If you are a keen cyclist, it’s worth bringing your own bike for the routes — the rentals are not the best
Loch Katrine is the heart of the Trossachs, in place and spirit. This 13km long fresh water loch is the crowing jewel in an area of breathtaking natural beauty. It has its place in Scottish folklore, too: the name Loch Katrine comes from the Gaelic word ceathairne meaning cattle thief, which of course refers to the nation’s favourite outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor.
Between April and October, two boats run from the Trossachs Pier on the eastern bank of Loch Katrine. One of the boats is the historic SS Sir Walter Scott — time your trip to take this steamer out and then enjoy the picturesque walk back along the side of the Loch. Other outdoors activities include two nearby hikes to the rugged Ben A’an or Ben Venue, and also fly fishing for trout, which is permitted on the Loch from spring to autumn.
Sir Walter Scott got his own steamship by virtue of his famous poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’, which was inspired by the beauty of Loch Katrine. He wasn’t alone: English romantic poets including Samuel Coleridge and Williams Wordsworth also fell under its spell.
The Scottish Robin Hood
Rob Roy was born at Glengyle, at the head of Loch Katrine. At the age of eighteen he and his father joined the Jacobite rising led by Viscount ‘Bonnie’ Dundee to support the Stuart King James II. It ended badly for the Gregor clan, with the chief in prison and his wife dead.
Versions of events differ thereafter, but Rob Roy was branded an outlaw for defaulting on loans and subsequently waged a private blood feud against the Duke of Montrose. Imprisoned in 1722, he was pardoned by popular demand after he became a legend in his own lifetime due to various fictionalised accounts of his life — which must have felt like a rather surreal stroke of luck.
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