The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park was Scotland’s first national park, opening in 2002. The 720 sq miles (1,865 sq km) includes a huge variety of Scottish habitats from sea-loch to high mountain – but the common theme is certainly picturesque. As well as the famous ‘bonnie banks’, the 220 mile (352km) long park boundary also takes in the high ground of Breadalbane, a tract of mountains and glens in the heart of Scotland, as well as part of Argyll to the west. There the key landscape feature is the long fjord-like sea-lochs that bring a taste of salt air to the gloriously rugged wooded slopes.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs have attracted visitors since tourism began in Scotland, at the dawning of the Romantic age more than two centuries ago. As a result Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are icons of Scotland’s scenery, with a special place in the hearts of Scots and home and overseas. The famous song ‘The Banks of Loch Lomond’ is still sung with affection. The ‘bonnie banks’ themselves still see an influx not just of visitors from all over the world, but also day-visitors from other parts of Scotland – after all, half Scotland’s population lives within an hour’s drive.
One other characteristic of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area is the way that it brings together the best of Highland and Lowland Scotland. And the change is quite sudden – that’s part of the appeal! Drive up the zigzag Duke’s Road into the Trossachs, take the main road beyond Balloch, cross by ferry to Dunoon and continue by the Holy Loch northwards into the heart of Cowal – the Highland landscapes will beguile you straightaway!
Naturally, in an area with such a long tradition of welcoming visitors, finding a base for your explorations is quite straightforward and there is a huge choice of accommodation of all kinds. After that, there is another discovery to be made – in spite of its popularity, only a very small effort is needed to see the wild landscapes at the heart of the National Park – to find the places by the sea lochs, in the oakwoods or on the open hill where wildlife and unspoilt nature can be enjoyed and appreciated – the goal of so many generations of visitors.
Welcome to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs!