you can go and visit him and have a tour and a dram or two! His extended family will still be staying at Gavinburn.
We thought we would make this news post all about our super location and throw in a few pictures to whet your appetite. As many of you will know we are only 10 miles from both Loch Lomond and Glasgow city centre. We are located high in the picturesque Kilpatrick Hills, which provides us with some stunning views of the River Clyde, Glasgow and the Erskine Bridge, which you will see in our photos below. These and more photos can be found on our “Gallery” page.

The Kilpatrick Hills of course provide a stunning backdrop to the cottages and are a walkers or cyclists paradise. From your front door you can enjoy various walks which take you higher into the hills and provide you with even more spectacular views of the ships sailing up and down the River Clyde.

The obvious one is following the track, directly behind the cottages, straight up to the tranquil Loch Humphrey. This should take around 45 minutes, once you’ve stopped half way for photographs! Our favourite is following the track until you find a gate on your right which takes you into the woods that span the entire face of the Kilpatrick Hills and are right behind Gavinburn Cottages. Here you will find tracks which were built by Lord Blantyre in the 1800s, so he could enjoy the scenery from his horse and trap and look across to his stately home at Mar Hall. Use these paths to explore the woods and spot the wildlife, and as you walk higher the views will change with each step.

You will see down the River Clyde, past Dumbarton Rock, towards Greenock, Gourock and Helensburgh and up the Clyde towards the shipyards and the skyline of Glasgow. You will be looking down on the Erskine Bridge and directly across the river is Erskine, the Mar Hall, Ingliston Country Club at Bishopton and the rich farmland of Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire.

Or you can just relax at Gavinburn and take in the views from the sun terrace!

Summer Fun

Summer view at Gavinburn

We are now well through the summer of 2015 at Gavinburn Cottages and whilst it’s not been as sunny as last year, we have had some sunny days, as the photo proves! Our self catering guests haven’t complained and they have all found plenty of things to do to keep them entertained.

We have been full since May with guests from all over the globe who have been telling us of their recommendations for things to do whilst staying at Gavinburn. Most seem to favour attractions in and around Glasgow and Loch Lomond, but there are plenty of other places to visit and Edinburgh is less than an hour away by rail or car. Trip Advisor seems to be a great resource for planning things to do on your stay.

We have compiled a top ten list of attractions which have received special mention from our guests:

  1. Explore outside: Just step out the front door of your cottage and you will find hill walking paths and mountain bike trails galore, with amazing views and wildlife to discover. Make sure you walk to the top of the road and find Loch Humprhey!
  2. Loch Lomond: A real jewel in Scotland’s Crown! Stunning scenery and plenty of islands and bays to explore. Details of cruises and trips can be found online.
  3. The Transport Museum and Tall Ship: One of Scotland’s newest museums, where you can experience all things to do with transport through the ages.  It’s only a 15 minute drive away at Glasgow’s Clydeside.
  4. Shopping: Glasgow has fast become one of Britain’s best destinations for retail therapy. From designer labels to quirky souvenirs, you will find what you’re looking for and its only ten miles away. Take the car or hop on the train at Kilpatrick Station at the bottom of our road.
  5. Auchentoshan Distillery: Our local whisky distillery is only five minutes away. It boasts a great gift shop and offers guided tours, where you can indulge in a dram or two!
  6. Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery: A stunning building in Glasgow where you will find exhibits from all over the world. A great day out, especially if the weather isn’t so good.
  7. Braehead: This shopping and entertainment arena can be found on the M8 near Glasgow. Its home to high street stores, restaurants, cinema and Xscape, an activity and snow centre for adults and kids.
  8. Lomond Shores: This visitor attraction can be found at Balloch, on the banks of Loch Lomond. There are shops (including Jenners), restaurants and activities to be found and its home to the Loch Lomond Sea Life Aquarium.
  9. Science Centre: Located on the banks of the Clyde at Glasgow, near Finnieston Quay and not far from the transport museum. It offers an exciting and educational day out for all the family. You will also get amazing views if you go up the tower or visit the nearby Finnieston Crane.
  10. Blair Drummond Safari Park: This Park is home to hundreds of animals from around the globe, including tigers and elephants. It allows visitors to drive through various enclosures, offering them the chance to see up close various animals and learn more about them. It is a 50 minute drive away on the road to Stirling, where the castle and Wallace Monument are also well worth a visit.

