Enjoy an afternoon of good old-fashioned, outdoor adventure.
Some of my fondest memories of being a wee girl, are the times my grandma would take me and my sisters for a long walk around the nearby lake and we would spot birds, collect leaves and throw bread into the water.
There's certainly something about feeding the ducks that takes you back to your most innocent and playful of days; days of muddy boots and cold cheeks, the smell of half-stale bread and the sounds of greedy ducks lapping up the offerings.
That's why for me, I very much want to keep this simple past time alive with my own son, so on lazy afternoons we try and turn to nature instead of ceebeebies for entertainment.
Kilmardinny Loch is indeed great for an afternoon of good old fashioned, out door adventure.
Set in the heart of East Dumbartonshire, Kilmardinny Loch is a nature reserve (meaning an area of land, managed in order to preserve its natural beauty and its inhabitants). Natural beautiful is certainly what you'll experience here.
As you arrive at the Loch, you're met with the sweeping views of still peaceful waters, surrounded by thick woodland. You'd find it hard to believe you're in the heart of Bearsden. Although it is a path well trodden, I find that it is never overly busy and there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the scenery from the various bench points dotted around the trail.
Of course, there are plenty of hungry ducks to feed but be warned, there are also a few swans who tend to be a bit aggressive, so younger children should be kept close by!
The Loch itself isn't huge – you could probably get round it in 15 minutes at a reasonable pace. However, getting around with a unsteady toddler could make it a considerably longer activity, especially when you take into consideration the park next door, which has plenty for children of all ages and the wooden carvings you can find along they way.
These carvings pay homage to Julia Donaldson, the writer of the gruffalo (a story that I'm sure every parent on the plant knows by heart), who was from the area. I must admit, I got very excited spotting the various bugs and birds carvings, but mostly so when we found the Gfuffalo himself! A must for any fans (big or small!) of the book.
Other than a large car park and play area that I previously mentioned, there are no other facilities such as toilets or somewhere to buy food so come prepared! You do have the option of Bearsden cross however, that is only a short walk or even shorter drive away which has an abundance of sweet local coffee shops.
I would recommend Kilmardinny Loch to families with children of all ages. The woods are great for riding bikes round, the loch is beautiful, the path is mostly pram friendly (unless you choose to go off the beaten track), and best of all is that it's completely free! Just be sure to take along a loaf of bread and your camera.
If your kids love dinosaurs, they'll love this Jurassic Experience featuring dinosaur arts and crafts, Barnie the T-Rex (a 'real' dinosaur standing 8 foot high and 12 foot in length), roaring competitions, feeding time and dinosaur games.