What is there to do around Gartmore House?
For as long as I can remember the International conference has been held at Termonfeckin, just north of Drogheda. But three years ago, for the first time, the Covenanter International Holiday Conference was held at Gartmore House, Scotland. The Conference is heading back to Gartmore House in 2014.
If you are going somewhere it is always good to know something about where you are going. Thus this article will introduce you to Scotland and specifically to Scotland's first National Park - 'The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park' where Gartmore House is located.
I will give you a flavour of what the Covenanter International Holiday Conference 2014 will be like, what activities will be available in the surrounding area, and what you can do during the week or later if you decide to stay for longer in the Trossachs.
Firstly: The Gartmore House Complex. Built in 1793, Gartmore House is a beautifully restored historic building with views looking east towards Stirling and the lowlands of Scotland. For those looking for culture, Robert Burns is meant to have written and entertained in the lounge!! Apart from the Mansion House, there is the Activity Centre which houses the Dorms and Mews, and a Sports Hall. As Gartmore House is set in 75 acres of extensive grounds, one can also find ample space to walk, explore, or play games.
Just north of Gartmore House is Aberfoyle, a lovely traditional village. Available here is an 18-hole golf course, and the National Wool Centre, which offers free sheep dog shows every hour. One can also shop in the small boutiques or pop into the Co-op for groceries (something the campers will want to note!). For those wanting a bit more of an adrenalin rush, the UK's longest zip wire is located in Aberfoyle. And, if one high wire isn't sufficient, 'Go Ape' also has 20 other high wire courses to challenge your fear of heights!
Loch Katrine is 10 miles north of Gartmore House. This Loch was made famous by the poet Sir Walter Scott and his poem 'The Lady of the Lake'. There are a number of ways to discover the natural beauty of Loch Katrine. For the more energetic there is a 1.5 hrs climb of Ben A'an, or the option to hire a bike and cycle round the Loch. For those wanting someone else to take the strain, then a one-hour cruise on a steamer boat is just the ticket!
Callander is 10 miles northeast of Gartmore House. It is twice the size of Aberfoyle but is a similarly beautiful village. In Callander you can visit the Rob Roy centre, rediscover your childhood with the Hamilton Toy museum, work off your lunch with a 30 mins hike to two different waterfalls, or relax in the leisure centre and swimming pool. Just outside Callander on the road to Stirling is the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park as well as the Monster Maize Maze -- an excellent opportunity to get completely lost!
Stirling is 25 miles east of Gartmore House. Stirling Castle is certainly worth a visit. Included in the entrance fee is the tour of Argyll's Lodging, a superb example of a 17th century townhouse. Also in Stirling is the Wallace National Monument. But be warned, there are 246 spiral stone steps up to the top of the monument. The views are worth the hair-raising climb up the steps but then you have to make you way down again!
Loch Lomond is 20 miles south of Gartmore House. The Loch can be best explored from the Balloch Country Park. Here you can walk along the shores of Loch Lomond, visit Balloch Castle, or enjoy the children's play area. 'Loch Lomond Shores' offers boat trips on the Loch and bike hire. The Loch Lomond aquarium, as well as many quaint boutiques and coffee shops, allow numerous opportunities to relax beside the famous Loch.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are both about an hour from Gartmore House. Edinburgh offers the opportunity to spend an afternoon steeped in Covenanter History, whilst Glasgow boasts some of Scotland's finest shopping centres.
Hopefully this article will have given you a taste of some of the extensive attractions that are available off-site around Gartmore House. Other activities will be happening on-site at Gartmore House, and there will many opportunities, throughout the week, to share in activities and fellowship with God's people from across the globe.