loch chon

Loch Chon is a captivating freshwater loch located west of the village of Aberfoyle, near the small village of Kinlochard, in Stirling, Scotland. Lying upstream of Loch Ard, and south of Loch Katrine, this picturesque loch has a history that spans centuries and was once known as Loch-a-Choin, meaning loch of the dog or dogs.

Visitors to Loch Chon can partake in a variety of outdoor activities, as the loch is a popular destination for anglers, offering opportunities to fish for perch and pike all year, and brown trout between March 15th and October 6th. Furthermore, the tranquil Loch Chon is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, and even open water swimming, appealing to outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

In addition to its aquatic activities, the surrounding Loch Chon area boasts scenic woodland and an informal campsite. The Loch Chon Campsite offers basic facilities with a combination of open and woodland camping, providing 26 pitches for tents, designated parking spaces, toilets, and fresh water. With such a serene setting and diverse range of activities, it is no wonder that Loch Chon attracts visitors from far and wide to experience the beauty of the Trossachs in Scotland.

Location and Access

Loch Chon is a freshwater loch situated west of the village of Aberfoyle, near the small village of Kinlochard in Stirling, Scotland. The loch lies upstream of Loch Ard and to the south of Loch Katrine, making it a part of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

Access to Loch Chon is available via the minor B829 road, which runs between the villages of Kinlochard and Inversnaid. The National Park provides a campsite at Loch Chon that visitors can pre-book. The location is popular among kayakers and open water swimmers, primarily because of the easy access to the water from the car park available at the loch.

For those seeking a more remote experience, wild camping is possible on the west side of Loch Chon. While the east side of the loch, where the car park and campsite are located, is part of the national park’s camping management area, the west side lies outside this zone.

Some key points about Loch Chon’s location and access include:

  • Located near Aberfoyle and Kinlochard in Stirling, Scotland
  • Part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • Access via the minor B829 road
  • Pre-bookable campsite available
  • Popular spot for kayaking and open water swimming
  • Wild camping possible on the west side of the loch

Geography and Geology

Loch Chon is a freshwater loch situated in the Trossachs region of central Scotland, near the villages of Aberfoyle and Kinlochard. Sitting at an altitude of 92 metres, Loch Chon lies upstream of Loch Ard and to the south of Loch Katrine, a tributary of the River Forth.

With a surface area of 105.7 hectares, Loch Chon is relatively large, encompassing two main basins. The deepest area within the loch reaches 25 metres and is represented by a trench located near its western shore.

Multiple small streams feed into Loch Chon, ultimately draining to the south through Loch Ard and the River Forth. The loch is surrounded by forestry, offering picturesque views of the nearby hills and mountains.

The geology of the region is dominated by sedimentary and igneous rocks. For instance, slate is a common sedimentary rock found in the area, formed from the compression of ancient clay and silt layers. Additionally, granite, an intrusive igneous rock, is also prevalent in the surrounding landscape, created from the slow crystallisation of magma below the Earth’s surface.

Wildlife and Flora

Loch Chon, situated within the scenic Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, boasts a diverse range of wildlife and flora. The area provides a natural habitat for various species of animals, birds, and plant life, enriching the ecosystem of the loch.

Anglers visiting Loch Chon can find an abundance of fish species, including perch, pike, and brown trout. Brown trout fishing season runs from 15th March to 6th October, while perch and pike can be fished all year round. The presence of these fish species indicates a healthy aquatic ecosystem and supports the surrounding wildlife.

Birdwatchers visiting the area may spot a variety of bird species, both resident and migratory. The woods surrounding the loch are home to an array of bird species, such as great spotted woodpeckers, tree creepers, and goldcrests. Additionally, the region’s water birds, including ducks, geese, and herons, can often be seen around the loch’s shoreline.

The loch is surrounded by dense, mixed woodland dominated by deciduous trees like oak, birch, and beech, alongside coniferous species like Scots pine. This varied mix provides a suitable habitat for a wide range of fauna, including red squirrels, roe deer, and badgers which are commonly observed in the area.

In terms of flora, the woodland ground is rich with ferns, mosses, and wildflowers, such as bluebells, foxgloves, and heather. This rich undergrowth provides ample support and nutrients for the entire ecosystem, playing an important role in sustaining the area’s biodiversity.

Recreational Activities

Hiking and Trails

Loch Chon offers various walking options for outdoor enthusiasts, from exploring the surrounding forest to embarking on more challenging hill walks. A popular route is the seven-mile trail that circuits the loch, offering picturesque views in all seasons.

