One of the benefits of winter here in Scotland is that there’s no need to get up early to witness a spectacular sunrise. Ballat Smithy Cottage faces due south, overlooking the Campsie Fells, and at this time of year the sun doesn’t peek over the top of the escarpment until just before 9am. It stays low as it creeps across the open space of the Blane Valley before sinking behind the Kilpatrick Hills at 3.45pm. It’s above the horizon for a mere 7 hours.

Winter solstice sunset near Ballat Smithy Cottage cottage accommodation Loch Lomond

When the winter solstice arrives on the 22nd December, heralding the gradual lengthening of the daylight hours, there’s a sense of excitement as we begin to look forward to the coming seasons, however the solstice is also a good time to embrace a time of year which, perhaps because of its darkness, offers a chance to rest, regroup and enjoy warmth, shelter and companionship.

Our winter visitors can look forward to a welcoming refuge, perhaps closing the curtains against the dark after enjoying the precious hours of daylight walking or cycling, or spending a stormy day indoors, curled up on the sofa with a book or a film. There’s something special about being inside, warm and cosy, looking out at wild weather – but it feels good also to be inside, warm and cosy, and to say ‘We were out in that!’.

On calmer days, there’s still plenty to do during a winter stay at Ballat Smithy Cottage. A cruise on Loch Katrine is a lovely way to experience the Trossachs in their winter splendour, and an outing on horseback with Loch Lomond Pony Trekking will create memories to treasure. There’s no need to venture far to find adventure!

So while we look forward to a new year, and to welcoming summer guests, it’s also a pleasure to provide a cosy base for a winter break. Come and stay!