Bears once lived in the forests of the United Kingdom until they were hunted to extinction, the cab driver said on our way back to Glasgow airport from Loch Lomond in Scotland. Our cab was no ordinary cab – it was a plush new silver Mercedes E – class sedan which had just dropped off a wealthy holiday maker at the grandiose Cameron House hotel. The executive cab driver had opted to carry my wife and I rather than return to the city of Glasgow empty. Our incidental departure in luxurious style capped a rather splendid weekend spent attending a Scottish wedding of green kilts, great wine and far too lovely people for company.
Loch Lomond is no ordinary place. Large parts of the high altitude road back to the city is surrounded by picturesque mountain capes, deep forests with lush trees, bewitching twigs and beguiling branches. In all likelihood it is a part of the United Kingdom that remains invisible to the daily Londoner whose eyes often settle for tall glass buildings in the city, swathes of red buses on streets and quaint terraced properties in the suburbs.
Beautiful landscapes abound in Loch Lomond for the avid evening or morning walker with a breeze from winds across the loch putting a spring to their every step.
If the alluring landscape in approaching the Cameron House hotel holds a promise of splendour, the reception at the foyer amplifies this all consuming feeling such that one, at this point, giddily expects a pleasant if short stay. One would without doubt be doubly excited if your last hotel stay was a rushed job at a shoddy B&B offering as was mine.
The rooms here do not disappoint. They are spacious, light, and immaculately arranged with kingsize beds so neatly tucked and pleasantly finished tartan fabrics adorning stools and comfy chairs.
Though a stay at this hotel is by no means a cheap affair, it is indeed worth the pounds spent, in its bountiful breakfast selection or its well catered rooms amongst other offerings. Loch Lomond and places like it should be sold on more to Londoners who I daresay stand to benefit from the tranquil it provides in a full break from our daily rush and sweltering tube commutes.
In an evening spent, at one time or the other, watching a sea plane take off into the skies and land beautifully back onto the loch, I marvelled at how nature and technology could be so intertwined to great effect.
The night of the wedding brought the most splendid fireworks I have seen to date. Seen from just outside the beautiful facade of the Cameron House hotel, it was both exquisite and majestic with dazzling lights from a full spectrum of colours. I was glued on to this glorious sight as though in a trance from start to finish. And quietly I wished for the newly wedded, a life together as splendidly beautiful as the fireworks just gone.
As I left Loch Lomond in grand style I wondered of the bears which once roamed the forests beyond the loch. There was a time when the big brown beasts were the main attraction beheld by fervent animal lovers, the sage cab driver said. Those bears are long gone. In their stead, still, is nature tapped into, beautifully, by humans for the luxurious comfort of other humans and that, perhaps, I do not wholly regret.