Discovering the Beauty of Loch Arklet in the Trossachs
Nestled in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, the stunning Loch Arklet offers breathtaking views and a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
If you're interested in hiking, fishing, or simply taking in the area's natural beauty, Loch Arklet has something for everyone. The freshwater loch is surrounded by rolling hills, providing a peaceful and serene environment for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Plus, with its close proximity to other popular destinations in the national park, such as Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond, Loch Arklet is the perfect addition to any Trossachs itinerary.
Loch Arklet is a hidden gem in the Trossachs area of the Scottish Highlands, situated to the east of Loch Lomond, with which the Arklet Water connects it. Being sandwiched between two famous lochs, Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, makes it an ideal location for those who want to explore the area's natural beauty.
As seen in the photo above, the Arrochar Alps are a spectacular backdrop for this loch, especially when they are capped with snow. The loch is fairly small compared to some in Scotland at 2.5 miles long by 0.5 miles wide... a small loch but very beautiful.
How to get to Loch Arklet
Access to Loch Arklet is via the Inversnaid road from Aberfoyle (B829). The road is a single track with passing places, so driving carefully and being aware of other vehicles is important. The journey to this remote loch takes around 30 minutes and is well worth it for the stunning views along the way.
Where to park at Loch Arklet
Parking is not great along the loch. The single-track road has many passing places but nowhere to park for any length of time. There is a small car park at Inversnaid Upper Car Park, which is some distance from the loch (1.5 km / 1 mile).
History of Loch Arklet
Loch Arklet's rich history dates back to the early 19th century. The loch was originally created as a reservoir to supply water to Glasgow in 1855 for both drinking water and hydraulic power for industry. The construction of the reservoir was a massive undertaking that required the creation of a dam to block the River Arklet. The dam was completed in 1859, and the loch was filled with water.
During World War II, Loch Arklet was used for military training exercises. Soldiers practised crossing the loch in boats and setting up camp on its shores. After the war, the loch became a popular destination for fishing and boating enthusiasts.
Loch Arklet wildlife
Today, Loch Arklet is part of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, established in 1953. The park covers over 50,000 acres of land and is home to a variety of wildlife. Visitors can explore the park's many trails and enjoy stunning views of the loch and surrounding mountains.
Loch Arklet is a beautiful location for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. The surrounding forest and hills provide a perfect habitat for various animals and plants. Visitors can expect to see a range of wildlife, including red deer, otters, ospreys, golden eagles... and maybe even feral goats!
The loch itself is home to brown trout, pike, and perch, making it a popular spot for fishing.
It's important to remember to be respectful of the wildlife and their habitats while visiting Loch Arklet. Visitors are encouraged to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and avoid disturbing animals or plants. Local rangers and park authorities remind visitors that wild creatures have become used to the absence of humans during lockdowns and urge visitors to be mindful of their presence.
Activities for Tourists
Loch Arklet and its surrounding area offer a variety of activities for tourists to enjoy. Whether you prefer outdoor adventures or more relaxed activities, there is something for everyone.
Loch Arklet is a popular spot for fishing, with its clear waters and abundance of trout. Visitors can purchase permits to fish from Loch Katrine Fisheries on 01877 386374. Boats can be hired from the west side of the loch (only electric engines - no petrol engines are allowed). Fishing from the shore is not allowed.
The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park offers marked forest trails for cycling enthusiasts. The trails are suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced riders.
The surrounding hills and mountains provide a stunning backdrop for hiking. There are several trails to choose from, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The popular West Highland Way also passes through the area along the shores of Loch Lomond.
Several trails around the loch offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Arklet Falls Trail is a popular choice, which takes you through the forest to a beautiful waterfall. The Loch Arklet Trail is another great option, which takes you around the entire loch and offers breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding hills.
If you're planning a trip to Loch Arklet, you'll need a place to stay. Fortunately, there are a few options available in the area. Here are some of the most popular:
Garrison of Inversnaid
Loch Arklet House
Wild Camping: If you're looking for a more adventurous option, try wild camping. The National Park offers plenty of places to immerse yourself in some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland. However, please note that wild camping is not allowed everywhere, so check the rules and regulations before setting up camp.
Whichever option you choose, book well in advance, especially during peak season. Loch Arklet is a popular tourist destination, and accommodation can fill up quickly.
Dining and Refreshment Options
While there are no restaurants or cafes at Loch Arklet itself, there are several options for dining and refreshments nearby:
The Forth Inn, located in nearby Aberfoyle, is a popular spot for traditional Scottish pub food and drinks.
The Clachan Inn, south of Aberfoyle, offers a variety of dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients.
The Wee Blether Tearoom, located in the Trossachs Discovery Centre, is an excellent option for those looking for light bites and refreshments.
There are several picnic areas around the loch for those who prefer to bring their own food. For example, the popular picnic spot at Stronachlachar on the shores of Loch Katrine is a short distance northeast of Loch Arklet.
It's worth noting that there are no shops or stores near Loch Arklet, so bringing any necessary snacks or drinks with you is recommended.
Tips for Visitors
If you're planning a visit to Loch Arklet, here are some tips to help make your trip enjoyable:
Wear comfortable shoes suitable for hiking, as the terrain around the loch can be uneven.
Bring insect repellent, as midges can be a nuisance during the warmer months.
Check the weather forecast before your trip, and be prepared for changing conditions, especially if you plan to hike around the loch.
Bring a camera to capture the stunning scenery around the loch, including the surrounding hills and forests.
Consider renting a kayak or canoe to explore the loch from the water.
Respect the natural environment and wildlife around the loch by taking any litter with you and avoiding disturbing the animals.
What other lochs are near Loch Arklet?
Loch Lomond: The largest freshwater loch in Scotland, Loch Lomond is famous for its stunning beauty and diverse outdoor activities. It is situated just southwest of Loch Arklet.
Loch Katrine: Located to the east of Loch Arklet, Loch Katrine is a popular tourist destination known for its serene beauty and its historical association with Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lady of the Lake." It is also the primary water reservoir for the city of Glasgow.
Loch Chon: A smaller loch situated north of Loch Arklet, Loch Chon is known for its tranquillity and natural beauty, making it an excellent spot for fishing and wildlife watching.
Loch Ard: Found just southeast of Loch Chon, there is a fantastic walk here that can easily be completed in about two and a half hours.
Loch Venachar: Located further east of Loch Arklet, Loch Venachar is a picturesque loch surrounded by woodlands and hills and is popular for boating, fishing, and various water sports.
Loch Drunkie: A smaller loch between Loch Venachar and Loch Achray, Loch Drunkie is known for its peaceful atmosphere and is a popular spot for picnics and leisurely walks.
Loch Achray: Situated east of Loch Arklet, Loch Achray is a scenic loch with stunning views of the surrounding Trossachs hills, making it an ideal destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
Key information on Loch Arklet
Loch Arklet is situated in the Stirling council area of Scotland, within the Trossachs National Park.
Loch Arklet is 2.5 miles long by 0.5 miles wide.
The Loch was created as a freshwater reservoir for Glasgow and has a Victorian-era dam on its west bank.
An electric boat can be hired for fishing.
Wildlife is abundant on and around the loch.
Corrie Arklet Farm near the loch shore is where Rob Roy (a famous Scottish hero) was married.
Loch Lomond often steals the limelight for beautiful lochs in west Scotland, why not visit its smaller neighbour Loch Arklet instead? You won't be disappointed.
Main photo credit: Graham Norrie Photography.
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