We paid in full for our paddle boarding experience at Loch Lomond. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Call me a cliché but I have fallen for the new paddle boarding trend hard and it’s all thanks to our recent visit to Loch Lomond. We were meant to go paddle boarding on our last trip to Guernsey but inclement weather meant we ended up coasteering instead so I was determined that on our trip to Scotland we would find the time and location to give it a go.
Paddle boarding is seemingly everywhere, fast becoming an incredibly popular water sport. Certainly if the queue we experienced when we arrived at the Loch Lomond Leisure kiosk was anything to by, that stands. Top tip: make sure you book in advance if you want to paddle board (they have other activities available) and be aware that you can go straight to the front of the queue if you have pre-booked.
Prices start from £20 for an hour plus an additional £5 if you want to hire a wetsuit. Although the website advertises that it is a fun activity for all ages, you have to be 10 years and over. This was something we specifically checked to make sure that Eli could be involved. Half our party chose to wear the wetsuits provided and half just wore their own swimming gear. It didn’t seem to make a difference and everyone was given a buoyancy aid.
You are given some basic safety instructions and guidance and then pretty much left to it. Once you’ve pushed off from the shores of Luss Pier your time is your own…until the end of your session of course! We had booked for 2 hours as the four adults in the group had never paddle boarded before and I would say if you are new to the sport then it’s definitely worth doing as it takes a while to acclimatise to balancing, navigating…basically just not falling off into the water every time you attempt to stand up.
We honestly could not have chosen a better day weather-wise or a more stunning location. Loch Lomond is extremely popular for being a beauty spot and it didn’t disappoint. One of the real bonuses was the fact that once you were out on the water it felt as though you were entirely alone. For the most part. Even if you never managed to stand up…just gliding along with the gorgeous surroundings ought to tick some boxes.
There is very little limit to where you can go, just as long as you make sure you are back in time for the end of your slot to avoid being charged a further hour. There is a small island a short distance from the Pier and this is where we headed. For mostly first-timers it was just far enough to keep us happy and feel like an adventure without being too far away from shore.
In terms of Loch Lomond itself, the beach and the area were heaving. Top tip: go early in the morning if you are visiting in peak season. We took the first slot and the car park was basically empty when we arrived but the queues were round the corner by the time we were heading back. We didn’t even attempt to find anywhere for lunch as it was choc-a-bloc with people everywhere you looked.
Like I said, once you were out on the water it was fairly peaceful. My only criticism would be that there are other water sports taking place in the same area…including boat tours and jet skis. Twice one of the kids was nearly knocked off by a racing jet ski not giving sufficient space and I found myself caught between a tour boat and an inability to get out of the way fast enough! I think if we had been more confident to go further afield we might have done better but it is something to bear in mind.
There are changing areas in the form of horse boxes located in the car pack directly behind the beach. We were not told this and struggled to get out of our wetsuits and dry at the end of our session. It would have been extremely useful to know in advance. There were also no toilets and with most of Scotland still being in lockdown (thanks C-19) we weren’t able to find any until we came across some portaloos in another car park. Again, something to check and bear in mind ahead of your visit.
Other than that I can only say that I would highly recommend it. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip and we’ve all been bitten with the bug to want to try it again. We aren’t confident to go out and buy our own paddle boards just yet…I think it’s important from a water safety point of view to mention this…but we wouldn’t hesitate to book an experience on Loch Lomond in the future. It was truly something special.