The Beauty of the Lochs of Scotland

For those looking for peace, escape and the special wonders of the Scottish landscape , the pristine lochs of Scotland offer a unique travel experience.
Loch is a Scottish gaelic word for a lake or fjord It has been estimated that there are more than. 30,000 freshwater lochs of all sizes in Scotland, located mostly in the Western isles and Scottish Highlands.

Most large lochs are formed as a result of U-shaped valleys carved out by glaciers where rivers run into and leave a body of water. Smaller lochs can be created by the formation of glaciers on mountain sides creating catchments for loch water to sit in.

One of the most iconic sites in the country, Loch Ness is best known for its eponymous mythical monster. Located on the outskirts of the city of Inverness, the Loch is the second-largest in Scotland but the most famous. One of the most beautiful places in the country, the Loch is worth visiting for its breathtaking views-as well as for the chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie.

Scotland’s largest loch, Loch Lomond is one of the country’s most spectacular natural wonders. One of the country’s most popular tourism destinations, the Loch caters to a variety of different interests, offering the best quality camping, fishing and boating activities in the country.

Loch Katrine is asmaller , more isolated and secluded loch about an hour from Loch Lomond and Stirling reached by an at times rough single lane road which winds past other smaller lochs and forests . For those that make it here , the 100 year old steamer, the Sir Walter Scott, named after the famous Scottish writer ,offers cruises on this hidden gem of lochs located deep in the heart of Scotland.


Here are a list of Scotland’s most spectacular lochs . Content, links and photographs courtesy of Visit Scotland –


Lochs of Harray and Stenness Orkney

Almost resembling the lungs of Orkney’s Mainland, these two beautiful lochs are only separated at their narrowest point by a slender causeway. The surrounding area contains arguably the richest Neolithic archaeology in Europe. Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. History is still being uncovered at the important Ness of Brodgar site and both lochs are popular with anglers.

Find out more about the Ring of Brodgar: Lochs of Harray and Stenness

Loch Maree
Wester Ross area

One of Scotland’s loveliest lochs, this Wester Ross waterway is popular for fishing and wildlife watching. On the south shore is Beinn Eighe. Established in 1951, this mountain reserve along with Loch Maree Islands, forms the UK’s oldest National Nature Reserve. The area is also very popular with hillwalkers.

Explore the beautiful Loch Maree: Loch Maree

Loch Affric

Glen Affric is regarded by many as Scotland’s most beautiful glen and this mesmerising wild place is ideal for spotting golden eagles, ospreys, red deer and red squirrels. Hemmed in by mountains, a good track around the loch leads through ancient pinewoods and open land and is ideal for walking and mountain biking. The area is very popular with anglers, paddlers and hillwalkers.

Learn more about Glen Affric: Loch Affric

Loch Ness

This famous loch contains more freshwater than all the lakes of England and Wales put together and forms part of the Caledonian Canal. At over 23 miles long and 226 metres deep.Learn about the loch and its infamous beastie at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition and visit mighty Urquhart Castle. Pull on your boots and admire the scenery from the South Loch Ness Trail or the Great Glen Way, or for the experienced, paddle along the Great Glen Canoe Trail.

Discover the magic of Loch Ness: Loch Ness

Loch Morar

Follow the Road to the Isles (Rathad nan Eilean) either by road, or rail aboard the Jacobite Steam Railway, to find the deepest loch in Scotland and the UK. At 310 metres deep and nearly 12 miles long, it’s a stunner, . If you leave the train at Morar, it’s possible to walk a rewarding 9-mile route along the loch to Tarbert on Loch Nevis and take a ferry (book in advance) back to Mallaig.

Find all you need to know about Loch Morar: Loch Morar

Loch Muick
Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire

Pronounced Loch “Mick”, this Aberdeenshire loch, south-west of Ballater, has royal connections and lies within the Balmoral Estate. The estate and the loch was beloved by Queen Victoria, who would often stay at the Glas-allt-Shiel lodge on the north shore. The nearby mountain of Lochnagar, with its sheer 200 m cliffs, is a favourite of King Charles. There are several Munros in the area, making it popular with hillwalkers, but an 8-mile lower-level circuit of the loch is also a very rewarding experience.

Explore all that Loch Muick has to offer: Loch Muick
Explore the circuit on the Walk Highlands website: Loch Muick

Loch Tay

The Highland Perthshire setting for Loch Tay, Scotland’s sixth largest, is simply stunning. There’s a long history of settlement around the loch dating back to the Iron Age, when residents lived in man-made “crannogs”. More than 20 crannog sites have been identified and you can visit a reconstruction of one at the newly reopened Scottish Crannog Centre. It was constructed with the help of research conducted during an underwater excavation of one such prehistoric dwelling at Fearnan. Visit the villages of Kenmore and Killin, explore the Falls of Acharn, climb Ben Lawers’ seven Munros, take a cruise with Loch Tay Safaris, or visit local chocolatier, Charlotte Flower.

Find inspiring information about Loch Tay: Loch Tay
Visit the newly reopened Scottish Crannog Centre: Loch Tay

Loch Awe

At 25 miles long, Loch Awe is Scotland’s longest loch and a popular spot for trout fishing. Like Loch Tay, many ancient crannog sites have been found in this loch. See the ruins of a castle on Innis Chonnell. Or visit Kilchurn, an iconic Clan Campbell stronghold at the head of the loch

Plan a trip to the awesome Loch Awe: Loch Awe

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is the largest loch in Scotland and the UK’s largest body of freshwater. It’s easily accessible from Glasgow and is the jewel in the crown of Scotland’s first National Park. A climb to the top of Conic Hill along the West Highland Way, or to the summit of Ben Lomond reveals a remarkable vista of loch, mountains, islands and the Highland Boundary Fault. Take a loch cruise, choose from an array of watersports, enjoy a round of golf or simply relax and absorb the views.

Plan your Loch Lomond adventure: Loch Lomond

Loch Fyne

On the west coast, you’ll find many spectacular fjord-like sea lochs cutting deep into the Scottish mainland, the longest of which is Loch Fyne. Running 40 miles from the Kyles of Bute to Achadunan, the loch is well-known for its bountiful larder. Don’t miss Fyne Ales Farm Brewery, Loch Fyne Oysters, Loch Fyne Whiskies, Fyne Preserves and Inver Restaurant. If you’re interested in history, then a visit to Inveraray Castle, Inveraray Jail or Auchindrain Township should satisfy your appetite!

Learn more about Inveraray and Loch Fyne: Loch Fyne

Loch Katrine

This lovely waterway has been Glasgow’s main water supply since Victorian times.Take a steamship cruise from Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar for a loch’s eye view of the scenery. Or take the cruise one way and cycle back along the traffic-free loch-side road. You’ll find the Clan MacGregor Burial Ground, opposite Black Island along the way. For incredible views of Loch Katrine, take a short, steep climb up Ben A’an.

Discover the adventures awaiting at Loch Katrine: Loch Katrine

Loch Leven

Nestling in the shadows of West Lomond and Bishop’s Hill, this loch’s historical connections include the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots on Castle Island in 1567. Take the excellent, and mainly flat, 13-mile Loch Leven Heritage Trail around the loch to fantastic eateries at Loch Leven’s Larder and Loch Leven Lodges.

Plan what to see and do at Loch Leven: Loch Leven

Destination – Scotland