Loch Lomond, By Seaplane
I was nervous about how he’d react. He spent years cruising in and out of the now defunct submarine port, scanning every hill, valley and vessel through the lens of a periscope. Every now and then he would reminisce about hoards of submariners and locals queueing for the newspaper-wrapped perfection of Anselmo’s fish and chips and the short walk across the street to the Victoria bar for a perfect pint to accompany it. His glory days as a young submariner in Dunoon, Scotland…I wanted him to see it all again.
All Aboard the… Seaplane?
The flight was a surprise and an iffy surprise at that. The weather was typically Scottish….gloriously sunny one minute, torrential rain paired with ominous clouds the next. Seaplane flights are weather dependent and I called Loch Lomond Seaplanes every few hours to make sure the flight was a go. It was and we arrived at Cameron House Hotel in time to see an incoming flight carve perfect sea-spray tracks in the water. The Mister looked pleased and I’m pretty sure I saw a little giddy, boyhood excitement when he figured out what I planned.
I sized up the pilot as he gave us an enthusiastic “Don’t worry, but just in case” speech while his co-pilot filled the plane fuel tanks using something that looked like a garden hose. I did a little deep breathing and distracted myself by taking pictures of the double rainbow that appeared over Pilot Dave’s shoulder (I WAS paying attention, I really was). We loaded into the plane and took our seats just as Pilot Dave shut the doors and told us not to worry if we see the “low fuel light start to flash on the console.” I immediately had to pee. Luckily, I had fortified myself with a large glass of lunchtime wine, resisted testing out the “how to exit the plane in case of an emergency” protocol and laughed (weakly) along with everyone else.
Are we having fun yet?
Everyone was buckled in with headphones on, ready to go. The low engine hum gave way to a loud roar and, within minutes, we were “driving” across Loch Lomond with the bright blue and white pontoons spraying arcs of water beside the plane. One final light bump and we were airborne. A few turbulent moments, some reassurance from Pilot Dave and a hard bank to the left…
and there was this…
and this. I had my camera up against the window, but the rain dribbles and vibration were too much for my limited photography skills. I stared down at the village swirling around the hillside, the mountains that alternated between being cloud-smothered and bathed in a late afternoon glow. The playmobil sheep and cows paraded through the fields . Tiny matchbox cars wound slowly along the country roads. I could see…so. many. things.
We flew over the hidden hulls of British submarines in Faslane, over the clearly memorable town of Dunoon and across to the Isles of Bute and Arran.
We watched the ferries cross back and forth through the tide lines sweeping across the Firth of Clyde before flying over 12th century Rothesay Castle, with its intact drawbridge and moat. Pilot Dave banked the plane one final time as we lined up our approach over Loch Lomond. Our 45 airborne minutes were over. A short run over the water into the black clouds of an oncoming storm, and we were home.
Things to Know About Loch Lomond and Seaplanes
I tried to film part of our flight, but it really didn’t turn out well. Sit back and enjoy this 15 minutes video of a flight from Loch Lomond over the Trossachs. My favorite part is ….well, all of it, but especially from minute four on..
Loch Lomond Seaplanes fly out of the Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond and Glasgow. They have different routes on different days, all of which are weather dependent. Check here for details.
Pilot Dave really made our flight special. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the area and shared stories about and flew over the beaches used for amphibious landing practice in WWII, told us about the midget-submarine training area near Isle of Mull and the legends and history of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. What a fabulous guy.
This was the only time I’ve truly enjoyed flying! It was such a different experience. Have you flown in a seaplane? Where?
subscribe for email notifications