“ Address: Buchanan Castle Estate / Drymen / G63 0HX / Scotland / Tel: (+44) 01360 660 289 „
My partner and I have just come home from a short break away down in Loch Lomond where the purpose of our trip was to climb the Munro, Ben Lomond. We had been planning on climbing this particular Munro for a while and finally decided a couple of months ago that we were going to book ourselves a bed and breakfast for a couple of nights in Loch Lomond to allow us to complete the climb. We wanted to find ourselves a bed and breakfast that provided us with easy access to Ben Lomond and one that was close to local amenities such as shops, bars and restaurants so we could get dinner somewhere that was easy to get to. My partner completed the West Highland way a number of years ago and remembered that the village of Drymen was the first rest point and it had a number of places to eat, and was on the east side of Loch Lomond which was where we needed to be so it was decided that this was where we would start our search for B&B's. After enquiring at several different B&B's it became apparent that we were going to struggle to find something in Drymen itself as there was a wedding on in the area and most of them had been booked up on the particular weekend we were looking to stay so we decided to check on the outskirts of Drymen and it was then that we found Green Shadows set in Buchanan Castle Estate. We enquired as to the availability of this particular bed and breakfast and were able to book a 2 night stay on the weekend we wanted to go down. ***Booking the B&B*** The booking process was really easy. On the website itself www.greenshadows.co.uk or www.visitdrymen.co.uk there is a booking link where you are provided with 2 booking options, the first being to contact them directly on the telephone number provided or the second, to complete an online booking form. We completed the online booking form and within 24 hours had a response confirming that the 2 nights were booked - no deposit required. ***Getting to the B&B*** Leaving from Aberdeen we headed south on the A90 which becomes the M90 and headed towards sterling. We exited the M90 onto the A84 continuing to head toward Sterling and from there we took the A811 continuing on until you reach the Drymen Bypass. The entrance to the Buchanan estate is just a short car journey from the village of Drymen which you pass on the way, and the entrance is un-missable. White pillars mark the entrance to the Estate on the right hand side of the road. After turning into the Estate we had to travel along the road for around ¾'s of a mile until we came to a Y junction where we turned into the left fork. The Bed and Breakfast was located 6 houses down on the right hand side. Had we not known it was the 6th house on the right, we wouldn't really have known where to turn in as there is no indication outside the property that it is in fact a bed and breakfast, and there is a small plaque on the driveway entrance stating Green Shadows which was the only confirmation that we were actually in the right place. ***Arrival*** Because we hadn't seen the standard B&B sign outside the house, we were a little unsure at first as to whether or not we were in the right place but continued on up to the front door all the same where we were greeted by a very friendly Gail, who knew immediately who we were and invited us into the house. I have to add that it was around 5pm when we arrived as we did stop off in the village of Drymen for a look around to familiarise ourselves with our surroundings before heading to the B&B which only allows entry after 4pm which I found to be quite typical for most B&B's I've stayed at. We were shown both the guest lounge, breakfasting area and of course our bedroom complete with en-suite bathroom and after a bit of a chat with our host who offered us some excellent advice on where we could eat that evening and inquired as to what we wanted for breakfast and at what time we were left to settle in. ***About the property*** As you can imagine from any house that exists within an estate, it is a rather large house and directly across the road from it lies the Buchanan castle golf course which both our bedroom and the guest lounge looked onto, I found the view to be a very pleasant one, full of greenery. The house has 2 floors and we were situated on the 1st floor so we had a small flight of steps to climb to get to our room. We had a separate key in which to enter our bedroom and were told that the front door is always left open for guests to be able to get in and out of the house in the evenings if going out for a meal etc. ***Our Bedroom*** The B&B has 4 different accommodations to choose from including a single, double, family or twin bedroom. We of course had the double room which as stated previously was situated on the 1st floor and was complete with an en-suite facility. The cost for our stay per person per night was £35 so £70 per night for the 2 of us which I thought was quite reasonable for a 4star B&B. The room was fully equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV which for some reason was not allowed to be on past 10pm in the evening which I found rather odd but didn't detract from the general comfort of the place, a hairdryer and a local information pack put together by the owners of the B&B. The en-suite bathroom was complete with shower, heated towel rail, toilet and wash hand basin, and there was also a fancy infra red mirror on the wall which had little lights up each side of it which turned on by simply waving your hand over the on/off switch, a neat little effect and now I want one cause it created a really nice effect in the bathroom when it was on. We did of course have bath towels and hair towels supplied along with shower gel which I thought was a nice touch. Although it was a double bedroom we had a king size bed, which unfortunately had a softish mattress, which neither myself nor