These are obviously just a small selection of things to do whilst you stay at our holiday cottages. We should also recommend a trip on the Waverley, the world’s oldest ocean going paddle steamer. It takes regular day trips down the Clyde, leaving from Glasgow and stopping at various islands.

Ingliston Country Club is also worthy of note. It’s an equestrian centre with an excellent restaurant where you can watch horses show jump whilst you tuck into your dinner. There’s also a spa and you can book horse riding lessons for the whole family.

For the more adventurous you can even book a 160ft bungee jump from the famous Titan Crane at Clydebank! An amazing adrenaline rush and simply breath-taking. I should know as we have a policy of trying all attractions before we recommend them. Not the best policy we have, as it was the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done!

The Titan Crane is all that remains of the famous John Brown Shipyard on the Clyde which built ocean going liners and warships including HMS Hood, RMS Lusitania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and the QE2. It is only 15 minutes from the cottages and is now open as a visitor’s centre, where you can get a lift right to the top. The bungee jump is not compulsory!

Don’t forget that Clydebank also has a 10 screen cinema and indoor go-karting and laser quest.

I hope that this has whetted your appetite for a stay at Gavinburn Self-Catering Cottages!

A Wee Calf at Gavinburn

A Wee Calf

(For our non-scottish readers, this is a play on our words to suggest ‘a week off at Gavinburn’).

The last few guests we have had staying have all arrived after recommendations from their friends or family. This is the best way our business can grow and it’s great, after less than three years of trading, we are seeing many of our guests returning two or three times a year. If you’ve stayed, please spread the word and you can earn yourself a discount on your next self-catering visit!

August will see the two year anniversary of opening our two new cottages, which took us up to five cottages on site. This has allowed us to accommodate slightly larger groups, like wedding parties but still retain the peaceful and relaxing nature of Gavinburn. We even had a bridal party drop by between the church and reception venue just to take their official wedding photos at Gavinburn and show off the view to the other guests who had to stay elsewhere. We are also finding a lot of visitors who usually stay in hotels are favouring us, as staying in a self-catering cottage offers them far more space and freedom. They are also still near Glasgow city centre but can escape to the countryside on their doorstep.

We are also learning to master the power of social media through our facebook and twitter pages. It’s a great way for our guests to find out what’s going on at Gavinburn and to catch some special offers, so please like us on facebook or follow us on twitter.

In the local village of Old Kilpatrick we are pleased to welcome a new café. It’s called the Glen Café and can be found on Dumbarton Road, under the Erskine Bridge. It’s ideal for grabbing a hearty fry-up Scottish breakfast or a coffee and any kind of filled roll for lunch and like the cottages it’s also got free wi-fi!

We have recently had this lovely review on trip advisor from Australian guests who stayed at Gavinburn Cottages last week. We always appreciate when guests take time to write about their stay. The first thing we do when we get into a vacated cottage is run to the visitor book and check for comments and thankfully, everything’s been highly positive and encouraging!

“Magnificent setting – relaxation superb”

We had a wonderful 10 days using Gavinburn as our base to explore south west Scotland. We had to drag ourselves away from the cottage and its extended views from our windows. Train station just 5 minutes away from where you can go to Glasgow, Edinburgh or Fort William and Mallaig. We did ferry trips to Arran, Bute, Mull and Iona plus day trips to Stirling, Troon, Loch Ness. The local hotel The Ettrick served great meals and publican and staff exceptional.

We hope to enlarge photo from our bedroom to put on our window at home – lambs frolicking, highland cattle, Clyde River, gorse in full flower, daffodils and bluebells galore. Great walking from back of cottages. Need I say we are looking forward to a return visit.

Room Tip: Each self contained cottage is exceptional

“Like Returning Home”

Fireplace with Log-burning Stove

One of our recent guests at Gavinburn (GM Macman on TripAdvisor) left us another perfect five star review:

This was my 2nd stay here – the first 10 months earlier in Spring, this visit in winter. It was as if I’d never left, as if I’d come back home to Scotland. Owners Alex and Leigh-Anne maintain the highest quality of excellence here and I found this to be as true on my second visit as on my first.

