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Loch Achray: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting

Loch Achray: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting

Loch Achray is one of the lesser-known lochs in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. But, Loch Achray is brimming with natural beauty and there are plenty of things to do and see at the loch as well as in the surrounding area. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting the tranquil Loch Achray.

Despite Loch Achray being a beautiful loch, you won’t have the option of taking a cruise. Certainly, a cruise on one of the lochs in the national park is a terrific experience. Make sure to do a Loch Lomond Cruise during your visit to the area.

About Loch Achray

Loch Achray is a freshwater loch that’s around 2.4km (1.5 miles) long. Indeed, this loch is one of the smaller ones in Loch Lomond the Trossachs National Park. But, that’s part of the charm. This diminutive loch oozes remoteness, quietness and serenity. Unlike other well-known lochs in the national park, Loch Achray sees fewer visitors, so you’re guaranteed a nice and relaxing visit.

Later, in this guide, we’ll help you plan your visit and talk about the best things to do in and around the loch.

But, first, exactly where is Loch Achray located?

Loch Achray sign

Where In Scotland Is Loch Achray?

The loch is located in the heart of the Trossachs in the Stirling district of the southern Scotland Highlands. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map showing the location of the loch.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Loch Lubnaig

Plan Your Visit to Loch Achray

Now you know where the loch is located, let’s look at the best things to do during a visit.

Walks: Ben A’an and Ben Venue

Loch Achray is beautifully positioned in the Trossachs, surrounded by sublime forests and magnificent mountains. It’s the surrounding mountains – Ben A’an and Ben Venue, which are popularly walked. During the Ben A’an Walk, you’ll enjoy splendid views of the loch throughout most of your journey. Whereas, during the Ben Venue Walk, you’ll enjoy superb views of the loch nearing the middle and end stages of the walk.

Funnily enough, most people visiting this loch are often more interested in these walks on land away from the loch rather than activities in the water itself!

Read more: Ben A’an: The Ultimate Walking Guide / Ben Venue: The Complete Walking Guide

Loch Achray seen from Ben A’an

Trossachs Church

The lesser-known Trossachs Church is a fine attraction to visit just north of the loch. The church was built in 1849 by the Glaswegian architect G.P. Kennedy. Services at the church are held once a month on a Sunday.

Trossachs Church

Three Lochs Forest Drive

One of the best ways to experience the loch is to enjoy some scenic driving around it. The tourist Three Lochs Forest Drive is one of the most promoted activities in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. During the scenic drive, you’ll follow along forestry tracks, visiting Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and finally, Loch Achray. By completing the scenic drive, you’ll enjoy unique angles of the loch, that you otherwise wouldn’t see.

Please take note that the Three Lochs Forest Drive is only open from 9am to 5pm and usually costs around £3.

Views of Loch Achray during the Three Lochs Forest Drive

Water Sports and Activities

Honestly speaking, Loch Achray isn’t legendary for its watersports. Sure, you’ll see the odd person kayaking or paddleboarding. But, admittedly, visitors generally head to other nearby lochs to enjoy watersports.

In reality, Loch Achray fishing is the most popular water-based activity. Given the calm waters and sheltered locations, it’s actually a fantastic place for fishing. The loch mostly holds brown trout.

What to Do Nearby

Given the small size of the loch, you may want to plan to visit other nearby areas during your visit. If you want to visit other lochs in the area, then we recommend visiting the nearby Loch Katrine or Loch Venachar.

There are plenty of great things to do at Loch Katrine such as catching the Sir Walter Scott Steamship. Whilst, Loch Venachar has more of the same in terms of natural beauty and chilled vibes. A little further on from Loch Venachar, you’ve got the charming town of Callander, which has plenty in the way of cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Aerial photograph of Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine

Explore More of the Trossachs

There is also plenty to see in the surrounding Trossachs area. From Aberfoyle, you can drive along the scenic Duke’s Pass and stop in at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre to see Little Fawn Waterfall. Otherwise, if you’re after another crackin’ walk, then we recommend the Ben Ledi Trail, where you’ll enjoy superb views of Loch Lubnaig.

