October holidays, be they October half term, a well deserved weekend break, or a sneaky week away whilst the rest of the world is at work or school, are the perfect time for a little R&R. September can often seem long as we shrug off the summer routine and get firmly back on the treadmill, yet Christmas is still a long way off and the run up period that seems to come earlier each year can be fairly frenetic.
So, come mid October we are all ready for an autumn break. Something where we can slow down the pace a little and enjoy all the little things that autumn has to offer before heading into winter proper. Falling leaves, the need to wear a coat, and the bustle of nature preparing for winter are all universal pleasures. A mug of soup after a brisk walk in the mountains is something that not many of us experience everyday but will bring pleasurable memories that can last a lifetime.
So what our are top tips for October holidays in Loch Lomond?
Prepare for the weather
Not only is the weather in Scotland fairly temperamental to say the least, but the Loch Lomond weather in particular has a mind and a climate all of its own. This changeability is something to be embraced. Definitely a plus point. Cloaked in rain, the loch will boil and the mountains brood; swift moving skies bring about a peek of sun in no more than a heartbeat and the water sparkles once more with joy. It is like watching time lapse photography in real life. After all, weather conditions are only an issue when you are not prepared.
The weather can change so rapidly across Loch Lomond that you need to be prepared on a minute to minute basis, so that means outside as well as in. Not simply a case of ‘what shall I wear today’, but more a case of ‘what won’t I wear today’. Bring the lot, and bring it in handy sizes for easy portability; a small rucksack or haversack is a must when heading out for the day. Sun cream, extra layers, waterproofs, a hat…you get the idea. And clothing? Layers are key for this season. One thing that you probably won’t need is insect repellent or bite cream. October holidays in Loch Lomond are mercifully midge free.
The weather is one of the many things that makes Loch Lomond and the rest of the world so glorious. Each thing will bring something new, highlight something different to see. A lazy day holed up the lodge with a book or a rarely played boardgame whilst the rain clatters against the windows is as much a part of a Scottish holiday as shortbread or whisky. The mountains are far more likely to give up their secrets in the rain and you will discover a sense of smell that you didn’t know existed.
Go self catering
Self catering will give you more space and more freedom than any other holiday option you can dream up. We all love to go on holiday, but the need for home is strong. A home from home may seem like a cliche, but for most of us it is actually the best way to get everything that we need from a holiday. You never know what you might come across on holiday and whilst one day may demand a fish supper, the next may call for a dinner of spoils from a local farmers market and then an evening down the pub. Our own lodges at Ardlui Retreat boast a Finnish BBQ hut that makes outdoor cooking a truly unique experience all year round.
Leave plenty of time for relaxation
An itinerary is one thing, and will certainly make sure that you pack as much into your October holiday as you can, but getting home exhausted and in need of another break kind of defeats the object. With a lodge holiday you have all the home comforts that you need but without the rest of life that makes demands on your time. Get out and about, explore Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (which granted is very relaxing in itself), but don’t pack so much in that you can’t just enjoy doing nothing. Life rushes by far too quickly, and we increasingly fill our time with aspirational pursuits and ticking things off the bucket list. Why not spend a day staring at the lull of the water or doing nothing but feeling the pull of the mountains. Wish you could actually just lie down on the couch and read for a week; go for it. Whilst the go getters go do something active, have a soak in the lochside hot tub and switch off your restless brain.
Get close to nature
Loch Lomond stands testament to the untrammeled beauty of the natural world. Ancient glens, majestic mountains, and miles and miles of woodlands all teeming with life. October is one of the best times to see nature close up and personal as the flora and fauna move into the next cycle of life and prepare for the coming winter. Squirrels are squirreling, stags are rutting, and nuts and berries are bursting out in all their technicolour glory. Autumn in Scotland is a vibrant time and is one of the best times to visit.
Nothing kills a holiday like military precision. The true joys of Scotland, indeed anywhere, are often likely to be found off the beaten track. Stop at a farm that sells eggs or visit a local potter on the way to that heritage site you have planned to see. When you are at a crossroads, go the opposite way to the one you planned and see where it takes you. You may get lost, you may reach a dead end, or you may come across something truly truly special.
We hope that our tips for enjoying the October holidays in Loch Lomond have given you something useful to take away or perhaps even inspired you to come and visit Loch Lomond for yourself. Whatever you do, and wherever you go; have a happy holiday.