Port of Menteith is a small rural community, with a church and award-winning hotel on the shore of Scotland’s only lake, the Lake of Menteith.
The Lake of Menteith is a complete contrast to the long and narrow lochs of the Trossachs in their rugged Highland glens. With its gently shelving and curving shores, its wooded islands and its ruined abbey, it presents a peaceful and tranquil prospect. Surrounded by farmland and woodland, the mix of fields, trees and water epitomises the best of the lowland scene on the southern fringes of the National Park. The lake is also one of Scotland’s most important trout fisheries, and a haven for wildlife, with ospreys present during the spring and summer and large numbers of geese roosting here during autumn and winter. In the centre of the lake lies the peaceful, ruined island medieval priory of Inchmahome which can be reached by a regular ferry service between Easter and October.
To the south lies the Forth Valley’s flat carselands with Flanders Moss, the largest raised peat bog in Europe. There is an important National Nature Reserve at its centre. Mats of sphagnum moss carpet the reserve with their swirling colours and you can listen out for the distinctive calls of snipe and stonechat or feel the slight shudder of the peat under foot.
A ferry leaves the village pier regularly for the idyllic island of Inchmahome in the middle of the lake taking visitors across to the Historic Scotland maintained Inchmahome Priory. An Augustinian monastery dating back to 1238, it received several royal visits from King Robert the Bruce and was used as a refuge by the 5-year old Mary Queen of Scots.
The lake was also important for the Romans, housing a camp and fort on the southwestern shore hundreds of years ago.
The area is very popular with cyclists and walkers. The National Cycle Route 7 climbs over the Menteith Hills to Callander and Wild Biking Scotland has details of other cycle routes in the area. Cycle hire is available locally from Mounter Bikes and Wheels Cycle Centre in Callander and Trossachs Cycle Centre in Aberfoyle. There are also plenty of opportunities for walking in the area.
The Lake of Menteith is the only lake in Scotland.