I stayed again in the smallest of the 5 cottages, the single bedroom Glenmorangie. All the cottages are completely and fully equipped. But what sells this place is the view – set in the Old Kilpatrick Hills above the River Clyde – it is incomparable.

Using Gavinburn as a base I’ve easily visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Bute, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and Ayrshire. It’s well situated for exploring but offers such a great retreat away from it all if you want to just chill in the beauty of Scotland. I had friends from Glasgow visit this time and even they were blown away by the views. There is no place in Scotland I would rather stay!

See the review on TripAdvisor here.

Kilpatrick Hills now part of the John Muir Way

John Muir

2015 sees the Kilpatrick Hills becoming part of the John Muir Way.

The John Muir Way is a 215-kilometre (130 mi) continuous long distance route which runs between Helensburgh and Dunbar. It is named in honour of the Scottish 19th-century conservationist John Muir, who was born at Dunbar, East Lothian, in 1838 and became a founder of America’s national park system. It’s great to have a new trail nearby which rivals the West Highland Way.

The Cottages set in the foreground of the Kilpatrick Hills

The Cottages set in the foreground of the Kilpatrick Hills

There are of course the trails on your doorstep which take you all over the Kilpatrick Hills. Our favourite is the one up to Loch Humphrey, where the views halfway there will blow you away.

Whilst on this walk, look out for the gate into the woods, where you can follow track which snakes through the wood up to the plateau and marvel at the wildlife. We will also see more mountain bike trails being opened up in the hills and we have secure bike storage and washing areas for your muddy bikes, boots and children!

Spring Watch

View from Gavinburn at Night

We’re enjoying a fantastic start to Spring here at Gavinburn Cottages. The sun’s been shining and it’s been unseasonably mild. This comes after a snowy winter where the log store has been stocked up regularly and the younger guests (and the older ones!) have managed to enjoy some sledging. Our self-catering guests this week were also able to witness the solar eclipse and there was a couple of nights where they were able to see the stunning Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

We were also delighted to hear that the Kilpatrick Hills have now been included in the John Muir Way, thanks to a new stretch of walking path which is to be created. We must also congratulate our friends at La Barca, Helensburgh who have once again been shortlisted as finalists in Scotland’s Favourite Mediterranean Restaurant of the Year Awards. They won it last year and you can find more details about them on our local links page.

Speaking of our Local Links page, we can announce that Little’s Chauffeur Drive company are now offering guided tours of any part of Scotland for Gavinburn Cottages guests at a reduced rate. This is ideal if you do not know the area and want to be driven around in luxury and shown the sights, be it castles and lochs or museums and shops. Your driver will explain in interesting detail all the heritage and history, wherever you go.

Lambing will soon be in full swing and its great to see the grass growing to feed all the expectant mothers! As always you can wander around the cottages and explore the Kilpatrick Hills at your leisure and try and spot some newborn lambs. The Daffodils behind the cottages are also starting to bloom now and the frogs have been back to spawn in the pond. Shouldn’t be long before the tadpoles are swimming around!

We have a few empty weeks in April and May still available, so please get in touch if you require a cottage. Remember, we have five, from the one bedroom Glenmorangie to the four bedroom Auchentoshan and we can sleep up to 22 guests.

Winter 2014/2015

The winter’s been very busy here at Gavinburn Cottages. We’ve had full houses for the Christmas week and the New Year week. We’ve had many guests staying to take advantage of the January sales in Glasgow City Centre and some who’ve fancied a spot of hill walking in the brisk winter air at the Kilpatrick Hills. Continue reading

Summer/Autumn 2014

Land Rover Discovery supplied by Peter Vardy Ltd

Well that’s the trees changing colour and autumn is upon us. What a great summer it’s been and the driest September for decades at Gavinburn Cottages. All our self-catering guests have been marvelling at how dry and sunny it’s been. We try to tell our overseas visitors that its like this every year in Scotland!

Continue reading