DISCOVER THE LOCHS OF THE TROSSACHS
Many of the area’s magical lochs will be a key feature of the landscape as you’re walking or cycling within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park – but there are also reasons to break your journey and linger, or even make a special trip to one of the Park’s 22 lochs. Breathtaking scenery aside, you’ll find much to attract you, especially if you’re keen on fishing!
Loch Lomond is the largest expanse of fresh water in the UK and has the most varied fish stock in the National Park, with an excellent reputation for coarse fishing.
If you’d rather admire a fabulous selection of sea life, check out the Loch Lomond SEA LIFE Centre. Attractions include the Bay of Rays, where you’ll meet the only Cownose rays in Scotland and the Otter Aquarium. You’ll see small, amiable-looking native shark species but the star of the shark show is the magnificent Black Tip Reef Shark, more commonly found around the coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. SEA LIFE is coordinating the European Black Tip Reef Shark breeding programme. Don’t miss Feeding Time in the Ocean Tunnel, too.
For an immersive land-based experience, visit the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre, ideally located in lochside woodland. Birds in the centre include kestrels, falcons, hawks, owls and eagles and you can learn about nature, conservation and native wildlife by following the Discovery Trail. Don’t miss the Flying Shows, scheduled to take place two or three times a day, and you can book ahead for a Bird of Prey Experience – the chance to get really close to one of these incredible creatures.
A cruise on Loch Lomond gives you the opportunity to admire the magnificent Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps from a different viewpoint; it’s also a handy mode of transport when you want to explore the surrounding area. Catch a cruise from Balloch on the southern shore or choose one of the many starting points from the western shore, including Luss – a picturesque village that’s worth a visit in its own right. Set routes - including the hour-long Heritage Walk - offer different perspectives, or simply wander the pretty streets, head to the beach for a picnic, or take a boat to one of Loch Lomond’s small islands. From Balmaha on the western shore you can climb Conic Hill -uniquely placed between the Highlands and Lowlands – which offers glorious views over Loch Lomond. Balmaha is also where you’ll gain access to the tiny island of Inchcailloch.
There are excellent picnic spots on the western shores at Duck Bay, Firkin Point and Inveruglas whilst on the eastern shore you’ll find picture-perfect Milarrochy Bay.
There are numerous paddle-entry points around Loch Venachar which make it ideal for kayaking and canoeing. It’s also popular for wild swimming and sailing. The forested area at the south of the lake offers a wonderful selection of walking routes, including the circular 7k Loch Venachar Forest Walk, which reveals a hidden lochan along the way. Once again, there’s excellent fishing on the loch, especially for those who like to catch salmon.
Well-known figures feature strongly in Loch Katrine’s history, with outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor born here, Sir Walter Scott inspired by the stunning landscape to write The Lady of the Lake, and Queen Victoria sailing up the loch in 1869. It’s certainly the place for a loch cruise and you can take to the water in style on the ‘Sir Walter Scott`, built in 1899 – one of the first steamships in Scotland – and still carrying passengers today. Board from the Trossachs Pier for cruises of varying lengths.
Loch Katrine is a popular fishing destination for brown trout, and also pike. Fishing is permitted by boat only, and petrol engines are not allowed for a very good reason: for over 150 years, Loch Katrine has provided a fresh water supply for Glasgow and much of West and Central Scotland. Suitable boats can be hired from Loch Katrine Fisheries. Nearby Loch Arklet, also stocked with brown trout, offers a more tranquil base during peak season.
One of the smallest lochs in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, this is a lovely spot for anglers, with plenty of shelter and calm waters. It’s also a popular location for those who seek the perfect scenic holiday shot, with the tranquillity of the loch creating a dreamily reflective backdrop for photographs, and the surrounding woodlands and mountains captured in a shimmering mirror image.