For anyone travelling to Scotland in the hopes of seeing the surprising wildlife this country has to offer, then the Trossachs National Park should definitely be part of your itinerary. Not only do you have an excellent chance of spotting some iconic animals, but this also happens to be one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of the United Kingdom.
Picture perfect lochs, surrounded by green hills and snow-capped mountains, the Trossachs is home to 22 lochs (a mix of fresh water and ocean). And the highlight is the world famous Loch Lomond at the heart of it.
Loch Lomond is the jewel in the crown, and for good reason. It’s Britain’s largest freshwater lake, and along with Loch Ness it’s possibly it’s most photographed. The loch lies on the Highland Boundary Fault, often considered to be dividing line between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands to the North. With a plethora of both water and land based activities around the entire region there will be something here for everyone.
So whether it’s the wildlife or the views you are here for, fear not, we have the low down on the best things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
Best way to see Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
- Get panoramic views of Loch Lomond from the Cashel Forest Trail – If you want a birds-eye view of the loch then there are few better places to get them than from the viewpoint at Cashel Forest. The trails begins at the Forest centre and climbs gently through the native forest. You can enjoy nice views from the trail, but be sure not miss the final viewpoint for simply spectacular views over the loch below. You can enjoy the native vegetation and if you’re lucky you may be able to spot the resident adders, deer and pine martens.
- On the other side of the loch is the small waterside village of Luss. A favourite of the tour busses so make sure you arrive early or late if you’re visiting in summer. The quaint town is full of traditional stone cottages and beautiful trails along the water’s edge. Some excellent photographic opportunities are on offer and Luss is possibly the quaintest place we’ve ever seen!
- And it’s also from Luss that you can jump on a boat for a cruise around the loch. Cruise Loch Lomond depart from a number of points around the loch and offer relaxing boat tours with informative commentary. It’s a really nice alternative way to see the loch, especially on a sunny day. Wildlife sightings are common, on our trip we saw a pair of osprey, a number of deer and a few highland cattle. You can even spot the odd wallaby hopping around. Yep, that’s correct, the small Australian marsupial. How they got there is another story.
- Spend a few hours on Inchcailloch – Loch Lomond has over 30 islands dotted around the massive expanse of water. Many are privately owned, but a few are accessible to the public. Inchcailloch is one of those and a must visit for those in the area. The are 2 walking trails on the island and leisurely walking both with a few photo stops should take about 90 mins. Be sure to explore the centre of the island on the connecting path as this is a prime spot to catch a glimpse of the wild deer who live on the island. We saw several deer at this point.
- But remember, the Trossachs are about much more than just Loch Lomond. Make sure you put aside a day to explore the other lochs in the area. Loch Long, Loch Tay, Loch Earn all boast simply stunning views and hidden trails which could keep you going for weeks and are a little bit off the tourist trail.
Top spot for wildlife
We had fantastic viewing of roe deer on the Island of Inchcailloch (see above).
Where to stay
Just a leisurely 20 minute drive from the shores of Loch Lomond and situated in the tranquil surrounds of Loch Long is the stunning Knockderry House Hotel. If you ever dreamed of staying in your quintessential Scottish Country House, looking out over the water, then this is the place for you. Add in fantastic service, beautiful rooms and a candlelit bath overlooking the Loch and it really is a perfect spot for honeymooners and those looking to add in a bit of luxury to their Scottish itinerary.
We stayed in Room 2 (highly recommended) and were fortunate to have perfect views over the water. You also have to see the hidden bathroom, it’s like something from a movie. Make sure you don’t miss the yummy breakfast and we hear the dinner is just amazing.
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Take care and keep an eye out for our next article, as we head north towards Oban and the Hebrides.