Arrochar is situated at the head of Loch Long which is a sea loch and is a popular attraction for tourists in the summer and winter, due to its idyllic location surrounded by mountains (the Arrochar Alps). The village is connected to Tarbet by a low valley which history says Viking raiders dragged boats from the sea to Loch Lomond and this has resulted in a long lasting connection between the ‘twinned’ villages.
The name Arrochar is probably from the Gaelic arachor an ancient scot measurement of land equal to 104 acres. Arrochar has been seen in records from 1248 spelt as ‘arathor’ and in 1350 as ‘arachor’. For over five centuries the area was held by the chiefs of Clan Macfarlane and before that by the barons of Arrochar, an old celtic family. Arrochar was a key target for Viking raiders who would sail to Tarbet to attack the Loch Lomond settlements, before their defeat in 1263 at the Battle of Largs.
Towering above the village are the Arrochar Alps which can be described as a paradise for mountaineering. The most popular peak is ‘The Cobbler‘ and especially during summer season many hill walkers visit this Corbett (mountain between 2500 and 3000ft). The other mountains in the region are Ben Ime, Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich(Loch Lomond) and Ben Narnain, all of which can be started from Arrochar with the possible exception of Ben Vorlich which may be started from Loch Lomond near Inveruglas.
Loch Long being a sea loch was a popular destination for day trippers and holiday makers up the loch from the Firth of Clyde and Glasgow as well as by train on The West Highland Line. Today, Arrochar is still popular with holiday makers, divers, hill walkers and mountaineers due to the variety of the terrain and the stunning scenery and scenic drives.
On the west bank of Loch Long is the site of the Royal Navy Torpedo Testing Station which was in use until 1986 to test torpedoes by firing them along the length of Loch Long. The torpedoes had no warheads fitted and would be collected at the other end of the loch and brought back to the station before being supplied to the navy. As of 2013, the site has been earmarked for a £70 million development to include a marina, hotel and restaurants which will create many jobs for the community and boost the number of tourists to the village.
There is a good campsite just outside Arrochar at Ardgarten which is owned by the Forestry Commission and has great views of the loch and caters for all types of camping and caravanning. The road from Ardgarten leads onto the “Rest and be Thankful” pass which is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland leading to Lochgoilhead and Inveraray. In bad weather the road can be closed with a very long detour to get to your destination.
Arrochar: A Visitors Guide
Nestled at the head of Loch Long between Loch Lomond and the Cowal Peninsula, the picturesque village of Arrochar is a popular destination for travellers seeking adventure and tranquillity alike. Known for its stunning landscapes, including the dramatic Arrochar Alps and the picturesque Loch Lomond, this idyllic spot in Argyll and Bute provides a magnificent backdrop for a wealth of outdoor activities.
Arrochar’s excellent road and rail links make it an ideal gathering point for mountaineers and explorers venturing out to experience the natural wonder of the region. From hiking impressive peaks such as Ben Arthur (also known as The Cobbler) to enjoying a leisurely cruise on Loch Lomond, there is no shortage of things to do and beautiful sights to see.
In addition to the numerous outdoor pursuits, the village also boasts a range of amenities for visitors, including a mix of delightful accommodations and local eateries that showcase the best of Scottish cuisine. No matter the season, Arrochar presents a captivating experience for those eager to embrace the incredible natural beauty of Scotland’s countryside.
Getting to Arrochar
Arrochar, located at the head of Loch Long, is a popular village for mountaineers and a gateway to the Argyll Forest Park. Its proximity to the Arrochar Alps makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Getting to Arrochar is simple and can be done by car, train, or bus.
Arrochar is easily accessible by car, as it lies just off the A83 and A82 roads. From Glasgow, you can reach Arrochar within 1 hour and 15 minutes via the A82. If you are coming from the north, the A83 is the main route, connecting Arrochar to destinations such as Inveraray and Campbeltown. Driving offers the flexibility to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way.
If you prefer travelling by train, Arrochar and Tarbet train station is the nearest station to the village. The station is served by the West Highland Line which connects Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig. The journey from Glasgow Queen Street to Arrochar and Tarbet takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. From the train station, it’s only a short walk or taxi ride to the village centre.
Bus services are another convenient option for reaching Arrochar. Citylink operates a regular bus service from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station to Arrochar. The journey usually takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes. This bus service also connects Arrochar to Oban, Fort William, and Campbeltown. Be sure to check the bus timetable and plan your trip accordingly.
Attractions and Activities
The Arrochar Alps are a group of mountains that serve as a popular gathering place for mountaineers. These mountains offer stunning views and challenging climbs for hikers. Due to its excellent road and rail links, the village of Arrochar is a convenient base for exploring these peaks.
Loch Lomond, located nearby Arrochar, is a beautiful body of water and the largest loch in Scotland, stretching over 24 miles in length. It offers various recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and wildlife watching. The picturesque scenery also attracts photographers and nature lovers alike.
Hiking and Walking Trails
Argyll Forest Park, stretching from the western shores of Loch Lomond south as far as Holy Loch, is an excellent place to enjoy hiking and walking trails. This park offers a range of trails suitable for all levels of fitness, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes. Some popular trails include the Ben Lomond pathway and the An Ceann Mor lookout trail.
