Lakes & Lochs of the Trossachs Region
Often referred to with the affectionate moniker of “the highlands in miniature”, the Trossachs region of Scotland offers much of the natural beauty and exciting history of Scotland as a whole; simply condensed into one comparatively small geographical area. With this in mind, it becomes clear that there is a great deal to see and do in and around the area, for tourists interested in experiencing the best that Scotland has to offer.
One of the more popular mountains in Scotland, Ben Lomond is the 30th tallest mountain in Britain in terms of relative height. At 974m/3193ft high, this mountain presents a fair challenge to prospective adventurers, though there are more family friendly walking routes available around the base of the mountain, and in the surrounding environs. Of course, as with many of the mountains in the UK, those looking for a bit more of a challenge are also well catered for upon a visit to Ben Lomond, with the more challenging Ptarmigan ridge route posing a significant peak in difficulty over the more standard “tourist route”. One thing to bear in mind with any mountain in Scotland, Ben Lomond included, is that Scotland’s already changeable and sometimes severe weather is magnified by the often extreme altitude of their climbing or walking routes; conditions can change rapidly, so make sure you have made the right preparations before heading for the summit: you’ll need proper walking boots, and warm clothing to account for the sudden bouts of cold weather which may well emerge during your climb; it’s often best to carry and ice axe and rope for the harder route as well!
While grand in and of itself, this ruined priory in the middle of the Lake of Menteith has a great deal of history attached to it, with many famous figures from the past having visited at one time or another. Foremost amongst these was Mary Queen of Scots, who was spirited to the priory as a four year old, to escape the attention of the British military forces that were pushing into Scotland during the “rough wooing” in the mid-1500s. Prior to this, Inchmahome Priory had been visited by King Robert the Bruce, himself a distant ancestor of Mary, on a number of occasions in the 1300s. But the history of the Priory is just one half of the appeal of this secluded spot in Trossachs; both Inchmahome Priory and the island of Inchmahome on which it resides are exceptionally beautiful areas of Scotland, and well worth a visit even if the history of the buildings holds no appeal to you at the time.
A comparatively small Loch for the Trossachs region, Loch Achray makes up for its diminutive size with sheer beauty. Bordered on all sides by the rugged excellence of the Scottish countryside, with the majestic crags of Ben Venue to the West, the small pointed peak of Ben A’an to the North; and picturesque trees and greenery massed around the area, there are few more attractive open spaces in all of Scotland. The bumpiness of the surrounding land does an extremely able job of sheltering the Loch from any inclement breezes, making Loch Achray ideal for those anglers who like to appreciate nature’s grandeur while fishing. Such is the renown of Loch Achray and its surrounding environs that a number of delightful restaurants holiday apartments and hotels have sprung up around its shores, including Scott’s Bistro; located in the sublime, turreted HPB Tigh Mor Trossachs building.
A tactically important relic of Scotland’s feudal history, Stirling Castle is exceptionally well preserved, and offers an exciting sightseeing location for all ages. Located, as the name would suggest, in Stirling, a former capital city of Scotland, Stirling Castle provides a wide range of ways to experience and learn more about Scotland’s rich and exciting past. The history of the castle itself can be explored through a number of interesting exhibitions, displays and tours, allowing visitors to get the lowdown on the Scottish Wars of Independence, during which Stirling Castle changed hands eight times in 50 years; investigate the famous “Stirling Heads” carvings; and explore the castle’s information and diorama packed vaults; among many other things.
One of the larger Lochs in the Trossachs region, Loch Katrine is around 8 miles long, and a prized area of natural magnificence, where even local Scots frequently visit. An essential part of Scottish infrastructure, Loch Katrine provides a large proportion of the drinking water for Glasgow and the surrounding area; the advantage here for tourists being a network of fascinating aqueducts and reservoirs, a series of engineering marvels that add a further degree of wonder to the already exciting Trossachs climes. There are many things to do around Loch Katrine, besides simply enjoying the fantastic vistas; a walk around the Loch allows holidaymakers to visit the birthplace of famed Highland outlaw Rob Roy, as well as visit the delightfully rustic Brenachoile restaurant; or even take a trip out over the Loch itself on one of the well-equipped tourist boats that frequently cruise the length of the Loch.
Article contributed by: Jack Cooper