It’s time to change gear. The Land Rover Defender lurches along the rough track above Luss, a stretch of Loch Lomond studded with islands bobs about in the distance as I adjust the oversized steering wheel, avoiding anything that resembles a boulder or a trench in our path.

Clutch engaged, gearstick moved to the left and back, reassuring prompts from my instructor and the engine changes note as we ford a stream running down the mountainside. In my rear-view mirror I spot a solitary sheep looking on quizzically.

About an hour before this excursion, I was enjoying a pot of loose-leaf tea in the drawing room of Cameron House. The restoration of the 17th century Baronial mansion was completed in September last year with the five-star resort hotel welcoming guests back to its estate within Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. A pause to admire the luxurious surroundings and then it was onwards with a spirit of adventure.

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We bring our small convoy of vehicles to a stop at a viewing point. To the left, rain clouds roll in bringing purple and grey to the landscape. The right of the loch is shimmering in sunshine against a dark green backdrop.

This is a good sign, as we are exploring Cameron House’s loch and land activities program, and the loch part is next. We begin a slow, winding and quite thrilling descent back to the resort, much more familiar with our country surroundings than when we started.

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Wetsuits are donned at the marina by The Boat House, which has a charming dining room where you can order a lunch of truffle mac and cheese with king prawns, fish and chips or a platter of Cumbrae oysters.

We canoe away from shore, a multi-coloured, occasionally unsteady flotilla watched by Dame Katherine Grainger, one of the world’s greatest rowers and an ambassador for Cameron House.

She is the Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, the current Chair of UK Sport and the only British female Olympian with five medals from five consecutive games.

Katherine wrote her autobiography while staying at Cameron House and talks enthusiastically about the inspiration visitors can find while exploring their natural surroundings, with activities including speedboat tours, kayaking, paddleboarding and water-skiing, “I think all the people that lead the program here are completely engaging and passionate. It’s such a relaxing, fun experience. It’s Scotland at its very best” she says.

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Sitting out on the Loch, looking back towards the hotel allows a full appreciation of the privileged position it holds on the shore of one of Scotland’s most picturesque bodies of water, a view that has been romanticised in literature and song for hundreds of years.

Switching over to jet skis gives more of an impression of what you might expect over the summer months when Loch Lomond is a busy location for watersports. After some basic instruction we are able to glide across the loch with ease, motoring through the spray. It’s both exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.  

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I’m experiencing a turbo-charged introduction to what’s possible during a stay at Cameron House. You can tailor your own roster of activities to be an adrenaline-fuelled odyssey, a gentle meander through woodland paths or a family-centred tour, depending on what fits with your holiday plans.

Electric bikes provide a more sedate way to navigate around the estate by land and a cruise aboard the Celtic Warrior motor cruiser with a glass of champagne on the upper deck allows you to get close to coves and islands without having to dip into the Loch itself.

Back in the cocoon of luxury at the hotel, there’s time for a dram in one of the 14 individually designed suites in The Auld House, each decorated with furnishings by Glasgow’s Timorous Beasties.

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We immediately feel far from this morning’s muddy mountainside when welcomed into Tamburrini & Wishart, Cameron House’s fine dining restaurant. It’s a collaboration between chefs Paul Tamburrini and Martin Wishart, both of whom have previously led the kitchen at the hotel.

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The dining room is a stylish affair, a showcase for modern Scottish cooking. The five-course tasting menu brings local produce to the fore with Japanese and French influences.

Roasted Orkney scallop is served with broccoli, togorashi and white wine. Veal shortbreads arrive with cauliflower soubise, truffle and hazelnut.

Cured halibut with oscietra caviar, celeriac and dashi butter threatens to upstage the Anjou pigeon with stuffed morel, miso and wild garlic. The delightful meal draws to a close with coconut parfait, chocolate and passion fruit.

It’s clear that Cameron House is ready to resume its place in Loch Lomond hospitality for the tourist season ahead and provide an fantastic base for exploring the local countryside.  

You can find out more about the activities program at Cameron House by visiting cameronhouse.co.uk. This feature was published in the May edition of Best of Scotland magazine.