You do not need to travel far in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park to drink in the views of a stunning loch or a pretty lochan.
The Park is home to 22 larger lochs, which account for 6.5% of the landscape. The largest of them all – and, indeed, Britain’s largest inland stretch of water – is Loch Lomond, stretching 24 miles from Balloch in the south to Ardlui in the north. Other larger lochs include Loch Katrine, Loch Voil and Loch Venachar.
The National Park also boasts Scotland’s only natural lake, the Lake of Menteith, which is situated between Aberfoyle and Port of Menteith.
In addition, there are several sea lochs on the western fringes of the Park, such as Loch Long and Loch Goil.
Visitors who explore the Park by car, on foot or bike will also come across countless smaller lochs and lochans dotted across the landscape, as well as 50 rivers and larger burns with many more smaller burns.
All this water offers the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of watersports, such as fishing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing and power boating.
Habitats associated with the lochs and the rivers include peatlands, grasslands, open water, fens and reed swamps. This series of interlinked freshwater systems creates an exceptional variety of habitats for both animal and plant species to live.
Scotland’s only natural lake is the Lake of Menteith. But did you know it was once a loch? It used to be called Loch Innis Mo Cholmaig (The Loch of the Island of St Colmaig) and the area was known as The Laich (pronounced laych) of Menteith. Later this “laich” was corrupted into English as “lake”. Boat trips can be taken from the village of Port of Menteith to an island in the lake, which is home to ancient Inchmahome Priory.
The stunning view from the summit of Ben Venue reveals four great lochs, from left, Loch Katrine, Loch Achray, Loch Venachar (within The Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve) and Loch Drunkie. You can also see Achray and Drunkie , as well as another smaller loch, Reòidhte, on the Three Lochs Forest Drive, a one-way route that’s 7¼ miles (11.5 km) long and follows a quiet forest road that’s suitable for most vehicles.
The trees on the banks of Loch Chon create an amazing reflection in the still waters. The loch is located between Kinlochard and Inversnaid. There is a delightful walk that can be enjoyed from just above Kinlochard.
The remote small loch of Arklet lies between Loch Katrine to the east and Loch Lomond to the west, in The Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve. You can reach this picturesque waterway by taking the Inversnaid road from Aberfoyle. There is a beautiful walk along the river from Loch Arklet to Loch Lomond.
Scotland’s original long-distance walking trail, the West Highland Way, cuts a route through the Park. Walkers are accompanied by fabulous views of Loch Lomond, especially on the downhill section of Conic Hill, near the village of Balmaha. The hill itself is a great way to enjoy an array of vistas for not too much climbing effort.
It’s impossible to tire of views of Loch Lomond. This photo reveals the loch at the heart of surrounding mountains as the sun casts its final rays of the day. To see this panorama for yourself you could walk Duncryne hill.