Read more: Loch Lomond Walks – The 26 Best Walks in Loch Lomond

Beck looks at Loch Lubnaig from the Ben Ledi trail
Views of Loch Lubnaig from the Ben Ledi trail

How to Get to Loch Achray

The quickest and easiest way to get to Loch Achray is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars for reasonable prices. The website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy.

The best parking is found at the Ben Venue Car Park and the Ben A’an Car Park. These are the two main car parks for accessing the loch. Both are pay and display car parks managed by Forestry and Land Scotland. In terms of pricing, daily rates are usually £5, while it usually costs £2 if you park for less than an hour. Of course, costs are subject to change. Otherwise, there isn’t much in the way of free parking, other than the odd road verge surrounding the loch.

There is no public transport going to the loch or this wider area of the Trossachs. There was once a bus system, but it was replaced by a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) system. This service works like a taxi service, but you’ll only be charged the fare of a bus! This service must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. For more information, click here.

Accommodation

There are some fantastic accommodation options around Loch Achray. Let’s look at these below.

Loch Achray Hotel

The Loch Achray Hotel in the Trossachs, AKA Hotel Loch Achray, is located just southwest of the loch. The Duke of Montrose originally built the hotel in 1868 for the purpose of a hunting lodge. These days, the three-star hotel is a popular accommodation option in the area. To book, you’ll have to head to the Loch Achray Hotel website.

Loch Achray Hotel
​​​​​​​Loch Achray Hotel in Scotland

Tigh Mor

Also known as the Big House in the Trossachs, Tigh Mor is a luxury castle, which now offers apartment-style accommodation. You’ll get magnificent views of Tigh Mor during the early stages of the Ben A’an Walk.

Tigh Mor

Loch Achray Campsite

When it comes to camping options in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the Loch Achray Campsite is one of the best to choose from. Managed by the National Park Authority, alongside the campsites at Loch Chon and Inchcailloch, the Loch Achray Campsite is a beautiful campground. It’s located on the southern shores of the loch. Given the prime location, you’ll have a decent chance of spotting wildlife at dusk and dawn. Keep an eye out for deer, pine martens, red squirrels, ospreys, golden eagles and black grouses. 

Please note that you can’t wild camp at this location. To make a booking, click here.

Loch Achray campsite

Lochs in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

The national park has many beautiful lochs to visit and explore (22 to be exact). With this in mind, we don’t intend on listing all of the lochs in the national park. Below, we’ll briefly detail some of the lochs that Beck and I visited and recommend visiting.

  • Loch Ard: follow serene forest trails that lead you to this enchanting loch as well as Rob Roy’s Cave.
  • St Fillans on Loch Earn: this village is beautifully located on the eastern shores of Loch Earn. Visiting St Fillans and Loch Earn really go hand in hand.
  • Loch Lubnaig: another lesser-known yet equally impressive loch.
Dan at Loch Earn, near St Fillans and Lochearnhead
Loch Earn

FAQs

Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Loch Achray.

What Does Loch Achray Mean?

There are a couple of theories behind this. Either, the name of the loch comes form the Scottish Gaelic words loch an achaaidh reidh, meaning loch of the level field, or, from the words ath chrathaidh, meaning loch of the ford of the shaking. 

What Is the History of Loch Achray?

At one time, the loch was home to James Beag Stewart. He was son of James Mor Stewart, who was known as ‘James the Fat’, and who fled into exile in Ireland. He fled there because his father Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, was executed for treason by James I, the King of Scots, in 1425.

Can You Walk Around Loch Achray?

No, there are no walking trails that encircle the entire loch.

Can You Swim In Loch Achray?

Yes.

How Deep Is Loch Achray?

The average depth is 11 metres (36 feet).

What Fish Are in Loch Achray?

Other than brown trout, it’s possible to find sea trout, pike, perch and salmon.

Bonus Tips

  • Best time to visit: the best months for visiting Scotland are during summer or either side of this season (May to October). Specifically, the locals will tell you the best weather is in May and June.
  • Facilities: the nearest toilets and amenities are at the Trossachs Pier at Loch Katrine.
  • Visit other awesome lochs outside of the national park: you should visit Loch Ness, Loch Tummel, Loch Awe and Loch Arkaig, just to name a few.

For more Scotland content, please read our NC500 guides.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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