Famous as being Scotland’s only lake, rather than loch, the Lake of Menteith is discovered in the Carse of Stirling, close to the city. Strangely, and for no known reason, the small lake was called the Loch of Mentieth until the 19th century.
There are several small islands in the Lake of Menteith and the largest, Inchmahome, is home to an ancient priory, which was historically visited by Robert the Bruce and acted as a refuge for Mary Queen of Scots.
The island is also acclaimed for its wildlife, including three Spanish chestnuts, which are listed in among Scotland’s top 100 trees. Access to the island is by boat between March and September.
The Lake of Menteith is also popular with anglers, fishing for rainbow and brown trout. Only fly fishing from a boat is permitted. The fish attract another visitor, the beautiful osprey.
A small car park on the east side of the lake offers easy access for open water swimmers. The Lake of Menteith is named as a must-do Scottish wild swim.
On occasions in winter the lake freezes and offers the chance for the local area to host the “Bonspiel”, or Grand Match, one of few outdoor curling tournaments in Scotland (see news footage from 2010 about the festival).
There are many picnic spots along the lake shore, where you can admire wonderful scenery, and the nearby Menteith Hills have a large network of paths for walkers, trail runners and cyclists.
To the west of the lake lies Flanders Moss, which is one of the largest remaining bogs in Scotland and designated a National Nature Reserve.
Whether you’re looking for the comfort of a campsite or the solitude of ‘wild camping’, the National Park offers plenty of places to immerse yourself in some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland.
If you are planning to ‘wild camp’, be aware that seasonal byelaws came into effect on 1st March 2017 which affect how you can camp in some areas between March and September. During this time, you need a permit to camp or (in some locations) to stay overnight in your motorhome in these Camping Management Zones.