Loch Lomond is home to breath-taking scenery, craggy hills, steep mountain tops, sparkling lochs and beautiful villages with old brick work and charming locals. Discover the tranquillity of nature, go exploring through the Trossachs forestry or glide across the loch’s waters, you’re never short of things to do or see on the bonnie banks. A tourist hotspot for adventure, a backdrop for Scottish staycations, and the ultimate place to re-connect with nature. But why is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park so famous and popular? Let us explain…
Its Unique Form
Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, home to 22 islands surrounding its body of water. Splitting the Scottish Highland Boundary Fault Line, Loch Lomond acts as a gateway from the Lowlands to the Highlands. Loch Lomond’s shape and breadth was carved by glaciers during the final stages of the ice age. North of the loch, glaciers dug a deep channel in the Highland schist, removing approximately 600m of bedrock creating a narrow fjord-like finger lake. Due south the glaciers spread across the softer Lowland sandstone, creating a wider body of water that is more than 30m deep. The character and shape of the loch was manipulated and determined by the movements of glaciers over 10,000 years ago.
Its Numerous Islands
Dependant on the water levels, there are 22 islands and 27 islets that surround Loch Lomond’s 23-mile long body of fresh water. Of these 22 islands only 3 are in care of conversation bodies who protect and preserve the beauty of these treasured landscapes. The National Nature Reserves cares for the isle of Inchcailloch, whilst the National Trust looks after both Bucinch and Ceardach. A few of Loch Lomond’s islands provided sanction to various historic figures including Mary Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. The loch and its islands are rich in culture, history and heritage.
Its Reference In Pop Culture
Pop culture has helped magnify Loch Lomond’s status through the infamous world-renowned Scottish song – The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond. No good Scottish party would be complete without a rendition of this famous anthem at the end of the night. The song has been recorded by various artists over the years, however, the most popular version was released by the Celtic rock band Runrig, in 1979. Unfortunately, the song writer is a mystery which has only encouraged the masses to create their own meaning behind the song. One of the most prolific is that it was written about two soldiers, one of whom was going to die. According to Celtic mythology, if someone dies in a foreign land, his spirit will travel to his homeland by “the low road”, suggesting that the soon-to-be dead soldier would arrive back to his beloved Scotland quicker than his living comrade.
The National Park is home to many small towns and villages with old-school cottages, historical buildings and various places to visit. The people’s favourite, situated on the western shores of the loch, originally known as Clachan Dubh (‘the dark village’) is the small village of Luss. TV cameras flooded the charming streets of Luss whilst filming the Scottish Soap Opera ‘Take The High Road’. One of Luss’ most distinguishing character features is their cottages, which were originally built in the cotton mill and slate quarries throughout the 18th and 19th century. Luss Pier is also a tourist favourite as it offers visitors unparalleled views towards Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southern Munro.
It was Scotland’s First National Park
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is also famous because it was the very first place in Scotland to be awarded National Park status back in 2002. Princess Anne officially opened Loch Lomond and The Transachs National Park on 24th July 2002. The National Park encompasses around 720sq miles and boasts some of the finest scenery in Scotland. From rolling lowland hills in the south to some of the country’s highest mountains in the north, glistening lochs and rivers, forests and woodlands. Take your camera as you’re never short of an atmospheric snapshot no matter the season or weather front.
It’s A Popular Spot For Adventure
Around 50% of Scotland’s population live within an hours’ drive of the National Park, making it one of the most accessible places in Scotland for adventure. The 2011 census revealed that 15,168 people live in the National Park. The National Park is not only lived in, it is worked in by many and enjoyed recreationally by thousands.
A source of adventure is never far away. One of the biggest attractions of the National Park is its abundance of opportunities for walking and hiking. In total there are 21 Munros (Scottish mountains above 3,000ft) scattered throughout the park, the most well-known of which being Ben Lomond, while Ben More is the highest at 1,174m, as well as plenty of easier walking and cycling routes. There are numerous water sports businesses located around the loch, aerial treetop adventure courses, shooting ranges, off-road driving experiences, and seaplane trips, to name only a few!
There are four distinctive areas of the National Park – Loch Lomond, Cowal, The Trossachs and Breadalbane. And each offers a unique opportunity to discover Scotland’s wildlife. Head north to Breadalbane and discover red deer, while Cowal’s coast is home to porpoises and seals. In summer you can expect to find ospreys feeding in Loch Lomond while the varied forest landscape of The Trossachs is home to red squirrels, black grouse, pine martens and otters.
Its Two Forest Parks
Within the Trossachs National Park there are two Forest Parks – Queen Elizabeth in the Trossachs and Argyll in Cowal. The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park affords a magical atmosphere with wonderful wildlife species roaming through the forest. By foot, bike or horseback, begin your journey from The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre near Aberfoyle where you can choose which trail to embark on. Whether you choose The Three Lochs Forest Drive which uncovers the heart of the forest or simply head to Loch Ard for a gentle, tranquil stroll, the choice of adventure is at your fingertips. Soak up the scenery and feast your eyes on some of Scotland’s most loved locations.
Craggy mountain peaks, rolling glens, lochs and fast-paced rivers, Argyll Forest Park is full of life and wonder. Established back in 1935, Argyll is Britain’s oldest Forest Park. Its lands stretch from an inlet of the Firth of Clyde, to the peaks of the Arrochar Alps. The Highland Boundary Fault created Argyll’s breath-taking scenery. This park is also a popular spot for avid cyclers as it offers cracking cross-country mountain bike routes including a circuit round the Argyll peninsula.
Discover Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is famous for a variety of reasons, and its rich culture and wildlife continues to develop every day. You’re never short of adventure or a pretty sight when you visit. Whether it’s a daytrip, road trip or weekend break, Loch Lomond should be at the top of your bucket list.
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