my partner found particularly comfortable as we have an orthopaedic mattress at home so are more comfortable with firm mattresses. The room was equipped with both bedside lighting and ceiling lighting along with a floor lamp so we had plenty of lighting to choose from. The other odd thing I found was that the switch for the main ceiling light for our bedroom was outside the bedroom door, but again this wasn't something I found to be hugely inconvenient. The floor was carpeted in cream and so we had to be very careful not to get mud on it, so this resulted in us taking our shoes off before entering the room as there was a bit of rain when we arrived in Loch Lomond resulting in some muddy feet. ***A funny story*** On our first nights stay my partner and I decided to head into Drymen to one of the local restaurants for a bite to eat. We had been told when we arrived that there was one other couple staying at the same time as us but that they would be late back to the bed and breakfast, around 11pm and that the owners themselves were going out that evening and so we were provided with a front door key to let ourselves back into the property after our meal. We got back from dinner around 9pm to find no-one home and so let ourselves in with the key we had been provided and left it on the radiator shelf next to the front door, leaving it locked behind us as we were the only people there in the property. It had been a long day just with the travel and excitement of being on holiday and so we immediately headed upstairs, bypassing the guest lounge and got ready for bed. At around 9:30 we heard a bit of banging coming from downstairs and just assumed at the time that the owners had returned from their evening out and were perhaps making preparations for breakfast the next morning. Arriving down at the breakfast area the following morning, our host Gail gave us another friendly welcome and proceeded to tell us about what had happened to her and her husband the previous evening and it was then that it became apparent what all the banging was. As it turned out, Gail and her husband had left the property without their own keys to get back in, leaving them on the same radiator shelf that my partner and I had placed ours. With bags of wisdom, it was decided that the best course of action was to retrieve the keys using a fishing rod located in the garage, and after several attempts they managed to get the keys and unlock the door. Well this story had us all laughing I have to say, and to think we had no idea, lying upstairs wondering what on earth they were doing banging away downstairs. ***Breakfast*** Breakfast at this particular bed and breakfast is served between 7:30am and 8:30am, and there are three options to choose from which are: a continental breakfast, a full Scottish breakfast and something called a middle of the road breakfast which basically consisted of scrambled eggs on toast with bacon and tomato. We decided as we were going climbing the morning after we arrived that we would get breakfast nice and early with the intention of starting our walk at around 9am, so we asked for breakfast at 7:30. My partner chose to have a full breakfast whilst I opted for the middle of the road option. We were served orange juice and coffee and were offered a selection of cereals to start before our hot breakfast was served, an option which neither of us chose to indulge in. I think a full cooked breakfast in the morning is more than enough to keep you going without throwing cereal into the mix too. The breakfasting area is situated directly across from the kitchen where there is a blind that runs from the ceiling to the top of the counter top which separates you from the area where your breakfast is being cooked, and rather than having individual tables for you to sit at, green shadows has one big table to seat 6 so that all the guests eat together, which can only be described as being elegantly decorated in red silver and white which was very nice to look at. ***The Guest lounge*** We were welcome to use the guest lounge as much as we wanted and again this was fully equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a full colour TV and a spectacular view out onto the golf course from the front of the house. We also had access to Wi-Fi in the B&B which was easily accessed in the guest lounge. It is here that guests can watch television after 10pm, until as late as they like and it is decorated in traditional Tartan. ***Departure*** Guests are required to depart the property before 10am during their stay and of course on the day of departure. On the morning we were leaving we had breakfast at 8am and had our bags out to the car by 9am. We got a very professional bill on headed paper and settled our bill in cash. The overall impression we got of the B&B was that it was a cash or cheque only establishment but we did not confirm that so there is the possibility that they would accept a credit card but without asking there's no way of knowing. Our host wished us well on our journey and told us what it pleasure it had been meeting us. ***Overall impressions*** Green Shadows B&B I found was very clean and comfortable with excellent hosts and an enjoyable hearty breakfast which offered really good value for money. It's set in a beautiful location which is very peaceful and tranquil and away from the general hustle and bustle of the village of Drymen but close enough to be able to enjoy the local amenities. It was relatively easy to get to and provided the perfect base for us to be able to complete our walk up the impressive Ben Lomond. With there being so much to do in the Loch Lomond area I would definitely recommend a stay at this B&B if you are looking for somewhere that's quite but also somewhere that's not too far away from Glasgow's shopping or the various walks and scenery there is to enjoy in Loch Lomond. A thoroughly enjoyable stay in a picturesque location.