Newest Review: ... of the loch, Rob Roy fought in the Jacobite risings supporting King James who had been deposed by William of Orange. Ben Venue or the hil... more
Sail on this lovely Loch
Loch Katrine (Scotland)
Member Name: jo@145
Loch Katrine (Scotland)
Advantages: Natural Loch, choice of boats to sail on or just walk and enjoy.
Disadvantages: May be too rough to go on boat!
~ Where is it? ~
Just ¾hour from Stirling, 1 hour from Glasgow and 1¼ hours from Edinburgh. All these cities have Railway Stations, and it's fairly easy to get to Callander, which is the nearest town where you can then catch the Trossach Trundler from there to the Trossachs Pier. Although a car is the easiest way to cover the 10 miles from Callander! The drive along the A84 to Kilmahog and then the A821 through Brig o' Turk, or from Aberfoyle along the A821 through the Duke's Pass, either way the scenery is beautiful and a lovely ride to enjoy the countryside.
There are hotels and B&B's in Aberfoyle and Callander and also a hotel near by at Loch Achray so it is easy to visit and enjoy for a full day or more.
~ Loch Katrine ~
The loch is a freshwater loch in the district of Stirling. It is roughly 8 miles long by 2/3 of a mile wide and runs the length of Strath Gartney. It is a popular destination for tourists and day visitors from Glasgow and other nearby towns. Loch Katrine is owned by Scottish Water and is the primary water reservoir for much of the city of Glasgow and its surrounding areas.
Oil-fired vessels are not permitted to sail in the Loch due to the danger of pollution to the drinking water of Glasgow. Instead a coke-burning, steam-powered boat named the SS Sir Walter Scott, offered local tourist transport between Trossachs Pier and Stronachlachar during summer or shorter trips on the Loch. The boat has since been converted to run on bio fuel. Robert Roy MacGregor was born at the head of the loch, Rob Roy fought in the Jacobite risings supporting King James who had been deposed by William of Orange.
Ben Venue or the hill of the caves, towers over the southern side of Loch Katrine with Ben A'an on the north side of the pass, but only visible from the water or the approach road. Ellen's isle was used in times of trouble as a refuge by the women and children of the MacGregor Clan. The peninsula close by, 'am Priosan' is reputed to be one of the places where Rob Roy MacGregor hid the cattle he 'lifted' from richer neighbours.
~ What's at the Trossachs Pier? ~
When we went early in August , admittedly it was a beautiful sunny day but it was very busy and difficult to park. The car park spaces were full and cars abandoned rather than parked around the edges! The coach spaces were full and our coach made the third one parked waiting for a space. Fortunately when the boats came back in several coaches left and there was more space! There is a toilet block - just 4 toilets for Ladies, so there was always a queue! Not sure about the gents and one for Disabled. In the centre of the car park was a kiosk for buying tickets , where there was a queue and the other side sold ice creams, drinks and snacks, where can you guess? There was an even longer queue!
There is a restaurant, called the Katrine café, where you can enjoy a scone and coffee or a bowl of homemade soup or baked potatoes, etc if it's cold. Full lunches are available and you can have a glass of wine too.
The Katrine gift shop was the former boat house and has a wide range of gifts if you want to buy a souvenir after your visit.
Katrinewheelz is the place to hire a bike so that you can cycle along the side of the loch, prices vary with the size and type of bike and length of time it is hired for, you maybe only want a couple of hiours or you prefer a half or full day. There are even electric bikes! Altghough it is recommended to book in advance, there seemed to be a good stock of bikes and we saw lots of people cycling when we were on the boat .
There was a covered area where people queued and a display of what homes would have been like in many years ago in Rob Roy's day.
The Stronachlachar Pier Tearoom is open during the holiday season and it is possible to fish at that end of the Loch too, electric boats are available for hire. Trout and pike is the fish you can try to catch. A picturesque island - Eilean Dharag - lies just off the pier. The 13 mile tarmac road back to the Trossachs Pier is quiet as very few cars are allowed.
~ The Boats ~
SS Sir Walter Scott
The SS Sir Walter Scott was refurbished a few years ago and hopefully will continue to sail for many years, it has been on Loch Katrine for over 100 years! There were bench seats on deck and a tarpaulin type cover, but had it been raining, it wouldn't have been so nice! There is a saloon if you prefer to be inside and also toilet facilities and a small kiosk selling drinks and refreshments. As you travel, the tales and legends of the loch was narrated by a member of the ship's crew, and you could enjoy the scenery which captured the imagination of Sir Walter Scott, inspiring him to write his poem "The Lady of the Lake". She is 110 ft long and 19 feet wide. The 2 hour cruise to Stronachlachar leaves at 10.30 and you can have a single ticket or return, there is a little room to take a bike for you to cycle back at an additional cost! The afternoon trips are from 1.30 and 3.00 during April to the end of October.
The Lady of the Lake
A smaller boat with a large heated saloon and some seating on top, we didn't go on it so I can't comment vwery much. Sailing at 11.30am and 1.00 daily from the end of May to September it costs £10.50 for adults, £9.50 concessions and £7.50 for children or 50p for under 5's for a 1 hour panoramic cruise, or £14.50 for adults for the 2 hour cruise in the afternoon.
~ Extras ~
You can buy Gift vouchers as a gift for someone, or enjoy events at special times throughout the season, like an evening cruise with a fiddler playing or you can even get married on the boat.
If the weather conditions are unsuitable the boat sailings may be cancelled. It is advisable to book in advance as during the summer months it is a popular destination and the sailings may be booked, this can be done online.
~ A wee bit of Poetry ~
Sir Walter Scott wrote his famous poem called the Lady of the Lake after visiting Loch Katrine, although it is a Loch and not a Lake! The only Lake in Scotland is not far away from there though and is called the Lake of Menteith. Here is a snippet from a a very long and beautiful poem:-
Loch Katrine lay beneath him rolled,
In all her length far winding lay,
With promontory, creek, and bay,
And islands that, empurpled bright,
Floated amid the livelier light,
And mountains that like giants stand
To sentinel enchanted land.
~ Verdict ~
Loch Katrine is very pretty with interesting little islands, some with lovely heather and even some figures representing Rob Roy and although it was very busy at the Trossachs Pier, once we were aboard the boat the peaceful countryside was so relaxing as we cruised along. A place I'll happily visit again, and not a midge was in sight whilst we were there! You can walk, cycle or sail, bring a picnic or eat at the cafe. Somewhere to enjoy Scotland's beautiful scenery.
Summary: Loch that provides Glasgow with water and is a place of beauty.
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