Steep-sided mountains drop into the steely waters of Loch Lomond, Britain's largest lake, in Scotland's western Highlands, a region of wild, untouched scenery and little villages.
Along the western shore of the loch is a dedicated cycle path that runs between the road and the water and offers views over the lake and the surrounding hillsides. It's a gentle, level path with plenty of lookouts and picnic spots, ideal for leisurely cycling and a visit to the pretty village of Luss and convenient for a looped trip when paired with a return trip by waterbus.
This half-day activity can be undertaken independently and involves cycling the 13 km (8 miles) from Tarbet to Luss along the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path then taking the boat (waterbus) back to Tarbet.
The looped trip with the return journey by water offers the chance to see the lake and the mountains from many different perspectives from both the shore and the water.
Pick up your bikes in the little town of Tarbet on the western shore of Loch Lomond, which is surrounded by the mountains of the Arrochar Alps and situated on a strip of land separating Loch Lomond from Loch Long. The valley between them was once used as a portage route by Vikings who carried their longboats from the nearby sea loch to plunder along the shores of Loch Lomond.
Tarbet has been a popular visitor destination since Victorian times with pleasure cruisers taking visitors out onto the loch and hikers and cyclists making their way into the hills. The cycle route along the lake shore is a far more leisurely one with gentle terrain and outstanding views.
There are several small villages along the way, where you can stop for a drink or some refreshments (not included) before reaching Luss, a pretty village of attractive cottages, teahouses, cafés and art or souvenir shops. There is also a Clan Museum in a 17th-century crofthouse which tells the story of the local Highland clans throughout history.
You then take the 4:15pm waterbus back to Tarbet, heading out into the heart of the lake for sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
En route make a short stop at Rowardennan on the eastern lakeshore allowing you to enjoy the scenery on either side of the lake at close quarters. It's a relaxing journey, taking around half an hour to cruise from Luss to Rowardennan and then 45 minutes more back across to the western shore at Tarbet.