Loch Katrine Eco Camping
Loch Katrine, By Callander, Stirling, Perthshire FK17 8HZ
It’s not always clear which is the biggest attraction at Loch Katrine. The water itself – a nine-mile-long S shape in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park – or the 100-year-old single screw passenger steamship (the last of her kind) that sails across it. The world-famous steamer Sir Walter Scott came here in 1899 by barge, boat and horse-drawn carriage before being painstakingly re-assembled for her maiden voyage. For today’s vessel visitors it’s a far easier ride. A one-hour drive from Glasgow, a little more from Edinburgh, or the sleeper train from London to Stirling affording you a little less stress on your journey north. From Stirling, it's just a short drive into the spellbinding heart of the Trossachs and the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve. A truly magical setting, Sir Walter Scott described 'the scenery of a fairy dream’ in his famous poem Lady of the Lake.
Along with running the Steamship Sir Walter Scott, the Lady of the Lake, the Trossachs Pier, Brenachoile cafe, the gift shop, and visitor centre, the team here at Loch Katrine have also just opened an exciting eco campsite. The brand new facilities are suitably modern, fully accessible and cater for eight camping pitches and up to 12 motorhomes, while a clutch of secluded glamping lodges allow those travelling light to live in luxury but still enjoy the great outdoors. The lodges' prime position means glampers wake up in the long dawn shadows of Ben Venue, soundtracked by the rippling waters of Loch Katrine and the crinkling top of Ben A'an – the mountain in miniature – looming in the distance. As evening descends, the dramatic sunsets enjoyed from the lodge are very special indeed. Inside each eco lodge, a compact kitchen, heating, proper beds, TV and free Wi-Fi come as standard. The largest ones also offer en suite shower rooms and underfloor heating.
As pampered as an eco lodge stay might sound, it’s still a far cry from the delights Queen Victoria experienced when she came to visit the loch in 1859, famously demanding an entire house and jetty be built for her exclusive personal use. Alas, despite the production of the gothic royal cottage and jetty, which can still be visited to this day, Queen Victoria never stayed there overnight. The 21 gun salute that greeted her arrival shattered almost every window in the house.
If you’re not listening to such tales as you take a narrated boat tour across the water, then hiring bikes on site is also a fantastic option. You can grab a one-way boat ticket to the far end of the loch (taking bikes and buggies on board) and pedal back along the quiet and almost car-free, loch-side road. Hiking, meanwhile, is the key attraction for many. Whether it’s a gentle stroll to Glengyle (the birthplace of Scottish legend Rob Roy MacGregor), taking the long route to Ben Lomond or making your way up to the nearby peak of Ben A'an, there are endless opportunities to keep you occupied. The latter even boasts views back down to the loch, where you can see the Steamship Sir Walter Scott departing across the water. From up top you can really understand how Loch Katrine – “highland thief or robber” in gaelic – earned its name. It certainly steals your breath away.
The Owner Says
Sleeping under the stars; surrounded by nature in this lochside setting, in the heart of Scotland’s first National Park, is a truly magical experience. Sir Walter Scott rightly described Loch Katrine as “the scenery of a fairy dream” in his famous poem Lady of the Lake. The Loch Katrine Eco Camp provides an opportunity to re-connect with nature whilst only being a hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are plenty of wildlife watching, loch cruising, cycling and walking options available in the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve.
We offer 4 luxury Loch Lodges with En suite facilities, 4 Ben lodges with shared facilities, 8 camping pitches and 12 car park motor home hook ups.
Keep an eye out for the local wild life, all types of birds including resident birds of prey, pine martins, red squirrels and deer, don't forget to bring your camera along as well. The north side of the loch is ideal for walking, easy for all abilities; and is quiet as it is barrier controlled, you can walk as far as you want, if you have the time you can do the full 14 miles to Stronachlachar and back, or perhaps take the Steamship to the west end of the loch and walk back to your lodge.