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Scotland’s Lochs

Explore the serene beauty of Scotland's lochs with our guided tours. Discover legendary waters and scenic vistas.

A loch is a Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or a sea inlet, pronounced “lok”. In general, it refers to a body of water that is surrounded by land, whether it’s freshwater or saltwater. Lochs are a common feature of the Scottish landscape, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, where they often form stunning focal points within the rugged and picturesque terrain. Lochs can vary greatly in size, depth, and characteristics, ranging from small, secluded bodies of water nestled in valleys to vast expanses of water that stretch for miles. They play significant roles in Scotland’s natural environment, providing habitats for various flora and fauna and offering recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike.

It’s difficult to provide an exact count of the number of lochs in Scotland because there are so many of them, ranging from large and well-known ones to small, unnamed bodies of water. Estimates suggest there are tens of thousands of lochs across Scotland, varying greatly in size, depth, and characteristics.

Loch Ness is Scotland’s (and arguably the world’s) most famous loch and the biggest by volume. It contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined! It stretches for about 23 miles (37 kilometres) southwest of Inverness. Loch Ness is also famous for the legendary Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as “Nessie,” which has captured the imagination of people around the world for decades.

Scotland’s deepest loch is Loch Morar, located in the West Highlands. It reaches a depth of approximately 310 meters (1,017 feet). Loch Morar is known for its stunning scenery and remote location, surrounded by mountains and moorland. It’s also notable for its folklore, including stories of a mysterious creature, Morag, similar to the Loch Ness Monster who is said to inhabit its depths.

Scotland’s largest loch by surface area is Loch Lomond. It covers an area of approximately 27 square miles (71 square kilometres) and is located in the Trossachs National Park (Scotland’s first National Park) in the southern part of the Scottish Highlands. Loch Lomond is not only the largest freshwater loch in Scotland but also one of the most scenic, with its stunning landscapes, islands, and surrounding mountains attracting visitors from around the world. It is a loch dotted with 30 or so islands, notable ones include: Inchconnachan, home to a colony of wallabies (yes, really) and Inchmurrin, Britain’s largest inland island and home to Scotland’s oldest nudist club.

Scotland’s lochs are all about kicking back and soaking in nature’s beauty, surrounded by rugged landscapes and calm waters. Whether you’re up for checking out old castles, getting into outdoor activities, or just chilling out, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, you can’t beat the wildlife spotting and snapping some cool pics while you’re at it.