Loch Tay has long held a special place in the hearts of Team Haggis. The combination of the loch surrounded by the Ben Lawers mountain range has always made us feel like we’ve come home.
The loch itself is the largest in Perthshire and one of the deepest in Scotland. Stretching 15 miles in length and around 508ft deep, it’s a haven for swimmers, paddleboarders and jet skiers to name a few. The development of the Taymouth Marina has meant that it’s become a popular spot for water enthusiasts.
Heading up the A9 towards Pitlochry, take the Ballinluig junction towards Aberfeldy. Make sure you stop at the Highland Chocolatier for a sweet fix. The Grandtully Hotel is in the small village of Grandtully and has a great bar restaurant. There’s even a shop which stocks amazing mueslis, drinks and crisps so you can treat yourself for your trip.
Take your time on the drive onwards to Aberfeldy; the scenery is just breath taking. Aberfeldy is full of wee shops and cafes which are worth a visit. If you want to stretch your legs, the Birks of Aberfeldy are a great place for a walk. You can follow a path from the main square in Aberfeldy and head along the path, bearing left to cross the bridge over the Moness burn. Along the walk you’ll find ‘Burns Seat’; named after The Bard who is said to have stopped for a rest there in 1877 and found inspiration for his poem ‘The Birks of Aberfeldy’.
The road from Aberfeldy to Kenmore is a twisty one but again the scenery remains amazing. As you arrive in Kenmore, follow the road round the to right and you’ll find yourself at the south end of the loch, looking right up towards Ben Lawers on the right.
Kenmore has several cafes and restaurants that you can enjoy. The Ferryman’s Inn on the left of the loch has a great outdoor area where you can relax and take in the views. There’s also the ‘Hotbox’ – a sauna with a chute that takes you straight into the loch – not for the fainthearted!
History tells us that ancient settlers once lived on Loch Tay, inhabiting artificially created islands known as crannogs. There are eighteen crannogs on Loch Tay, most of which are now submerged. The Crannog Centre was a great attraction for visitors but sadly burnt down several years ago – here’s hoping it will be restored for others to enjoy in the future.
The shingle beach in Kenmore is perfect for sunbathing or a wee paddle. It is so shallow that the water is very warm when it’s sunny so you don’t even need a wetsuit. But maybe don’t try it in January… The Paper Boat does great takeaway coffee and cake so you can sit on the beach and soak up the views. At Dalerb, 1.5 miles west of Kenmore there is a parking area and picnic tables close to the water.
If you follow the road round the right-hand side of the loch, heading north along the A827, you’ll pass through Fearnan before reaching the foot of Ben Lawers. The 10th highest mountain in Britain, it sits looking over Loch Tay. Measuring at 3983 feet tall, it just falls short of the 4000 feet mark. Apparently, back in 1879, some felt so strongly about this fact, that a group spent one day at the top of the mountain building a cairn about twenty-feet high to keep its head above the 4000ft magic number! The south and west ridges of Ben Lawers are home to some of the most beautiful alpine flowers in Britain. Due to the abundance of these rare alpine flowers, it is now designated as a national nature reserve.
The range is also home to The Scottish Freedom Series – it’s Scotland’s Big Mountain Freeride Tour and the British Freeride Championships. Ben Lawers is usually the first in the series of this extreme skiing events based around some of Scotland’s finest off-piste locations.
Approximately 8 miles from Ben Lawers is the village of Killin, with the beautiful Falls of Dochart situated in the centre of the town. Killin runs from the Falls of Dochart and ends towards the west of Loch Tay.
The area is full of history and has several historical sites including the Finlarig Castle and the Standing Stone Circle. If you fancy a gentle stroll the Killin and Loch Tay walks are short and sweet, but you’re rewarded with great views of the loch and rivers.
But it’s not just beautiful scenery and walks in this area. Nae Limits offer a range of adventurous activities including gorge walking, white water rafting, quad biking and canyoning to name a few. If that’s a bit much for you, you can enjoy a drive with Highland Adventure Safari.
The heart of Highland Perthshire in Scotland is not only a great place for activities and outdoor pursuits, it is also one of those parts of Scotland that seems to have something for everyone – simply a lovely part of the world to spend time in, in pursuit of the great outdoors.
There are several places for tourers but here are 3 of our favourites;
Aberfeldy Caravan Park – Aberfeldy Caravan Park
Fonab caravan park camping site Pitlochry just off the A9 route
Maragowan Caravan Club Site
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