Loch Katrine Circuit

SS Sir Walter Scott

SS Sir Walter Scott

This easy walk (and cycle for those, suitably afflicted) is a great day out in the Trossachs. It also helps that the first third is on board a lovely old steam ship who isn’t coy about letting you look at her shiny engine: yes, the SS Sir Walter Scott. And it helps to pick a calm day, as we did, so that the reflections of the woods and hills in the water is stunning.

Reflections in Loch Katrine

Reflections in Loch Katrine

Ship's wake

Ship’s wake

A relaxing hour’s trip on Walter takes you from the Trossach’s Pier to Stronachlachar.  It’s a great trip with a bit of useful commentary and a pleasant crew: the only downside was the piped tartan music, but we were probably not the usual audience.  The Trust maintaining Walter is doing a great job with an attractive pier as well as the ship.  Recommended.  We got off at Stronachlachar: we were the only walkers in with the cyclists and so my worry of having to make conversation with fellow walkers was avoided; and of course we’ll soon get rid of the bike-types.

Old gravestone, Glengyle House,

Old gravestone, Glengyle House,

Glengyle House

Glengyle House

The walk, now part of the grandly named Great Trossachs Path, follows the forest/reservoir road all the way around the loch.  It’s nice walking although some gratuitously steep bits are thrown in for fun.  Once the bikers have gone we had the place to ourselves, and it was wonderfully quiet.  Loch Katrine is a big loch 1, and first we need to head round to the head of the loch near the site where Rob Roy 2 was born.  Some well-placed interpretation boards mentioned a clan graveyard behind the house – got to go find that – something not on the map and so ignored by the sad people who don’t love interpretation boards!

Highland Cow, Loch Katrine, 2

Jazz’s friend

Oak Woods

Oak Woods

Ellen's Isle

Ellen’s Isle

It takes a couple of hours to come around the loch to point immediately opposite  Stronachlachar, barely a kilometre away.  You get a great view down the loch so you can see how much you have to walk.  The deciduous woods on this side are lovely and would obviously repay a return in Spring.  It’s then just a wander along the tarmac back to the pier, taking in the scenery, chatting to the Highland Cows, and avoiding the midges.

Reservoir decorationThings went downhill (figuratively) around 2km from the pier as this seems to be the limit of people walking from their tourist coaches: the solitude and quiet disappeared, but this only spoiled the last half hour – and we just had to look at the scenery to lift our spirits again.  You can see why its such a popular place: it is stunning, and with a bit of effort you can have it to yourself (although probably not on a Bank Holiday!).

Notes:

  1. It supplies Glasgow with its water and as well as being big it is also deep at 140m.
  2. Other, mostly fictional, historical characters are available from VisitScotland.
Distance:22km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again:
Duration:5½ hours