Loch Venachar lies between the popular tourist town of Callander and the small settlement of Brig o’ Turk. The south shore of the 3.7 mile-long loch comprises a large area of forest, which is home to a wide network of cycling and walking trails. A walk of 4.5 miles reveals a hidden lochan amid the trees.
You can follow some trails over the hills to nearby Lake of Menteith – Scotland’s only official lake – and head west along the loch to Loch Achray and the Trossachs.
For a moderately challenging but scenically rewarding ride, it’s possible to complete a 16-mile circuit around Loch Venachar. The first part is quiet cycling on the Invertrossachs Road (part of the National Cycle Network Route 7) followed by a section along the lochshore on the Great Trossachs Path.
Historic Invertrossachs House, which was visited by Queen Victoria in 1869, is also situated on the loch’s south shore and there is a sailing club accessible from the private road. The sailing club runs RYA dinghy and powerboat courses.
A number of paddle entry points make it possible to enjoy canoeing or kayaking on the loch, while wild swimmers enjoy a dip surrounded by the magnificent beauty of the National Park loch and landscape. Open water swimming events also take place in Loch Venachar.
Portnellan island in Loch Venachar is an Iron Age crannog which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. There are additional submerged islands in Lochs Ard, Venachar and Achray, some of which may be crannogs.
The fishing on the loch is managed by Loch Venachar Association and there are variety of species in the loch, including brown trout and pike. To fish either from the bank or boat you will require to obtain a permit.
You could visit the loch and area for a day, but why not stay for longer? There are overnight spots for camping along the lochshore spots for motorhomes to stop off at the Woodland Trust Scotland sites at Lendrick Hill and Little Druim Wood, both within the UK’s newest and one of the largest National Nature Reserves, the Great Trossachs Forest.
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.
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