To the Trossachs!


We left Penrith after breakfast and headed across the border and into Scotland.  Bit of a misty, damp day, but not cold.  Just looking around us we can see that this part of Scotland has had a lot more rain and probably lower temperatures than further south in England.  It’s sooo green.  So many shades of green.  After the dryness of the south, it looks even greener probably than it would normally.

As we approached Callander, we got off the main road and detoured round the back lanes and a pass to Loch Katrine, to Trossachs Pier.  The loch is very beautiful and right in the heart of the national park and “Rob Roy” country.  There’s a lot of history around it, and it supplies the water to the city of Glasgow.  Famously there is a steamer ship, the Sir Walter Scott, that provides pleasure trips.  The steamer is a lovely elegant boat that is over 100 years old.  Anyway, we had a rather expensive cup of tea in the café and then embarked on a 60 minute cruise which was just lovely.

The steamer is so quiet, very little engine noise at all and we just cruised up the loch, admiring the beautiful scenery.  Very undeveloped except for a couple of isolated mansions and small cottages dotting the edges.  No other boats at all.  Apparently there is a lot of wildlife although we didn’t see any.  The weather brightened a bit and at least was dry.  Really good trip.  They came around offering coffee with whisky or chocolate with brandy.  I wished I’d had one.

When we returned we headed off again towards Callander, past two or three other lochs.  The Trossachs are certainly very scenic.  Callander is a bustling little place, very picturesque.  I’ve been here about 35 years ago but don’t remember much about it other than the golf course and a memorable dinner that involved stilton cheese!

Our hotel is right on Main Street and an upmarket inn.  Our room isn’t huge by any means but comfortable and seems quiet enough.

After a rest we walked down Main Street to our dinner reservation which was at Callander Orchards, the number one rated restaurant in Callander.  It’s in a lovely old house which also does b&b.  Welcoming staff.  A dedicated chef team using local products.  The food was very good.  If it hadn’t been for our meal last night in Penrith we would probably have raved about it.  But it wasn’t as good as last night although it was about the same price.

We both went straight for mains again.  I had a stilton soufflé served on a bed of rosti with creamed leeks and a selection of vegetables.  The soufflé and the rosti were divine as were the creamed leeks.  The vegetables were boring old boiled veg…  The bread was very nice: home made leek and parmesan crusty loaf.  Bob had Pork medallions in a pearl barley and apple sauce with haggis croutons, same veg.  Everything except the veg was fabulous.  We had a bottle of Australian cab sauv which was very nice.  Bob had a pudding: Scottish warm summer pudding with honey compote and vanilla ice cream.  It was lovely but quite heavy on cinnamon that we weren’t expecting.  I had the cheese plate with chutney and home made oat cakes which I shared with Bob.  It was nice, especially the oat cakes but a couple of the cheeses were a bit flavourless and one was smoked which I personally very much dislike.  So.… yes… very good…. but not faultless by a long chalk.  There were lots of French people in there.  In fact, Callander is full of French people.  I know not why but it is popular with them.

The drizzle had set in again by the time we left and we scurried back to our hotel for coffee and to catch up on Unforgotten.  More exploring tomorrow.