Furthermore, the nearby Ben Venue summit provides a more rewarding climb for experienced hikers, with impressive scenery and landscapes stretching across the Trossachs region.

Boating and Fishing

The calm waters of Loch Chon make it an ideal location for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Open water swimming is also gaining popularity at the loch; nevertheless, it’s essential to check with local authorities for any safety concerns before taking the plunge.

Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines and enjoy a peaceful day on the water, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Trossachs.

Camping and Picnicking

Loch Chon offers fantastic picnic spots and a tranquil camping experience within the stunning surroundings of the Trossachs National Park. Do keep in mind that you might have to park your vehicle and carry your belongings to your chosen spot along the shoreline — but the pristine views and serene atmosphere are more than worth the effort.

With a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking landscapes to explore, Loch Chon is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Conservation and Management

Loch Chon, a picturesque gem located between Kinlochard and Inversnaid in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, is surrounded by hills, forests and a rich ecosystem that requires mindful conservation and management.

Environmental Protection

As part of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Loch Chon is subject to strict environmental protection measures. These include regulations for wild camping, which is only allowed on the west shore and islands of Loch Chon, outside the camping management zone. Campers must adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and local byelaws, such as the prohibition of gathering dead wood.

To preserve the area’s fragile fauna and flora, visitors to Loch Chon should follow the Leave No Trace principles, ensuring that they take all rubbish with them, avoid disturbing wildlife, and stay on designated paths.

Land Management

Land management practices in and around Loch Chon are centred on maintaining a healthy, balanced ecosystem, protecting the area’s diverse species, and managing forestry and other natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Key land management practices include:

  • Monitoring and controlling invasive species
  • Promoting native tree regeneration
  • Encouraging responsible recreation and tourism

Through various partnerships with conservation organisations and the local community, Loch Chon’s land is managed to protect its unique landscape while promoting responsible recreation and eco-tourism.

Local History and Legends

Loch Chon, nestled west of Aberfoyle and near the small village of Kinlochard in Stirling, Scotland, has a rich history and intriguing legends surrounding it. In the past, the loch was known as Loch-a-Choin, which translates to “loch of the dog/dogs” in Scottish Gaelic. Choin is the genitive case of the word ‘dog’, and it undergoes lenition due to loch being a masculine noun.

Today, Loch Chon is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, offering beautiful scenery and an abundance of wildlife. It is situated between Kinlochard and Inversnaid on the minor B829 road and is accessible from Stirling by following signs for Aberfoyle, Kinlochard, and Inversnaid.

One of the more captivating local legends centers around the belief in a resident kelpie, or water spirit, said to inhabit the sheltered waters of Loch Chon. Kelpies are shape-shifting aquatic creatures from Scottish folklore, often depicted as horses and known for their malevolent nature towards humans.

In addition to the kelpie legend, Loch Chon is also reputed to be home to one of the world’s largest populations of faeries. While there is no definitive proof of their existence, the stories and lore surrounding these magical beings continue to capture the imagination of both locals and visitors alike.

Nearby Attractions

Loch Chon, located in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, boasts a range of nearby attractions for visitors to explore. With activities suited for outdoor enthusiasts, a visit around Loch Chon guarantees a day filled with adventure and breathtaking views.

One popular nearby attraction is Millarochy Bay, situated 12.75km from Loch Chon. Located on the east shore of Loch Lomond, the bay is surrounded by a few houses and stunning natural beauty. Other bays to explore on the east of Loch Lomond include Cashel Bay and Sallochy Bay.

For those who enjoy walking and hiking, there are many options around Loch Chon. One such option is the summit of Ben Venue, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. A seven-mile trail circuits Loch Chon and is perfect for a leisurely walk through each season. Several other walks and hikes can be found on websites like Komoot, such as the Ben A’an – Loch Katrine loop from Kirkton or the Lochan a’ Ghleannain – Loch Ard loop.

Loch Chon is not only popular for picnics and leisurely strolls. Visitors can also engage in activities like cycling, canoeing, and open water swimming. Due to the park’s serene nature, people increasingly use this location for these pastimes to experience the beauty of the Scottish landscape.

Another must-visit attraction is the picturesque village of Kinlochard. Known for its captivating landscape, the village is home to the Forest Hills Highland Resort. The resort offers a range of activities and amenities that both travellers and locals can enjoy.

Lastly, Loch Dhu is a small body of water near Loch Chon that is worth exploring. A small car park can be found nearby, making it accessible for tourists to visit and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty.

Nearby Villages & Towns to Loch Chon