England and Wales aren’t the only countries in the United Kingdom with wonderful national parks. Scotland also pulls its weight when it comes to magnificent countryside scenery. One of the finest parks north of the border is Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This is also one of Britain’s newer parks as it was established back in 2002. The park itself is about 720 square miles in total size and is filled with some beautiful diverse landscapes.
The Trossachs are known as an attractive belt of lochs and hills stretching right across the border that separates the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. In this part of the country, the mountains that are higher than 3,000 feet are known as Munros. This is in honor of the man who listed them first. There are 20 of these Munros with Ben More being the biggest of them all at a height of 3,852 feet.
(photo credit: yahl)
The park is essentially divided into three separate regions. These are the forests, mountains, and hills of the Trossachs: Argyll Forest, Loch Lomond, and Breadalbane. Loch Lomond is known as the largest freshwater lake in all of Britain while Breadalbane features rugged glens and majestic mountains. Argyll Forest is regarded as the first forest park in Britain and it reaches out across the seacoast.
As well as being the home to the famous Loch Lomond, there are close to two dozen other large lakes in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park along with numerous smaller lakes and about 50 rivers. Because there’s so much water in the park, it’s only natural to find various water sports being among the most popular activities there.
These include fishing and sailing and you’ll also find about 40 miles of saltwater coastline on the sea. Some of the fish which can be caught include seat trout, salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, grayling, and pike. The fishing’s so good here, that there are numerous fisheries to be found inside of the park.
If you prefer land to water, there are numerous hiking trails in the region, including the famous West Highland Way. This is the country’s well-known long-distance hiking path and it winds its way through the heart of the park. There’s also a path for cyclists, which is named the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path.
You’ll be able to rent a bike in many communities of the park and boats are rented out for those who’d like to try their hand at fishing. The park’s quite popular with birdwatchers as well since there are several interesting species to be found here such as ospreys, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles.
In addition, the capercaillie, which is the largest grouse in the world, makes its home in the region. For plant lovers, you’ll be glad to know that about 25% of the UK’s species of flowering wild plants grow within the park borders. If you’d like to take your time when exploring the park and spend a few nights camping out, there are plenty of caravan parks and campgrounds within the borders.
It’s believed that 50% of Scotland’s population resides within an hour’s drive from the park. You can take a bus from large cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh to Balloch, which is known as the gateway to the park. Trains run to Balloch, Fort William, and Oban and many of the small communities are connected by bus routes.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. However, make sure you dress appropriately, as it can get cold during the winters in Scotland.