20.07.2012

Houseboats set to return to Loch Lomond

Houseboats are set to make a return to Loch Lomond, following a decision by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority to award planning consent to Luss Estates Company for three contemporary houseboats at the picturesque bay of Aldochlay on the west side of the loch.

Intended to diversify Loch Lomond's holiday accommodation offering, the houseboats also recall part of the area's social history. For many years, traditional houseboats provided homes for local families, their colourful structures committed to canvas by Scottish Colourist painter George Leslie Hunter (1877-1931). In the second half of the twentieth century, the houseboats gradually gave way to more modern accommodation on land, and the last ones were abandoned and removed by the 1970s.

Now, in what is believed to be a first for Scotland, three purpose-built, ecologically friendly houseboats will be permanently moored at Aldochlay, promising holidaymakers a relaxing and refreshing experience.

Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, chairman of local landowners Luss Estates, has fond childhood memories of the original houseboats: "I used to walk past them every day on the way to Luss school in the 1950's," he recalls. "They were such a pretty sight, bright and colourful, adorned with flowers, and completely at one with their setting. I don't remember ever going on board one – I should imagine they were pretty basic – but as a child it seemed to me perfectly normal that people around Loch Lomond should live on the water itself, as well as on the land."

In contrast to their predecessors, the new houseboats will offer holidaymakers a very different experience, providing luxurious comfort and contemporary style. Hand crafted in the UK by Hertfordshire-based specialist Eco Floating Homes, they combine low carbon sustainable architecture and natural wood exteriors with interiors designed to calm, incorporating oak floors and internal doors, and the highest quality kitchens and bathrooms. All the comforts of home will be there, reflecting the best of modern Scottish style allied to the highest standards of sustainability.

The half-million pound project is part of a wider multi-million pound strategic development framework initiated by Luss Estates to identify economic opportunities in the area, following on from last year's re-opening of the acclaimed Loch Lomond Arms Hotel after its £3m refurbishment.

Sir Malcolm continues: "Luss is one of Scotland's most visited villages, and our new twenty-first century houseboats will revive a much-loved tradition, albeit with a completely different standard of comfort and style, whilst at the same time addressing justified concerns that too many houses nowadays are sold off as second homes or get converted into holiday cottages.

"With the water of Loch Lomond gentling lapping underfoot, maybe a chilled glass of chardonnay in hand, these holiday houseboats will promise visitors to Loch Lomond a relaxing and refreshing experience unlike any other."