Loch Lomond presents a wonderful opportunity for water sports enthusiasts. With its vast expanse of water and natural beauty, visitors can partake in activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing. There are also options to hire boats and equipment, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the loch’s splendour.
Arrochar offers a selection of hotels suitable for different budgets and preferences. Some popular hotels in the area include:
- Lochside Guest House: This guest house offers rooms with panoramic views of the famous Cobbler and Arrochar mountain range, and it’s situated on the edge of Loch Long.
- The Village Inn: A comfortable and cosy inn with a traditional Scottish pub atmosphere, ideal for those looking to experience the local culture.
Bed and Breakfasts
For a more intimate and personal stay, several Bed and Breakfast options are available in Arrochar. These accommodations often provide a warmer, home-like environment, and may include:
- Burnbrae B&B: A family-run establishment offering a welcoming atmosphere and comfortable rooms.
- Benview B&B: With stunning views of the surrounding countryside, this B&B provides a tranquil retreat for guests.
Self-catering accommodations are perfect for travellers who prefer the freedom and flexibility of preparing their own meals. Some options in Arrochar are:
- Arrochar Holiday Cottages: A collection of well-equipped cottages with modern amenities, suitable for families or groups.
- Lomond View Apartment: A cosy apartment with a fully-equipped kitchen and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
Camping and Caravanning
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Arrochar offers a range of camping and caravanning options. Some popular sites include:
- Arrochar Alps Campsite: A well-maintained campsite with facilities for tents and caravans, situated near the Arrochar Alps for easy access to hiking and outdoor activities.
- Loch Lomond Holiday Park: Offering pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, this holiday park also provides on-site facilities and stunning views of Loch Lomond.
Whether you prefer the comfort of a hotel, the personal touch of a B&B, the freedom of self-catering, or the adventure of camping, Arrochar has accommodation options to suit every kind of traveller.
Dining and Nightlife
Arrochar offers a delightful selection of dining and nightlife options for visitors looking to indulge in the local Scottish fare or enjoy a pint with the locals.
Restaurants and Cafes
- Ben Arthurs Bothy: This popular spot is known for its Indian and Scottish cuisine. With enticing dishes like Pakora and Salt n Chili chicken, it’s a great place for a tasty meal. source
- The Village Inn: A welcoming British bar and restaurant located at the heart of Arrochar, The Village Inn offers classics such as the beef burger and chicken salad. source
- Arrochar Fish & Chips: For a traditional British experience, you can’t miss the opportunity to savour the mouth-watering fish and chips at this local gem. Make sure to give Arrochar Fish & Chips a visit during your stay.
Pubs and Bars
- Slanj Bar & Restaurant: Located just 1.2 miles from Arrochar, this is the perfect spot for a relaxed evening with a drink in hand. Apart from a well-stocked bar, Slanj also offers an appetising steakhouse menu for the food lovers.
Take your time to enjoy the delicious food and friendly atmosphere that the dining and nightlife scene in Arrochar has to offer.
Shopping and Services
Arrochar is a small village, but it offers a selection of local shops to meet your basic needs. You can find a grocery store for food supplies, a post office for mailing and other services, and a few craft and gift shops where you can purchase souvenirs to take back home. While the number of shops is limited, you can expect friendly service and a quaint atmosphere.
Outdoor Equipment Stores
As Arrochar is surrounded by beautiful scenery and outdoor activities, there are outdoor equipment stores available to cater to adventurers. These stores stock essential items such as hiking boots, waterproof clothing, maps, and camping supplies. They may also offer equipment rental services, such as kayaks, SUPs, and bicycles. The staff in these stores can provide valuable local advice and recommendations to make your Arrochar experience even more enjoyable.
Tips for Visitors
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Arrochar is during the late spring and summer months, from May to September. During this period, the days are longer, and the weather tends to be milder and more predictable. This is also the time when many outdoor activities and attractions are most accessible, such as hiking in the Arrochar Alps and exploring the Argyll Forest Park. However, if you prefer a quieter visit with fewer tourists, consider travelling during the autumn months when the natural scenery is still stunning.
Arrochar is generally a safe destination, but it’s essential to take the usual travel precautions. Remember to:
- Secure your personal belongings and valuables.
- Keep an eye on your luggage in busy public areas, such as train stations.
- Follow local advice regarding safety in outdoor and rural areas, especially when engaging in activities like hiking or mountaineering.
When exploring the great outdoors around Arrochar, it is essential to be prepared and bear in mind some safety tips:
- Check the weather forecast before setting out and be prepared for sudden changes.
- Carry appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activities.
- Always inform someone of your planned route and expected return time.
- Carry a map, a compass, and know how to use them.
- Stay on designated paths and respect local signs and warnings.
When visiting Arrochar, it’s essential to be mindful of local customs and etiquette. Remember these key points to ensure a pleasant and respectful experience:
- Be courteous and polite to local residents.
- Respect the environment by not littering and sticking to designated paths.
- Observe local signage, including those relating to access restrictions and conservation efforts.
- In rural areas, avoid disrupting local wildlife or farm animals and close gates behind you when crossing through farmland.
- When visiting pubs or restaurants, it is customary to queue and wait your turn for service.
By following these tips and guidelines, you can enjoy a safe, enjoyable, and respectful visit to the beautiful village of Arrochar.
Arrochar has the following facilities
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